Glenbrook South film students to release encore production
Students in Glenbrook South's Television and Film program flirted with perfection on an award-winning short movie shown at the school's variety show in February.
Thrilled with their collaboration and its results, they regrouped this summer for a lengthier project that examines the concept of perfection itself.
"We had an incredibly successful year in terms of awards and film fests, and we all drew really close through the year, and we knew we wanted to make one more big project before many of us went off to college," said Omar Shoreibah, the DePaul University film school-bound assistant director for "All Right."
Shooting in and around Glenview ended by late July, though with college and all a premiere may not come until Thanksgiving or winter breaks.
Shoreibah was the director for "Free Time," the Glenbrook South "V Show" entry about three students' adventures with the crudest time machine imaginable, rescued from - and later destroyed and pitched into - a dumpster.
Produced by Michael Cunningham, Matthew Nugent and Noah Collins - the director for "All Right - the 3-minute, 54-second film took first place in comedic narrative by the Midwest Media Educators Association. The movie also won the Crystal Pillar Student Production Award in Short-Form Fiction by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Chicago/Midwest Chapter.
Shoreibah also won for directing "Free Time," which is now in a pool for national honors.
"It's an incredible honor to have those awards down," Shoreibah said. "It's honestly a lot more about the memories of working on these projects with these people. That's what lasts longer, and that's what's really meaningful to me."
This time Collins sits in the director's chair, a mutual decision between the incoming Syracuse film student, Shoreibah and a crew of some 26 "really dedicated people," Collins said.
"Something that I noted very early on in the production is that we had this kind of high school class that was unmatched and I've never really seen before. It was a group of kids that were all so passionate and dedicated, and that was also clear with the results of 'Free Time,'" Collins said.
"So we wanted to do it again and kind of up the production value and just make it clear that, even though we are young, that we can make a great product. And, really, just get a head start, too."
In "All Right," planned for release on YouTube and submission to the All-American High School Film Festival, a 20-year-old man learns his aunt's flower shop is closing. He tests his values while trying to keep it open.
"The main premise of the film is the young man's struggle for perfection and the realization that that is not possible in life," Shoreibah said.
Will Kasher, leaving Aug. 24 to start film production studies at Loyola Marymount, plays the lead role, Mark Ernest.
"He goes off on this impossible journey to save this flower shop, and he eventually gets to this point where the only feasible way to save it is to break some of his moral rules, and he really struggles with that decision and the fallout from it. We kind of explore the effect it has on him," said Kasher, who also acted in "Free Time."
The 22-page script for "All Right" was written by Collins, Kasher, Shoreibah and another Glenbrook South graduate, Josh Patt.
It doesn't have a sunny ending, which pleases Kasher, whose favorite film is the Christian Bale-Heath Ledger "Batman" entry "The Dark Knight."
"One thing we kind of decided in the writers' room is we could teach a lesson through a character's inability to learn it," said Kasher, acting opposite actress Julie Kaiser.
An older actress "outside our circle of usual people," Collins said, she was enlisted through Backstage.com, a website for talent seeking work in front of or behind the camera.
"I think it's really easy, especially for beginners like us, to write a very structured plot where (the protagonist) runs into conflict and he solves it and there's a happy ending. I like this direction because it's more realistic, and I think realism definitely was something we were trying to go for," Kasher said.
"Me, personally, just as an actor, I've kind of explored my own fight with, or for, perfection. It's about accepting that if you're doing your best and you really mean well then that's all anyone can ask of you. As a person, I've had to reach inside myself to try to come to that idea."
There's nothing more real than the need for capital when filming a movie, even if like "All Right," it'll run about 15 minutes. To raise money, Collins, Cunningham, Nugent, Shoreibah, fellow producers Tommy Casey and Hannah Stettler and "the rest of the crew" started a Go Fund Me campaign that has raised $6,300.
To that they added several hundred dollars in proceeds from a fundraiser at Glenview's The Laughing Academy, which donated its space for musical performances by the North Shore's Josh Spinner and high school bands Candy for Breakfast, Charlie Horse, Hook and, yes, the Tofu Fighters.
Collins, headed for Syracuse's film school on Aug. 20, said the money went to purchase camera equipment, rent audio and lighting gear, pay talent and gain access to locations.
Locations include the Morning Glory Flower Shop in Glenview, Lola's Diner in Park Ridge, Glenview neighborhoods, and friends' homes and apartments.
It's uncertain whether or not "All Right" does well with judges at the All-American High School Film Festival and to whomever else these students will submit it.
They definitely appreciate the Glenbrook South Television and Film program and, specifically, program director Julie Benca for sparking their interest, imagination and creative independence while creating a community.
"The program that she's built at Glenbrook South, without that I don't know where I'd be," said Shoreibah, by now hip-deep in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects editing software.
"I found my passion through that. I found my best friends through that - a massive thank-you to her for everything she's meant to me through high school and the influence that she's had on me and my future."