This documentary follows high school students as they engage in a rigorous filmmaking crash-course at Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, a program that gives creative oddballs a place to be themselves and sets an example as to why we pay attention to the creative urges of our kids.
Mission StatementThe Governor's School is a special place that provides teenagers the opportunity to focus on their passions, while surrounded by like-minded peers. Our director, Christian Whittemore, wants to highlight the importance of programs like this, drawing from his own experience as a student and counselor.
About The Project
Best Foot Forward
On the verge of setting their lives into motion, students of the Tennessee Governor's School engage in a rigorous filmmaking crash-course where they briefly step into the shoes of college freshmen. Here, students learn (almost) everything there is to know about filmmaking in three short weeks; writing, casting, producing, directing, shooting, editing... the works. These lessons build towards groups of students producing short films to premiere to their families, friends, and fellow students at the end of the program. The clock is ticking as they scramble to write, shoot, and edit these films before saying goodbye to the program and each other.
It's an intense three weeks of creative and emotional growth. Students argue in the edit bay, celebrate successful projects, and learn to give and take in a program that asks them to step up and become an adult. Our documentary will track their journey over the month, showing the growing pains found when collaborating with others and highlighting the importance of community found in creativity.
High expectations are set upon students by their teachers Amanda, Spenser, and Sam. Sam in particular, a seemingly grumpy man (whose claim to fame is a cameo in 'Footloose") has an incredible knack for ripping apart scripts with terrifying precision. Amanda and Spenser, a married producing/directing dream team, connect with the students as a younger example of industry professionals.
Why us, why now?
Entering your senior year of high school is an incredibly daunting time. You're preparing to say goodbye to your home, friends, and family in pursuit of the unknown. Understanding how these confusing times and complicated feelings are represented in student work is the focus of our documentary. Surely this film will appeal to fellow artists and creatives, but this is firstly a story about growing up and finding purpose in a supportive community. It shows what happens when a creative "bubble" is provided to young and driven creatives.
Director Christian Whittemore wants to use his understanding of the program as an alumni and counselor to paint an exciting, emotional, and personal story about how such opportunities affect young artists, past and present.
A Little Context
Deep into the throes of pre-production, our team is preparing to travel to Tennesee and begin filming June 1st 2022. As production quickly approaches, we're thinking ahead to completing the project and having a finalized version by Summer 2023. With hopes to return to familiar film festivals such as NFFTY, Atlanta Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, and PBS Fine Cut, we'll also add to our festival circuit with new submissions, both local to Tennessee and Los Angeles, as well as international.
We have come a long way in securing our budget and are only a few thousand dollars away from bringing our project to life.
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About This Team
Our crew consists of Chapman University film school alumni Christian Whittemore (Director) and Autumn Griffin (Producer).
Christian has an extensive background in post-production, working as an editor/assistant editor on feature films, short documentaries, and commercial productions. When she's not producing short films and music videos, Autumn works in production on features and television for companies such as CBS, Netflix, and Disney. As a team, these creatives have showcased work in festivals across the U.S. including NFFTY, Atlanta Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, and PBS Fine Cut, with hopes to return to these programs and more with this project.