Students in the 2018 Filmmakers Boot Camp, a SEATech summer school program on the Walla Walla Community College campus, showed a four-minute horror film to a stunned crowd on Tuesday.
Perhaps viewers were shocked because in that brief span the plot of “Policy” devolves into a nightmare for a new female worker.
Instructor Jeffrey Townsend said the Walla Walla Movie Crush festival happening Friday through Sunday selected the film for screening at 11 a.m. Saturday at Gesa Power House Theater, 111 N. Sixth Ave.
The students were inspired by the movie “Get Out,” which layers social commentary about racism into a straight-up horror film, he said.
“These students wanted to do something similar with the #metoo movement and horror.
The movie ‘Inception’ also came up in the story-development process and got them talking about the idea of dreams that occur within other dreams,” Jeffrey said.
Kathryn Bogley guest stars as Jesse, a new call center employee who’s constantly reminded to smile via signage on office and washroom walls and computer screen popup notes.
Topher Murphy guest stars as the creepy, predatory Supervisor, who crosses all boundaries of appropriate behavior, manhandling Jesse and licking her ear while she’s seated at her desk.
Her smile becomes more macabre as the minutes pass. Is what the audience sees imagined or real? Sam Rogers is a guest actor/voice-over artist.
The production crew includes Peter Prudente and Trinity McFetridge, directors; Nancy Aguirre and Roberto Rodriguez, assistant directors; Enrique De La Cruz and Amanda Verkist, camera; Sydney Harris and Jacqueline Jones, props/script supervisors; Kaleb Stephens and Zach Tinder, sound; and Ash Hansell and Daniel “DJ: Williams, gaffers.
Guest makeup and hair artist is Alexis Raab. Interns are Christopher Roddick, Phil Wauchek and Aaron “Turtle” Scott. Turtle is also lead editor.
The music itself is haunting, with “The Adumbration” from “Deathless: The Renaissance,” by Kai Engel, “Rumore: Cinematic Impacts,” by Allessandro Alcinesio and sounds from Soundbible.
The film’s story was developed as part of the 14-day program, and prepped, cast, filmed and edited by the dozen high school students as a way to demonstrate their new skills in narrative storytelling with a camera and a microphone, Jeffrey emailed.
The film will be submitted to such festivals as the Bleedingham Short Horror Film Festival in Bellingham, Wash.
Jeffrey developed the Filmmakers Boot Camp, now in its third year.
The program highlights the visual-storytelling aspect of the medium, as opposed to a more dialog-driven approach.
He said high school students are offered a chance to see if filmmaking as a career would be a good fit for them — by immersing themselves in the process of developing a script and storyboards, preparing and lighting scenes, and editing together the resulting footage.
Past boot camp films have consistently been accepted by regional film festivals, usually competing with films made by professional filmmakers as opposed to students.
View “Policy” at ubne.ws/2NqhB22.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or afternoons at 526-8313.