Rifle teen’s dream becomes reel life
RIFLE – Working on a real movie set was a bit surreal for Megan Smith. With the dream of one day becoming a Hollywood film director, Smith found herself among nine future filmmakers in Denver last month filming a movie of their own, which one day could end up in an extravagant Los Angeles premiere and even local film festivals. Smith, a rising Rifle High School senior who recently moved to the area from Tucson, Ariz., says she always wanted to be a film director. But when she entered a contest to be a member of the Denver Samsung Fresh Films teen filmmaking team – one of 10 teams assembled around the country – she never dreamed she would win. But she did. In June, she and her nine teammates assembled in Denver and, working without any budget at all, brainstormed a movie script, held a casting call, searched for locations, garnered prop and food donations, and traded jobs in the various aspects of moviemaking during the 13 hours of filming.
The result: “Save the Date,” a 10-minute short film about an ambassador who gets assassinated. “Pretty much the entire film is a chase scene between the body guard and the assassinator,” she said. With the completion of the film, the suspense begins because “Save the Date” will have to win an online contest between filmmaking teams from different cities. Web surfers can watch all of the films in the competition and vote on the Samsung Web site July 13-19. The experience, she said, was “surreal,” because for the first time, she was able to see the movie-making action from behind the scenes. If Smith’s film wins, she and her teammates win a trip to Los Angeles, where Samsung will hold a red carpet premiere for the five top finalists. The members of the winning team in the final round all receive MacBookPro laptop computers. From there, the film could end up in local film festivals, she said.
But while playing the roles of director, photographer, producer and others during the filming process taught Smith about the many nuances of moviemaking, Smith’s dream of becoming a filmmaker is rooted in storytelling more than the technical aspects of making a movie. “I have all these crazy ideas in my head, and (I would) really like to get them out on film because I think people would enjoy them,” Smith said. Movies are the best way to tackle important issues, she said, “because people want to pay attention.”What issues would she tackle? Vegetarian issues, for one, she said. But that’s not all. “One of my goals after college is to go into the Peace Corps (and) make a documentary about the Peace Corps,” she said. “People don’t know enough about what Third World countries are going through.”
If she could choose, she’d want her Third World Peace Corps setting to be either Cambodia or Uganda. In the meantime, Smith will be eagerly anticipating the outcome of the online vote. Check it out today at http://www.fresh-films.com. “My friends think it’s pretty cool,” Smith said. “They’re convinced I’m famous.”Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or email@example.com