Many a movie has been made about high school life. But Sioux Falls CTE High School Seniors Jonathan Bravo, Landon King and Jared Kluin used a school competition to make their own movie from a bygone era.
“We got an email at 4 p.m. And it told us we had to do a Western, our person's name was Alan Baker, and it gave us props and lines,” King said.
Those were the guidelines for a 48-hour challenge issued to high school students across the country for the Dordt College film festival. The trio was just one entrant from the Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls. Somehow they stood out.
“We got the best people we could find. Put them all in a group and we're like, 'Maybe we could win!' And we won!” Bravo said.
It all began with a blank canvas. The three each took a turn planning, shooting and editing a movie concept.
“We pretty much got home, thought of the story, we went out and got props. There wasn't much time for sleep. The whole next day was shooting then editing and it had to be in by four,” King said.
The result was a seven-minute movie with seven characters written in two hours, put together in two days.
“Our character gets shot. He wakes up; doesn't remember who he is. He figures out what happened and he goes and finds the guy that shot him,” Bravo said.
“We were in a hurry. That whole night we were just getting props, just driving around doing everything we could just to get everything ready for the next day,” Kluin said.
The western scenes were shot in a surprisingly new way - one single digital camera you might normally think of using to just shoot photos. The students put the movie into a computer where even more movie magic happened.
“I did all the finishing touches. Just all the sound effects, the color correction, stuff like that,” Kluin said.
CTE students have been successful at the Dordt festival before. The three teens tried last year also. That didn’t go as well, which is why none of them expected a win.
“I was surprised! I didn't think we had a chance at all just because of the other films we saw,” Kluin said.
But in the old-west tale, three aspiring artists learned new lessons wrapped up in 48 hours of planning that really did pay off.
The team won a cash prize and a chance at scholarships. All of them are high school seniors and plan to enter the challenge again next year as a college team. Watch the Movie