Local film festival serves as creative outlet for Bearden students

One weekend: enough time to cheer on the Bulldogs at a Bearden football or basketball game, catch up on some sleep, hang out with friends, and maybe do some homework. But enough time for a team of high school students to make a movie? Knoxville’s Fifty-Four Film Fest presents filmmakers with exactly this challenge. This year, senior Barrett Burgin decided to lead a group of Bearden students in the local contest. “The rules were to write, film, edit, and turn in a film all in 54 hours, and to incorporate three given elements – a prop, line, and action – into your film,” Burgin said. The Fifty-Four Film Fest began at 5 p.m. on Feb. 3, when participants attended an “Inception” meeting, where guidelines were reviewed and teams drew genres. Burgin and his production staff drew “tragedy/drama.” For the next 54 hours, the group was hard at work filming and editing. The final product? A 7-minute film entitled “Memories”. Though Burgin said he can’t give much of a synopsis, he did offer some information. “It’s really tragic,” Burgin said. “And not in the way you might think.” Instrumental in Burgin’s production were his cast and crew, including assistant director Temple Duke and cinematographer Ashley Campbell. “I have never worked as a cinematographer before, so this experience was definitely a first for me,” Campbell said. “I had a great time, and I would love to work on more films in the future.” Campbell described her duties as director of photography as an extensive look at lighting and framing; in other words, her job was to “make the shot look pretty”. “Film-making presented a unique opportunity for me to use photography in an entirely new fashion,” Campbell said. “I knew anything directed by Barrett would be quality, so I was eager to help. “I haven’t seen the finished product yet, but I’m sure it will live up to my expectations.” Actors Ben Nebenfuehr and Elizabeth Gibson and composer Austin Fray were also crucial members of the crew. “While they were shooting the film, I was at my music desk writing,” Fray said. Using computerized virtual instruments and Logic Pro recording software, Fray constructed musical arrangements to accommodate what was happening on screen. “For this project, Barrett wanted a dark and emotional feel,” Fray said. “I focused on a more minimalistic, simple approach. “Every note counts.” Fray has been composing since his freshman year, with a short album on iTunes called “Searching EP”. He also writes for Auralation, a local music company that offers a catalog of pre-recorded music to the television industry. “Composing is definitely something I can see myself doing professionally,” Fray said. To sample Fray’s music, visit his Soundcloud page at http://soundcloud.com/austinfray7. Also involved in the filming process as extras and production assistants were Bearden students Alli Acuff, Tyler Cheek, Laura Dupper, Ben Maxey, and Bearden alumni Stefon Stephens and Megan Gerlach. “This was such a valuable experience for several of us because it gets our names out there,” Burgin said. Although Burgin’s crew wasn’t able to complete the film in time for the noon deadline on Feb. 5, their production will still be shown along with other entries in the Fifty-Four Film Fest at Wynnsong on Saturday at 4 p.m. Admission will be $5. Burgin plans to continue directing with his production staff, who are calling themselves “Stripling Studios”. Stripling Studios is already at work on a new project, and Burgin has discussed possible screenings in the BHS auditorium with BHS principal Dr. John Bartlett. “I assure you, this is just the beginning,” Burgin said. Rachel Riley is the news editor for The Bark. Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.