At first glance, this group of 14 middle-school students seem like your average chatty and hyper excited preteens. But as they settle down to get talking about their movie (yes, they made a movie!), they almost seem professional and calm. Selected for the 18th International Children’s Film Festival 2013, their movie entry Temple Run has not only made them the apple of their school’s eye, but also opened a door of wondrous possibilities.
Students of the Oakridge International School at Bachupally (Einstein Campus), they proved that age is not a barrier when it comes to talent, hard work and creativity.
When their drama teacher, Ramesh Goud, decided to take their theatrics to a higher level, these 14 students were more than happy to take up the challenge. That was about two years ago. Fast forward to the present, and their film is going to be screened on an international platform.
With four directors and 10 actors, the crew worked for one-and-a-half months for shooting the 50-minute film. But that wasn’t their biggest challenge.
“We have been working on this movie for the past one-and-a-half years. It took time to come up with a script and then we slowly started working on it. The final shoot itself took over a month,” shares Antara, one of the four directors, adding that their shoot locations were in and around their school campus.
“It was a great experience for us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. There was never a dull moment as we all got along really well,” says Shrikar, who plays a negative role in the film.
A well balanced script with all the apt emotions – friendship, compassion, jealousy, greed – and a strong sense of right and wrong, we wonder who’s idea Temple Run was originally. All fingers immediately point to Aaheli Jana, an eighth standard student. Smiling affably, she says, “We all had different ideas and were having trouble in figuring out the right script. Then I came up with this idea and everybody unanimously agreed to do it. Our drama teacher, Ramesh sir, was extremely helpful and guided us all along the way. He also showed us a few movies so that we could learn how films are made.”
Explaining the plotline of their pet project, Shruti, another eighth standard student who was behind the camera lens, says, “The story revolves around a group of friends who happen upon a treasure map and set out on a treasure hunt. But things don’t go as smooth as they hope.”
With so much time being spent on the project, didn’t they miss classes or give up on holidays? “The actor’s were really co-operative, so it made our job so much easier. We did miss a few classes for this movie, but none of us complained. Overall, it was just a great experience and that’s what was most exciting for us,” adds Shruti.
Incidentally, their film is named after the popular Imangi game that has an explorer running away from flesh-eating primates. The children however put it down to a happy coincidence, despite the similarity.
As a large group bigger than a dozen, one does wonder if ‘creative difference’ crept in, as it does in any such project. But, a well adjusted group, what stood out most about them was the easy comfort with which they waxed eloquent of their fellow teammates.
Giving credit where it was due, it was a refreshing to see.
“While we all handled the direction, it was actually Akash who took care of the videography,” chimed in Aaheli, with her fellow directors nodding their heads in agreement.
For his part, Akash is quick to share the glory. “We all turn took turns in handling the camera and it was great fun shooting this film. I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit,” he says, adding that besides filmmaking, his hobbies include music. In fact, it was Akash and Antara who scored the music for the movie.
Definitely a talented group of students, a large part of the credit does however go the captain of the ship, their drama teacher.
“Initially, we started with small concepts. I showed them how to write a screenplay and dialogues. At first, we started shooting a few scenes with an iPhone for the children to train, before graduating to a video camera,” says Ramesh who has been a drama teacher at Oakridge International for the past eight years.
Quite delighted with his crew of budding professional filmmakers, he adds, “Every student has talent, they must however be provided with time and resources to get the desired output. We have managed to do just that. All the students who were selected to act in this movie were extremely passionate about drama.”
Now that their effort has paid of, the kids can’t wait for the film to be screened. But, the moment they found out that their film had made the cut is what is dear to them.
“We are so excited about it; it’s great news that our movie has been selected for the festival. We will definitely be attending it to see how it plays out,” says Arya, a sixth standard student who acted in the film.
Agreeing, Smruti says, “It’s a great honour for us that this movie has been selected. I love acting and we are looking forward to continue making movies. Hopefully, a sequel to this one as well.”