Green onions? Check.
Day-old meat just beginning to ferment? … Say, what? Yes, that’s right. In the short film, “The Head of the Table,” Crazy Ginger (played by Spooky Reel Camp participant Ginger Morris) is a serial killer and cannibal just trying to enjoy a nice dinner, which also included fresh brains.
This was one of three short films produced in Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking’s first-ever Spooky Reel Camp. HWF place was transformed into a movie studio for each of the films and the girls had only 48 hours to pitch the story, develop it further, get the storyboard finished, get the set and props together, film it, then edit it. The camp culminated with a Spooky Reel Film Fest on Halloween Night.
“I can’t believe we made three films in 48 hours,” said Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking executive director Vera Zambonelli. “It was not easy, but we pulled it off.”
The camp began on a Friday afternoon with the group of girls gathering in a circle to discuss their film ideas. From that the film ideas generated and the girls were tasked to bring it all to fruition.
“It was stressful, but fun,” said Ryann Coules, who later revealed that they were editing up until 30 minutes before the viewing of it. “I think it went pretty well considering it was me and Liv’s first time filmmaking. It went a lot smoother than I thought. We problem solved pretty great.”
Ryann served as the writer, director, actor and co-editor of the short-film, “The Replacements.” Taking inspiration from the 1950s TV show “Twilight Zone,” the 17-year-old Le Jardin student was particularly fond of the episode “Mirror Image” featuring clones from a parallel universe taking over their twins lives from our universe.
With the team of Ryann, Liv Peralta, Aedan Azeka, and mentor Valerie Narte, they made a remake.
“Even though it was a challenge, I think it helped us,” Ryann said. “I feel pretty accomplished. I’m already ready to come back for the next thing.”
Kaʻiulani Ferrer was the youngest filmmaker of the camp. Despite her young age, 10-year-old Children’s House fifth grader has already attended four camps. She was well-prepared to take the lead for her film, “Abigail.”
In it, a lady, player by her mother, Leanne Ferrer, sees a little girl on the side of the road and decides to help her. She takes this little girl home to her mother. Once she parks in front of the house, Abigail seems to have disappeared and she knock to the door to make sure Abigail got home safe. But when she asks about Abigail to the woman who opens the door, she is told that little Abigail died long ago. Insisting that Abigail is in fact, alive, the woman goes crazy when no one believes her.
By Sunday, the girls worked tirelessly editing their films and be ready for the screening on Monday.
“My back is sore from being hunched over the computer all day editing,” said Morris, who starred in “The Head of the Table.”
But for her, all the pains were well worth it.
The film resulted from an intense collaboration with the director Mae Sebastian and their mentor, Sam Sakamoto. Make-up artist Jocelyn Ng made all the grisly and horrifying props look so real!
“I like how the environment [of HWF] gives you tools and the support to create your own projects,” Ginger said. “It’s more about the hands-on experience of learning how to film and learning through our mistakes.”
Learning through mistakes, learning through practice and learning to make adjustments is all a part of the process. Ma ka hana ke ʻike.
“Filmmaking is how to be resourceful and work with what you have and especially being able to work with other people,” Vera liked to share with the parents and friends who attended the Halloween-night Film Fest.
In the end, the girls were happy with their finished products and felt good about their ability to focus and get the films completed. All the films produced from the Spooky Reel Camp can be viewed on HWF’s Vimeo channel.
“Things can happen, even in a short time,” Vera said. “I think where there’s a will, there’s definitively a way.”