MARYSVILLE — Before school let out for the summer, a group of students from the International School of Communications saw their labors over the course of the past year and a half finally bear fruit on the big screen.
“Freshmeat” made its premiere in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School auditorium on Thursday, May 23, as Michael Cozart, a 17-year-old senior at ISC who served as the film’s director, and Jake Siriani, a 16-year-old ISC junior who was the film’s producer, joined ISC instructor Andrew Christopher in sharing how it all got started in February of 2012.
“Last February, two students and I began looking for a script we could use for a new class,” Christopher said. “We held auditions last spring, and began filming in September, wrapping up at the end of the semester in January.”
“When we did find the screenplay that we wanted, we had to edit it to be appropriate for airing at school,” Siriani said.
“That trimmed a 140-page script by about 40 pages,” Cozart said.
Fortunately for the ISC students, scriptwriter ShaDon Manigault gave them his blessing, and since he’d produced the screenplay as a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, they didn’t need to pay him royalties.
“What really worked about this script was that it was set at a school,” Cozart said. “There were a few house scenes, but about 90 percent of the filming that we had to do, we could do during the school day.”
“It’s also relatable for our age group,” said Siriani, who counted 187 student actors’ faces who appeared on camera during the 75-minute film. “You can show it to kids who are being bullied, and you can show it to kids if they are the bully.”
“There were about 30-50 students with speaking roles,” Cozart said. “Because we could only film 53 minutes at a time during class, we only spent 105 hours on filming. We’ve spent at least 90 hours over the course of the past semester just editing it, which adds up to a total of 400 hours of editing since we started. We only just finished editing it the week before the premiere.”
Christopher commended the students on their commitment to the less glamorous aspects of filmmaking, and explained that he’s spoken with city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew about the possibility of airing “Freshmeat” as a “Movie in the Park” in June.