July 30, 2009

Behind the Door of a Secret Girl

Bob Shallit:  Auburn-area teen making movie, aiming for Sundance A 17-year-old Auburn-area high school student is living a Hollywood dream. She's co-directing a feature-length film based on her own screenplay.

"I wake up each day and think, 'We're actually making my movie,' " says Janessa Starkey.

She's a student at the United Auburn Community Tribal School. Four years ago, she wrote a three-page movie treatment and showed it to the school's media chief, Jack Kohler.

Kohler, a veteran filmmaker, tells us he knew right away that Starkey had a great story--the tale of an American Indian girl who resorts to cutting herself to deal with a horrific home life.

Kohler urged Starkey to "stretch out" her script, adding texture to her story. She did. Kohler borrowed expensive film equipment, brought in a professional crew and recruited veteran actors, including Michael Horse.

Filming was done over the past two weeks. Editing is under way. The plan is to have a rough cut completed by September, in time to enter "Behind the Door of a Secret Girl" in the Sundance Film Festival.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  "Janessa Starkey is co-directing 'Behind the Door of a Secret Girl,' about drug use and depression in American Indian teens." (Kim Nickols/Special to The Bee)

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