"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.
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)