“I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anyone in a gray place dares to dream.”
– From the movie, The Shawshank Redemption
If you were to ask Jonathan Scott his favourite movie, he’d quickly tell you it’s Stephen King’s masterful story, The Shawshank Redemption. So you can imagine the Grade 12 student’s excitement at the opportunity to bring another Stephen King story to the screen, Grey Matter, as part of the Advanced Film Studies Class at Rockridge. Even better, when Jonathan continues to grow his passion for moving pictures at film school next year at Cap U, he’ll have this – and many other projects behind him as experience.
Grey Matter is one of what Stephen King calls his Dollar Babies – stories that are not contracted for movies, but sold to film students for $1. This eight-pager tells the typical Stephen King horror story of a young man whose reclusive father has consumed one warm beer too many and is slowly turning into an inhuman blob, eating stray cats and possibly people. When film teacher David Shannon pitched the idea to this year’s class, they were keen.
The King story is very different from the community-based content last year, which told the inspiring story of Brian Upson’s battle with cancer as he coached the Highlanders to the Provincial Championship.
Grey Matter’s Director, Cole Nelson adds “Last year I had no pressure on my shoulders, the community story was already there. This year is different. Being in charge of every little aspect is big and different.”
But as David Shannon notes, filming an adapted screenplay was the best opportunity for learning about the technical pieces of film making. This time around as Mr. Shannon described “students learned about the hurry up and wait aspects of film making. They were responsible for all features – from plugging in every piece of equipment, to taping down all wires and cords, understanding locations changes and script revisions. They learned about the art of making the film.”
His thoughts were echoed by Meryl Stevens, the film’s producer “This year is really cool because we are taking everything we learned from last year and really applying it to something none of us have ever done”.
And the cachet of adapting a story from the legendary author also has its merits “As soon as I heard we were doing a Stephen King movie I was so for it” says Avery Richardson, one of the co-writers.
For many of these students this project will be their last at Rockridge as they move on to post-secondary studies in the fall. For these students the Rockridge experience has dared them to dream, and – we hope – given them a soaring voice, too.
Grey Matter premieres at the Kay Meek Theatre Thursday, March 15th – Tickets can be purchased HERE