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Stars come out for opening night
Alsea filmmaker puts his
Town on the silver screen
At the Darkside
BY EMILY GILLESPIE
CORVALLIS GAZETTE TIMES
The young girls wore dresses and feathers in their hair; the young men wore shirts and ties. It was pretty formal for the Darkside Cinema, but this was a movie premiere, after all. The parents and siblings of the young stars , ages 10 to 17, also were dressed to the nines for the sold-out showing of a movie featuring the young people of Alsea.
“I’m so proud of all of you,” director and producer Davey Porter told the crowd once they’d found their seats in the independent movie theatre, “You ‘re all stars tonight.”
A film industry veteran, Porter founded the Alsea Film Academy in the summer of 2010. On Wednesday, that academy came to Corvallis.
The crowd of about 100 filled two theaters to see the premiere of “They Came from Alsea! The Movie Kids” and “Midnight Alsea with Kaylie Bennet.”
The first production included a montage of all the firms the group has produced until now, intercut with interviews about what the fledgling actors and filmmakers have learned and experienced so far.
The second movie was a spoof of late-night television, filled with comic guests and mock commercials.
“It’s really fun, especially the comedy scenes.” Kaylie said. The 15 year old portrayed a talk show host who has short-term memory loss. “I actually have short-term memory loss, so we wrote it into the script as a joke.”
Since it’s inception, interest in the film school has been piqued in the town of 1,150 or so. Meeting two days a week, the kids wrote, filmed, edited and starred in the 45-minuet feature film.
“It’s the most professional project they’ve dome so far,” Porter said, “I wanted them to have the experience of knowing what it’s like to put on a real live TV show.”
Porter said that the spoof was filmed in real time, with few breaks. Kids took part in an audience warm-up act, did satellite countdowns and took actual commercial breaks.
Camera man Cody Dvorak, 13, said that he learned to focus, zoom and how to best position the camera in the 12-week academy.
“The hardest part was trying to get it right the first time,” he said. Cody spoke highly of Porter, who taught him how to do traction shots of the audience’s reaction to the host and guests’ snarky conversation.
Paul Turner, owner of the Darkside Cinema, said the premiering the film was an obvious choice and in line with his business mantra of showing Independent and locally made films.
“Corvallis and surrounding areas are turning out some really good filmmakers and Davey is contributing to that.” he said, “When we have food filmmakers, I have stuff to show.”
Turner said that the film also will be shown Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but the times have not been scheduled yet.”
“There’s a chance that he’s creating the next person to make the next blockbuster hit for the Darkside,” Turner said, “Of course I’m going to help out.”
And the parents were equally as happy with the final product as the energetic young actors.
“They have a lot of fun, and we’re very proud” said Scott Drill, who had two daughters in the production. “They’re hams now.”