The Eighth Grade's Francis Ford Coppola

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

One hundred middle school students from across the city were chosen to screen a short film at the Middle School Film Festival this fall.  To prepare for the big red-carpet event, they wrote and directed their own films in the New York Film Academy’s 2-week-long summer camp.

Twelve year old Alex Boukis admits he’s never seen the movie Scarface, or The Godfather. But the film he wrote and directed, Tick Tock Paisan, is about loan sharks and ruthless gangsters.

His friend from camp, Louis Gomez, 13, plays Vinnie the loan shark – a thug in mirrored glasses who takes care of business with the help of a baseball bat.

“They have their ideas and they just go for it,” said Charene Chapman Santiago, a drama teacher at Ebbets Field Middle School, who is working with Alex's group to keep them on schedule. Chapman Santiago said that her group of students are creative and organized, and Alex is no exception.  “He texted me like a million times, he was so detail oriented!” she said.

During one morning shoot, the full crew -- which includes a camerawoman and grip --  darted in and out of classrooms and hallways, shooting scenes at Alex's direction.

Without spoiling the plot, the remaining scenes involved a baseball bat, a hospital room...and lots of fake blood.

Alex and Louis think the special effects may be just the thing to get their film noticed at the film festival in the fall.

Alex says, “Maybe we'll go for best makeup.”

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