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Bob Shallit: Auburn-area teen making movie, aiming for Sundance

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  • Rob Schmidt
    http://www.sacbee.com/shallit/story/2054832.html Bob Shallit: Auburn-area teen making movie, aiming for Sundance By Bob Shallit bshallit@sacbee.com Published:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2009
      http://www.sacbee.com/shallit/story/2054832.html

      Bob Shallit: Auburn-area teen making movie, aiming for Sundance

      By Bob Shallit
      bshallit@...
      Published: Saturday, Jul. 25, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

      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.

      Might it be accepted? Absolutely, says Kohler, who won awards for his PBS
      documentary "California's Lost Tribes."

      "It's fast-paced, it's told through the eyes of the kids and it's a story
      that hasn't been told," he says of the work in progress.

      Starkey, who eventually plans to attend film school, hopes that her movie's
      happy ending conveys a message to troubled kids - on reservations or
      anywhere else.

      "No matter how bad life can be," she says, "things can get better."

      Reach Bob Shallit at (916) 321-1049. Back columns: www.sacbee.com/shallit.
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