January 10, 2010
Budding Racine filmmaker needs our votes
UPDATE, Jan. 21: Close, but no cigar. The winners have been announced, and Kat Clark isn't among them -- although she was encouraged to see a clip from her entry used in the finalists announcement video and promises to keep working on film projects.
A budding filmmaker from Racine needs our help in winning the opportunity to film a short movie in New Zealand for Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which earned something like $3 billion and 17 Academy Awards. (No pressure.)
Kat Clark, a 2008 graduate of the Prairie School (she edited the yearbook) and now a college student, has written a screenplay and made a short video clip as part of her entry for Jackson's 100% Pure New Zealand Your Big Break competition. Five of the hundreds of worldwide entrants -- four chosen by a panel of Academy Award-winning filmmakers and one by the popular vote (which is where you come in!) -- will receive $75,000 to make their three-minute movie in New Zealand.
Clark, 20, is a sophomore at Swarthmore studying English literature, photography and film production; she hopes one day to be a film director. "I've loved writing and film since I was a little kid, so it seems natural for me to go out and make my own movies," she says. "Other girls would imagine getting an Academy Award for Best Actress, but I wanted the Oscar for Best Director or Best Screenplay."
She wrote in her entry that filmmaking "has been my passion since the age of 14, when I started directing shorts with whatever resources I could find... and it is my dream to keep doing so until I am too old and decrepit to handle a camera."
She told us, "I think great films have the power to invoke change and to truly move people. I've always wanted to move people that way. I have an incredible drive to do so and I'm not quite sure where it comes from."
Clark said she "stumbled across Your Big Break while searching for film opportunities in New Zealand. "I took a break from the grueling search to check my Facebook, and there in the sidebar was a little advertisement that said, “Come film in New Zealand!” So here I am. Thank goodness for creepy intuitive advertisements."
Clark's entry, entitled Proof, is designed, she wrote, as a stand-alone film, and also a promotion for New Zealand, in keeping with the contest's instructions to write a screenplay that "captures the spirit of New Zealand -- 'the youngest country on earth.' " It is "an illustration of how many people function inside 'the box,' whether that be a job, a way of living or a state of mind -- and how the spirit of New Zealand (and the environment in general) serves as a way to get outside that box." You can read her screenplay and view the storyboard HERE. Besides air fare, a film crew and funds to make the movie, winners will see their films on U.S. TV "and will become famous," the contest promises.
Two young children, a boy and a girl, make up the cast of Clark's proposed film. She writes that she has "a lot of experience working with children," and she does: for the past three summers she has worked as a counselor for the developmentally disabled at Camp Kinder at DeKoven Center.
Clark, knows how tough the competition is, but thinks she has a good shot at being a finalist because of the number of views her entry has received (12,418 at last count, a lot more than most entries) and positive comments. "It's exciting!" she says. "I need as many people as possible to vote by this Friday at 1:59 p.m. CST."
To vote, go HERE.