Over the summer, senior Nick Spina participated in the St. John’s University film program in New York City.
“The goal of the program was to create a short film, but even though that was the goal, we were given only three hours to get five hours of footage, which is not possible,” Nick said.
He said that since his group was unable to get all of their footage in that time and the teachers refused to allow for extra time, his group was forced to sneak around and film whatever they could without getting caught.
Instead of using three hours to film and six hours to edit, they ended up using 10 hours to film and 30 hours to edit.
“The ideas for the film and all of its details had to be determined by us, and we were only given three days to this,” he said. “We stayed up until around 3 a.m., just writing the script, filming, editing, etc.”
Nick said that he worked on the project with a group of kids who happened to be his roomates, which was nice because he already had spent time with them.
In the coming weeks, Nick will screen his video before the entire school. He said that coming up with the idea for the video took a lot of hard work and dedication but was well worth it in the end. His team finally settled on creating a film on mental health, based on a teammate’s seventh grade poem on war. “After we read the poem, we all thought ‘How did you come up with this? It’s very deep and inspiring,’” he said. “We built the narrative around the poem and wove into it the idea of mental health. It was, by far, the most complicated storyline.”
The movie, “Wartorn,” centers around a young man speaking to his therapist and reading a poem about his war experience. The war scenes are produced in sophisticated flashbacks with intricate editing. When the therapist reveals to the patient that he never served in the military, the audience learns through a flashback that the young man discovered the body of his friend who died from a suicidal overdose which is the source of his trauma.
“One reason for making the film about mental health was to spread awareness and a positive message because of all the mental health issues that surround the world now, but more specifically, in our age group,” Nick said.
Within the first 48 hours of posting the film on YouTube, the film received over 1,000 views and various supporting comments.
The film will be shown at the Mental Health Awareness assembly at KO on Sep. 25, to promote further awareness for mental health.
Nick and his crew plan on submitting the short film to the New York Film Festival and other film festivals in the spring.