Lights, camera, interaction! Hollywood.Con filmmakers tell ESHS students about movie industry
By Samantha Jones
Mika Boorem and her father, Ben, are in the business of telling stories, and they recently shared their perspective on the movie industry with Eureka Springs High School film students.
Mika said she and her father have been meeting with students throughout the region in the weeks leading up to the premiere of her directorial debut film Hollywood.Con. The film will be shown for the first time at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Auditorium in downtown Eureka Springs. They have visited many schools to talk about filmmaking, Mika said, and the students at Eureka Springs are some of the best they’ve met.
“We had a fantastic time going in and visiting with the kids,” Mika said. “We told them particularly about the project we just finished. We showed them different clips from that film and talked about the experience we had making that.”
“It really was a wonderful experience,” Ben said. “The kids were great. They were really excited to share their projects with us.”
Juniors Hunter Chapman and Sam Gay said they loved talking with the Boorems, saying they learned more about the technical aspects of filmmaking. It was especially helpful for Chapman, because he’s been working on editing the audio for a film of his own.
“We talked one-on-one about how I could fix the audio and smaller things like that,” Chapman said.
For his film, Chapman said, he interviewed bands at the Auditorium last month. He thanked Mika and Ben for taking their time to visit with his class.
“They helped me synchronize everything,” Chapman said.
Mika said she was impressed by the projects going on at Eureka Springs High School.
“The kids are working on interesting stuff. A lot of the things they’re working on are very much out of the box, and they carry their personality with them,” Mika said. “It’s being embraced for them to really push the limits and go for it, which is so special.”
Gay said he enjoyed hearing more about the process behind independent filmmaking.
“There are difficulties that come along with it, but there’s also creative freedom,” Gay said. “They showed us perspective. They helped us see what can be if you continue down that road and work hard. The passion can still be there. It doesn’t have to leave.”
Freshman Holly Parker recalled speaking with Mika one-on-one about several different topics, including lighting, sound, camera angles and being on camera.
“We also discussed how there’s a major difference between being on camera acting and being on stage,” Parker said.
It’s rare for students in rural areas to meet people like Mika and Ben, Parker said.
“They’re from California. People around here really don’t get to know the experience from a person who’s actually doing that, who succeeded in it,” Parker said. “It’s really important for them to share their perspective and accomplishments, so they can inspire other people to go after such a thing.”
Teacher Adam Louderback thanked the Boorems for bringing their expertise to town and being so open with his students.
“The students got to show their work and get some real, honest feedback that didn’t come from me,” Louderback said. “It’s better hearing from people working in the industry.”
Gay said he could tell Mika and Ben were proud of their film.
“They had that sense of giddy wonder for what they created,” Gay said.
That’s definitely true, Mika said. She has been working as an actress since she was a child, saying she’s excited to see the response to Hollywood.Con. The film is an old-school adventure comedy, Mika said, where the actors play against their typecast roles. The reason she decided to premiere the film in Eureka Springs, Mika said, is because she has family ties to Arkansas.
“My dad’s originally from Marshall. We have a lot of family in the area,” Mika said. “We wanted to do something around here, but we weren’t quite sure what the best spot would be.”
They discovered the Auditorium, reached out to CAPC interim director Rick Bright and the rest is history. While they’re in Eureka Springs, Mika said, they’re embracing everything about the local art scene.
“We’re going to be in the ArtRageous Parade. That will be really fun,” Mika said. “It’s a cool community. You guys have so much artwork everywhere you look. We have a lot of actors and crew coming in, and we’re excited to introduce them to Arkansas in this way.”
The movie starts at 8 p.m., but the doors open at 7 p.m. Mika encouraged everyone to come early to get their photo on the red carpet and meet some of the people behind the film. To purchase tickets, visit https://theaud.org/event/hollywood-con-movie-premier-event/.