At the turn of the millennium, the frontrunners for Generation Y wile away their high school days preparing for a rapidly changing world. In a semi-rural, small town in Kentucky, the digital age has seeped into the walls of the local high school in the form of databased I.D. tags. The students tangle with the typical swings of high school life: love, heartbreak, crazy times, and crushing boredom, as they revolt against the school’s I.D.s and form their own identities.
A storm is brewing, figuratively and literally, as the student body becomes a character in and of itself by the end of the year. Will the students of Tackett County High be able to navigate the greater transition of a changing generation as they prepare for their own transitions into life outside of high school? A school year brimming with love triangles, exasperated teachers, carefree slackers, anxious academics, and a fake war between two jokers and their bands of merry followers ends with an explosive act of nature that will put Tackett County High to the test.
Extracurricular is an affectionate look at high school in Kentucky at the turn of the century, but in some ways, it could be any American high school at any time. As high schoolers, we thought our big issues were the whole world, but in the end the things that stuck were the little surprises. The main characters and their surrounding peers remind us that high school was simultaneously silly and formative, both carefree and heavy, that it meant everything and nothing; that’s the story of Extracurricular.
While Extracurricular will be a movie for everyone, it's a project that will belong to Kentucky. As such, we want to shoot our film in Kentucky because it is a love letter of sorts to the director’s home state. To make the experience authentic, it is necessary not only to capture genuine Kentucky locations in the film, but also to steep the cast, crew, and production in genuine Kentucky flavor.
To that effect, we are thrilled to tell you that former University of Kentucky basketball player Mark Krebs (2007-2010) has agreed to play the role of Coach Cairn. Mark, who is originally from Newport, KY, has recently moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in acting. Through him, we will be able to collaborate with a beloved member of Big Blue Nation and provide an important step for him in his goals. This is just one example of the ways that we intend to make this a truly “Kentucky” film.
A Great Boon to the State
Much like what Elizabethtown, Seabiscuit, and Dreamer did for their respective Kentucky locations, this film will bring big name actors and a professional film crew to the area, and involve locals for equal opportunity. History shows that films like this are extremely positive for the local economy.
Hollywood Quality, Kentucky ownership
This Hollywood film will mix big name actors and Los Angeles crew members with local actors and local crew members. It will be made to the highest standards of “Hollywood” quality, while remaining a project about, and for, Kentucky.
Opportunities for Kentuckians
We plan to involve locals in every capacity available, including:
• Talent - There will be many acting parts in this film, ranging from big to small. Many of these parts will be available and open for audition, and, like what we’re doing with Mark Krebs, we plan to give local Kentucky actors a chance to fill these roles.
• Extras - There will also be scenes where many extras are needed, and through these, we hope to involve as much of the community as possible in the creation of the film.
• Crew - Outside of the few key crewmembers who will come from Los Angeles (most of whom are also originally from Kentucky), there will be many crew positions available for Kentuckians, from paying jobs to internships.
In summary - Bringing a production of this size and quality back to the director’s home state and county is a way for us to give something back and involve the people and locals who made this story what it is. But beyond all of those benefits, we want this film to belong to Kentucky. Rather than simply using Kentucky as a place to film, we want this film to be a project that Kentucky can be proud of and call its own.
Cineline Productions (Production Company)
Coming to life in 2000, Cineline Productions is a multi-media company specializing in independent film and motion picture storytelling. Cineline Productions is a fully staffed production company with the experience and ability necessary to take projects from inception to completion. Our plan has always been to build a one-stop shop for film production, able not only to sustain itself, but to flourish. To date, Cineline Productions has more than five feature films under its belt as well as music videos that have aired on MTV 2, FUSE, and CMT PURE, TV commercials, industrials, and numerous short films.
Writer/Director Jonny Walls
Jonny Walls has been working professionally in film and visual media for seven years. He recently wrote and directed his first feature film, Couch Survivor, which will release in 2015. He has written, directed, and produced multiple short projects as well, including feature film proof-of-concept "teasers", short films, and music videos. He has also edited various projects, which include three feature films and multiple film trailers.
He is also a published writer. He contributed an essay to The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles (Wiley, Blackwell), and edited and wrote for The Legend of Zelda and Theology (Gray Matter Books). His forthcoming book, Tarantino and Theology, co-edited by Jonny and Jerry L. Walls, will be published by Gray Matter Books in December, 2014.
Jonny studied in the prestigious media communications program at Asbury University and graduated from the Los Angeles Film Studies Center.
Producer Aaron Champion
Aaron Champion graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelor’s degree in Film. Aaron began his career by directing broadcasts and live events, eventually transitioning to cinematic directing over five years ago. Aaron is at ease shooting his own films or working on others’ projects, and has worked as both Director/Producer and Director of Photography on over three hundred projects of a wide range.
Most recently, Aaron was hired to direct the feature film Producer Sam for an independent production company and has also directed documentaries, short films, commercials, and music videos. Some of Aaron’s music videos have aired on MTV2, Fuse, and CMT Pure. Aaron is also currently a Director/Producer for the hit Youtube show VideoHairstyles, which has over 11 million views.
Producer Zac Heath
Heath has worked in the entertainment industry for more than twelve years. Starting as an actor, he performed in films such as End of the Harvest and the Dreamworks film Dreamer. After beginning his career as a stage actor, he went back to school, earning his Masters from Asbury Seminary near Lexington, KY. While there, he worked as the school’s Theatre Director, which gave him a passion for telling a story from behind the scenes. After graduation, he and his wife moved to Los Angeles in hopes of crewing up on films so he could eventually learn how to make them.
He has since worked on over ten feature films, most recently as the Producer for the indie drama Come Morning. He has also coordinated numerous shorts and commercial shoots, working with such names as Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, Isaiah Washington, Magic Johnson, and the late Ernest Borgnine and Larry Hagman.
Heath’s personal philosophy when it comes to film is that “drama should remain in front of the camera.” He maintains an ever growing database of crew that share in that philosophy.
Director of Photography Mark Farney
Every story starts with inspiration, and mine comes straight out of Jessamine County, Kentucky. Parts of Extracurricular are creative retellings of events that truly took place, and others are my own fictitious imaginings, but everything in the film is in some way influenced by my knowledge of, and love for, Kentucky. It is my affection for this incredibly special place that drove the creation of this story and will drive this film through to completion.
Too many high school movies are set in California or extremely affluent areas, and are therefore oversaturated with wealthy kids who all drive BMWs, attend class in palaces, shop on Rodeo Drive, and go to the beach between classes. Places like Jessamine County are far underrepresented in cinema, and it’s my goal to change that.
The state of Kentucky itself is underrepresented in cinema as well. Well-meaning films like Elizabethtown brought positive attention to the state, but that film was written, directed, and acted by almost exclusively non-Kentucky natives, and it shows. Extracurricular, which will be produced by almost exclusively Kentucky natives, will bring a genuine and affectionate vision of the state to film screens around the nation. Every sensibility, from the accents to the attitudes, will be represented accurately to reflect the great state of Kentucky. It is this element of the project in particular that my colleagues and I are most passionate and excited about.
Extracurricular will take place throughout the 1999-2000 school year and will all take place in the school or on school grounds. In this way the film will be unique. Rather than being a film that takes place around high school or is merely about high school students, Extracurricular will capture the sometimes monotonous, sometimes crazy feeling of being trapped inside a high school building with hundreds of other peers and authority figures. This will truly be the ultimate high school movie.
While Extracurricular will maintain a uniquely “Kentucky” look and feel, it will convey the greater themes of self-discovery, relationships, needless melodrama, boredom, fun, routine, and craziness that every high schooler knows. Though largely comedic, it will feature occasional notes of drama to accentuate the comedy. The silly times will be conveyed with fondness, the heavy times with emotional honesty. It will convey, in slightly surreal fashion, the just out-of-control and meandering direction that many high schoolers’ lives take. Everyone went to high school, and as such, this is a story that everyone will be able to relate to in one way or another. I wish to express the joy of youth through the oftentimes silly, and occasionally heavy, nature of the average high schooler’s experience.
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