Opening Sequence (Video)
LIKE US is an independent, anti-bullying short film about a topic that is close to many of us (myself and my brother included). It's a story about how self-identified misfits come together to achieve something greater, overcome their fears, and help one of their own. It's also a story about perseverance, belonging, and all of us.
As part of the media arts and filmmaking classes we offer, I was hired by The Ethical Community Charter School (TECCS) in Jersey City, NJ, to lead the instructional writing team, direct, and produce a film for students and by students. We wanted to teach students how to create a story they could relate to while also solving an ethical dilemma in a positive way to inspire other students. The project spanned over 9 months, included over 80 students and adults, and was filmed at 6 locations across multiple neighborhoods in Jersey City, NJ.
The support and community involvement around LIKE US has been outstanding. While the story grew, its impact and importance to students became more clear, but funding was also running out in December. We collectively knew would have to make sacrifices to push through past our funding resources to make the best film we could.
Together with Kim Correro, Ann Wallace, cast, and crew, – and through the collaborative production efforts of FSA Performing Arts, THISLEARNING, and many many supporters, friends, and family (thanks Uncle Mike, Mooga, and Blake!) – we've been working tirelessly since last summer through this spring to put LIKE US on the big screen.
It's been a long road with a lot of close calls and sleepless nights. There will likely be more to come. But LIKE US has also been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help create what may likely be the largest independent film related to a school in Jersey City – and by the time we've completed all scenes, it may be one of the largest school oriented independent films in the nation.
Our goal is to show LIKE US as an anti-bullying film in Jersey City and schools around the country to help as many students, families, and administrators as possible. With almost 40 hours of rehearsal and film footage captured, most of our 30+ scenes completed, and post-production on the horizon, we are almost there. We plan to have LIKE US completed by this summer to enter into the Golden Door International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, as a first look, here is a short clip featuring our opening sequence to the film (scene #2 "First Looks" and scene #3 "In From The Cold").