LAHS student filmmakers show this year’s film, “Downright Diabolical”

Some of the student filmakers involved in the making of this year's film, "Downright Diqbolical." Courtesy photo

The annual premier of a student-made film at Los Alamitos High School was held Thursday, May 30, at the school’s Performing Arts Center, according to Conner Brown, the school’s film and television instructor.

This year’s film is entitled “Downright Diabolical,” said Brown, and it follows two rival teenagers who set out to make the other’s life a nightmare in a zany comedy. He said the film turned out to be “absolutely, the best one yet,” and will soon be available for viewing on the school’s YouTube channel.

Each year, Brown allows the students to completely take charge of the film, including coming up with the concept, writing the script, picking the actors and handling the production in front and back of the camera.
Accordingly, Brown said this year’s student film is directed by Senior Jamisen Penick, a talented and hard-working student, he said, noting the film began filming in March and wrapped in mid-May.

Penick said it is an honor to have been chosen to direct this year’s film.
“Being chosen to direct Los Al’s short film was such a highlight to my senior year. I was able to connect with so many of my peers and friends on a whole new level. Working on the movie itself was a whole other world,” he said.

“We were learning how to work professionally with each other while still balancing our everyday lives,” he added.

“On top of that, I adore the script. We have these two main characters who are essentially trying to ruin the others’ lives while dragging their best friends into it too,” said Penick.
“Throughout the story, we discover so much more about these characters and how they’re connected so it was such an interesting idea, and turning it into an actual film was incredible,” the student director said.

According to Brown, Senior Nathan Spolter not only wrote the script but is the lead actor, alongside fellow student Breana Merrifield.

The cast also includes Tom Curd, Sela Moore, and Mason Potter.

The Director of Photography is Emily Fitzgerald, a senior, who worked with Lead Camera Operator, Kyan Whiten, a junior, to perfect every shot using high-quality gear that Los Al Film Department now has to offer, said Brown.

Assistant Director Johnny Flaim, a senior, thinks the annual Los Al film project has evolved into an excellent opportunity for students.

“The short film is always an opportunity for the film program to band together under one project and utilize the students’ abilities to our full extent,” said Flaim.
“The new equipment we received over the summer combined with a new passionate crew of students has made this short film the best one so far,” the junior AD said.

“It’s been one of the greatest honors of my high school career to be the Assistant Director of this movie and we’re all thankful for our film teacher Mr. Brown, who created this project and provides his classes with this opportunity for students to collaborate and create.”
Brown allows students complete freedom but keeps the project on track, and says each year, he is remarkably impressed with the creativity of each class of students.

“I’m beyond impressed with these students’ passion and work ethic. They really go all out every year, but this year has truly surpassed my expectations. The amount of planning that went into this movie was intense,” the media teacher said.

“Every single detail was thoughtful of and planned out very well,” he said.

The public is invited to attend the premiere of “Downright Diabolical,” which was shown Thursday, May 30, at 7 p.m. at the Los Al Performing Arts Center, said Brown. “This film is very impressive for individuals this age,” he added.