Auxvasse students shine in movie

— A group of Auxvasse Elementary students got their first taste of stardom Wednesday night at the premier of their first movie.

About 160 people showed up at the school for a special screening of “The Ghost Girl” — created by 25 members of the 21st Century Grant After School Program over the course of the year.

Program Director Jeremy Divers said students helped with everything — writing the script, makeup and costuming, acting, filming and editing — to make their move. Although most of the film was shot at the school, students also took the camera out around town to do “location shoots.”

Divers said despite the title, “The Ghost Girl,” which has a run time of one hour and 10 minutes, is more about friendship than scaring the audience.

“It’s basically about an investigation at a school where a girl had died 30 years ago, and one little girl is able to see and communicate with the ghost and they develop a friendship,” Divers said. “She’s stuck there and can’t leave, and they have to uncover why she can’t move on.”

Fourth-grader Allie Flynn, who plays Alice, the student who helps the ghost, said she got involved with the project because “I thought acting would be a lot of fun.”

“I liked being able to play and hang out with Bethany (Spatafora, who played the ghost) every Thursday,” Flynn said, noting the hardest part was trying to keep everything straight. “I thought it was pretty cool.”

Costar Zeke Gilman, also a fourth-grader, said he too decided to help make the movie because he thought it would be fun.

Gilman portrayed Alice’s classmate Austin and said his favorite part about working on the film was “getting out of class and walking around town.”

“(Making a movie is) a lot of fun, it’s a lot of work,” he said. “I don’t really like watching myself, but it was fun.”

He said his favorite part of “The Ghost Girl” was a scene in which the ghost scares several bullies out of the school.

Spatafora said the best part about playing a ghost was “that I got to scare some of my older cousins — that was pretty fun.”

She said her biggest challenge was that many of her lines contained references to things that were popular or happened during the 1980s, when her character was killed.

Like her castmates, Spatafora said she hopes to act again the next time the Movie Club makes a movie.

“It’s really fun, and sometimes it’s pretty funny,” she said.

Divers said he also enjoyed the movie-making experience.

“I liked being able to work with the kids and seeing them fulfill this dream and the sheer joy of seeing the finished project,” he said.

Auxvasse After School site director Jennifer Allen said Divers’ and the students’ hard work paid off at the premier Wednesday night.

“Everyone loved it. I couldn’t believe some of the special effects, like when the ghost walks through another person,” Allen said. “In the hallway she just walked around them, but in the movie she walks right through them.

“I just thought (Divers) and the kids did a wonderful job.”

Each of the students that participated in the making of “The Ghost Girl” will get a copy of the movie. Divers and Allen said others who want the film also will be able to order a copy, with forms to go home with students.

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