Hamilton Southeastern High School student Spencer Lawson got his idea for a movie while watching a couple of psychological thrillers over summer.
“I then decided it would be fun to write one myself,” said Lawson, a member of the school’s Olio Road Productions club. “So, I set out trying to make a psycho-thriller that was in my skill range and, unfortunately, more school-appropriate. When deciding what specific topic, I decided I wanted to write about dreams because dreams afford a level of surrealism that is unavailable in most mediums. While all previous Olio Road Productions movies have been grounded in reality, I wanted something that transcended modern conventions and allowed us as a club to experiment.”
“Iris” follows an ambitious high school student who attempts to study the nature of the nightmares infecting her school but has to fight against circumstance, memory and time as the line between dreams and reality blur. The official premiere is set for 7 p.m. May 18 at HSE’s Leonard Auditorium. There will be a showing at 3 p.m. the same day at the auditorium. Tickets are $5.
“Seeing my script be slowly transformed to the screen has been exhilarating, to say the least,” Lawson said. “It’s absolutely insane to me that these words I wrote on a page form the basis of our directors’ visions, and I get to watch as we work side by side to see how our visions will meet in the middle. Similarly, I learned just how much trust goes into the filmmaking process. Through this whole year, I’ve learned that in the end of the day, I have to be willing to trust my life in the hands of our crew, that everyone is working together, and this diversity of opinion is what makes filmmaking truly great.”
Avery Susemichel plays the lead character, Oliva.
“My character is very complex, and at times I struggled trying to figure out what her thoughts would be at the moment or how she would react at certain things,” Susemichel said. “Given the circumstances of the plot and how some scenes take place in a dream and some in reality, sometimes it would get confusing as to how I should act or how Olivia, my character, would act.”
The club is led by film studies teacher Jeremiah Follis, who said he created the club to bring together a diverse and talented student group to create a new film each year.
“Although I would love for this to be a class, currently it is all done outside of class as an extracurricular organization,” Follis said. “The club does pull from kids who have had classes in their respective departments, be it acting, art, photography or the mass media class that does the school newscast.”