"It always surprises me...the things people will do to each other."

TV Channel 3 Web Article

(Article found at: http://www.tv3winchester.com/home/headlines/Local-Teen-Receives-Grant-to-Produce-Film-213274631.html)



The Commonwealth is no stranger to movie production. Now, one local teen is capturing the community's attention as he begins working on his first feature film.

14-year-old Stephen French is doing what's he always wanted to do... make films.

With the help of a $500 grant from the Virginia Film Office, this Shenandoah County teen is making his dream a reality.

Using Woodstock to his advantage, French, who lives in Edinburg, is looking through the lens of a camera.

"I think I was 11 when I wrote my first feature. It may not have been very good, but it was you know, something." said French.

It only took a few weeks to write the screenplay for his now, film-in-production, titled: "Detached." French describes it as a classic suspense film.

"It's about a woman whose husband dies and she goes up to a small bed and breakfast to get some time away. And while she's there she discovers the innkeepers aren't who they say they are," said French.

His mom says he's been interested in film since he was in grade school.

"I think for any parent to see when your child is truly using the gift they're given and they're really truly being themselves, that's a beautiful thing," said Abby French.

She says her son has taken advantage of extracurricular film classes, workshops and seminars... most of them at Light House Studio in Charlottesville.

"He has an absolute gift. Because when you read what he writes, he doesn't sound like a 14-year-old. I would never be able to get that," said mentor, Lisa Mikitarian.

Even as a professional writer herself, Mikitarian is inspired by French.

"Probably the same thing that's exciting him is exciting the rest of us. His interpretation on film is like, "wow!," said Mikitarian.

While nothing comes easy, it's been a thrilling experience watching his hard work pay off.

"I think the most challenging part would be the planning of it all," said French. "Seeing what I wrote on the page come into a visual form is going to be really, really exciting."

French has been editing along the way and is hoping to have the film completed next month. He's planning to enter the finished product in the Virginia Horror Film Festival in August.

The cast and crew for this movie all live in Shenandoah County, Virginia.

Jessica Lacey - Alison Shell
Leisa Neil - Jeanne Russell
Roger Neil - Rich Church
Annabelle Thatcher - Sam Strong
Dr. Ridger - Lori Staley
Johnathan - Evan Benton

Director: Stephen French
Continuity Supervisor: Brent Funkhouser
General Supervisor: Caleb Townsend
Makeup Artist: Sarah Wine
Music: Carolina Williams, Ken Pierson
Lighting/Audio: Kate Phillips