Sisters produce, direct full-length family film
Have you ever dreamed of making a movie? Aerin White, 16, and her sister Joelle, 13, of Cliffside, not only dreamed it, they recently directed a 67-person cast to make the full-feature film, "After the Knight."
Aerin and Joelle, daughters of Gary and Shannon White, became interested in producing a film after watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. When Aerin chose cinematography as an elective for her homeschool curriculum, she had a dream and trusted God with the overall big picture. She volunteered to write a script.
Brainstorming for ideas, Gary came up with a thought about kids on a treasure hunt. Aerin incorporated the suggestion into a story about a family’s farm facing foreclosure and a greedy neighbor’s desire to convert it into a subdivision.
The main character, Kirk Decker, 13, and his friends stumble onto a mysterious treasure hunt. They hope to discover the treasure in time to save the farm. The neighbor and his grandson are intent to stop them. A series of surprising events dramatically change everything.
"After the Knight" has a two-part meaning. The knight chess piece is a symbol used in the treasure hunt, so the kids are going after the knight and the family experiences a dark time with fears of losing their home.
When the script was finished, Aerin began emailing her friends and family, requesting prayer warriors and volunteers.
Film production took approximately four months in 2011 and filming was in numerous locations including Calvary Baptist Church, Fulton Technology, Shelby Airport, and Rutherford and Cleveland county homes and property. Film editing took more than a year and was completed in 2012.
The $1,000 estimated film budget more than tripled as the crew faced several obstacles and patience was tested, Aerin said.
At one point, they lost hours of work due to a technical glitch, but Aerin regularly kept her prayer partners posted about the film.
She said the most difficult obstacle was, “Our own inexperience made this project difficult. At times, we had trouble working around everyone’s schedules and keeping ourselves and everyone else motivated.” Joelle added, “Being hot and tired, and still having to act energetic for the filming. After a long, tiring day, we would get in bed late and have to wake up early. We also had to deal with stinging yellow jackets.”
The girls learned to write a script, use film equipment and how to work with people in stressful situations.
Equipment included a Dell laptop, Microsoft Word, iMac computer, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, and a Canon HV 30 video camera.
Joelle was her sister’s assistant which involved learning organization, communication, as well as interacting with different personalities. “I’ve learned how to operate a camera and boom microphone. I’ve learned editing and voice recording programs," Joelle said.
In one scene she learned to film algebraic chess notations. "Believe me, making a whole chess game in algebraic chess notations is not easy. I’ve had to practice patience," Joelle said.
Making "After the Knight" was a family affair. All seven of Gary and Shannon White’s children took part in the filmmaking. They acted, helped make props and sets, made meals for the cast and assisted with childcare for cast members.
The parents were also involved, transporting the children and also acting in the film. Grandparents helped with other chores.
The final hurdle was to obtain an original musical score. Musicians Samuel Jenkins and Jacob Searcy, both of Rutherfordton, wrote the score.
Nearly 100 people attended the private debut and gave rave reviews, encouraging the Whites to proceed with the film project.
Aerin is considering a future in filmmaking. When asked what she wants people to take away from the film, she answered, “I want people to realize God is ultimately in control."
Visit the website: www.aftertheknight.com, which includes the movie trailer, background information. DVDs can be made available to the public.
Click HERE to watch the Trailer
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