Youth were the real stars in NCTV’s Foothill Films |

Youth were the real stars in NCTV’s Foothill Films

Chris Powers and Elias Press — Wisler of Guilty, best overall film.
Ed Hensley |

This Wednesday, NCTV will present a second screening of Foothill Films, its screenwriting-to-filmmaking event that sold out at Del Oro in early October. That night was filled with Hollywood-style glamor, red carpet interviews, excitement and guarded anticipation. After all, seven screenwriters along with cast, crew and production teams were going to see their work become reality on the big screen and in Blu-Ray.

The theater was packed for the debut of seven, homegrown 10-minute films. Two awards were given at the after party. One award was given to “Guilty” for best overall film, and the best screenplay was awarded to Jessica Burgess, a junior at Ghidotti High School.

Jessica wrote “Forever in My Heart” while in her sophomore year. The winning script wasn’t Jessica’s first writing accomplishment. In eighth grade, she won the Nevada County Schools’ Writing Tournament, and she placed third in the Sierra Writers’ Young Writers Contest in ninth grade. She just recently helped edit “Water Shock,” a futuristic novel about the water shortage in California written by her grandfather.

The rising star in “Guilty” (written by Chris Sharp) was Chris Powers, a 15-year-old sophomore at Nevada Union High. Chris was cinematographer and editor, two key roles in filmmaking. In addition to Guilty, Chris was also the cinematographer for “Forever in My Heart.”

The premiere was a night that will long be remembered by other young crew and actors including Falyn Lazarus and Nolan Fillmore, two Nevada Union High seniors who acted in Forever in My Heart. Alex Junge, Willow Karungi-Darrow, Kristen Burgess, Elias Press-Wisler, Daniel Lee Gibson, Reyn Smith, and Amber Busse are a few of the other young talent who participated in making a film during the summer.

A benefit for NCTV, Foothill Films was done entirely by volunteers. It was created with a desire and goal for NCTV to be more than a public cable television station that many don’t subscribe to or are unable to receive cable. I wanted to find a community-building event that would inspire and provide an opportunity to showcase the immense, diverse talent that abounds in Nevada County.

As everyone in this year’s film will attest, filmmaking, particularly a 10-minute film, is not an easy endeavor. It’s challenging, hard work, compromising, and frustrating. Yet it is a collaborative art with meaningful rewards, mentoring, life lessons, and lasting relationships that is the essence of a vibrant community.

In January, we’ll have a call for 2015’s screenplay entries. Screenwriting classes will also begin in January. Screenplay winners will be announced in mid-April followed by a cast and crew call. Films are made during the summer and submitted for the premiere in September.

In the meantime, Foothill Films 2014 can be seen at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, at the Don Baggett Theater. The films include The National Exchange by Bruce Bradley and Robert Stuckey, My Mother’s Teeth by Sharon Rose, Oberon’s Gold by Bruce Bradley, Only a Little Famous by Toni Rondini, Second Chance Nevada County by Donna Cobb, Forever in My Heart by Jessica Burgess, and Guilty by Chris Sharp.

Foothill Films is an opportunity to see what our youth can aspire to with the hopes of getting even more involved in a once-in-a-lifetime experience of art coming to life on the big screen. Tickets are available at BriarPatch and NCTV. For more information, go to or call 272-8862.

Cheryl Noble is general manager at NCTV.

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