In March of 2020, when the pandemic hit in full force, the world literally shut down. Here at County Prep, as we hastily pulled our belongings together preparing to leave, I remember a student remarking that we would be back in two weeks. Little did we know at the time how our lives would drastically change - and how long it would take to return to a normal social existence. As a result, teens felt as though their lives stopped, went into suspended animation, just waiting to come back to the reality of daily activities. There was the isolation that, for many teens, led to sadness, depression, and a sense of loss.
During the last school year that began in the fall of 2020, the students in my Playwriting and Screenwriting class began, through hybrid and virtual means, to write scripts. This in itself was a feat because writing is a challenge under the best of circumstances. Now, there was no live interaction among the students as they developed their stories. Still, they pursued and accomplished some great work. Among them, one script emerged that became an important testimonial to the times, a commentary about teens and what they were going through at home, at school, and in counseling. This short film, “No Prom to Love?” by Trajan Bernardo was cast and we began rehearsing and shooting it last April. It is the story of two high school students and how one tries to connect with the other through physical and emotional barriers. We all wear a mask of our own making, as a face to the world. Now, add the reality of trying to communicate through the physicality of an actual mask with the possibility of a prom date looming before you.
There was so little time to shoot and edit the project that we feel it is still in its draft stages. What we are presenting here is a short excerpt of the film. It portrays the main characters as they struggle with getting to know each other and themselves through scenes at home, at school, and with a counselor. There are even some out-takes, as humor does also play a role.
The actors came through with flying colors, aided by a hardworking camera crew, under the direction of Trajan Bernardo. As the producer of the fledgling project, I couldn’t have imagined how rewarding it would be to create this 29-minute film. We also could not have done it without a wonderful collaboration - my department - English, along with Raluca Shields - Performing Arts/Theatre, Nicole Martinez - Audio-Visual, Wilkis Figuereo - Music/Audio Technology, and Justin Josiah - Cafeteria Manager. The project was also facilitated under the guiding leadership of Barbara Mendolla and Coach Mattei. Thanks so much to all of you.
We are now on the road to recovery, back live at County Prep. Hopefully, this film will only be the beginning of future collective projects, under better working and somewhat restored world conditions.
|Sinjin-Kai Bernardo||Assistant Director/Lead Editor|
|Kristyne Singer||Executive Producer|
|Ivellisses Segovia||Sara Yuuki|
|Reanna Cruz||Janet Yuuki/Unseen Therapist|
|Jack Malaby||Hector Pine|
|John-Trajan Bernardo||James Pine|
|Alberto Sosa||Barely Seen Student/Extra|
“Saved Up” by Envy