Thirteen-year-old Malcolm Terry is dealing with the average problems that come with being an eighth-grader: homework, tests, puberty and making your handwriting legible. But for Terry, there's also casting actors, storyboarding, editing his screenplay and getting access to shoot in a jail as he works on a superhero movie with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Allan Luebke.
Terry was assigned to complete a project by the end of his eighth-grade year that related to a personal passion. Terry, who had completed 23 short films with his friends, decided he wanted to write, direct and produce his own movie.
Luebke is a local filmmaker who teaches film classes. His 2014 Showtime documentary Glena received an Emmy. He and Terry first met three years ago, when Terry's mother asked Luebke if he could tutor him privately, as Terry didn't do well in group settings. So when it came time to start making the film, Terry knew exactly who could mentor him.
They started working on the film, a superhero movie called Dusk, in September and will begin shooting this weekend at the Wapato Jail in North Portland.
"Malcolm is a huge superhero movie fan; he has an encyclopedic knowledge of superhero movies," Luebke says. "He was tired of seeing these movies where the heroes were unequivocally good guys. He wrote a script about a hero who is basically on the very last straw of losing all sense of altruism and morality and the difference between right and wrong."
The Portland film community has backed up Malcolm. The film features Tim Blough, a Screen Actors Guild member who's been on both Grimm and Leverage, and Portland's two largest post-production houses, Mission Control and Digital One, have each donated an entire day to do post-production work on the film.
"I teach a lot of kids filmmaking, and most kids have an interest in filmmaking, and they want to try it out and think it's cool, but Malcolm is a prodigy," Luebke says.
The film will be completed in June—it has to be, because it's homework. Luebke says he and Malcolm will submit it to film festivals later.
"It's a really good short film, whether it was made by a student or not," he says.
Check out the trailer here.