‘Metamorphosis: Junior Year’ to premiere in film festival

    The student-produced film, “Metamorphosis: Junior Year,” is set to premiere at 10:45 a.m. on March 4 at the Century 20 theater in Redwood City.

    The film was produced in part by Palo Alto High School students along with actor and artist James Franco as a mentor. Others who were involved include the director of photography of “127 Hours” and the producer of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” according to co-director senior Alec Cohen-Schisler. 

    Based on Betsy Franco’s book, “Metamorphosis: Junior Year” is about interconnected high schoolers and their struggles through their junior year. The film allows high school students to relate and sends a strong message about how they can get through these difficult four years and how they can help others, according to Cohen-Schisler.  

    “Think about it like a ‘Love Actually’ meets Palo Alto,” Cohen-Schisler said. “The message is to take care of one another and always check in to make sure your friends and peers are okay during this stressful period.”

    Students began meeting every month in November 2015 to learn about film and create one of their own. Photo by Dhara Yu.

    Franco helps students review film techniques and create a film based on their own ideas.  Students began meeting every month in November 2015. Photo: Dhara Yu.

    The production of the film began in November 2015 through monthly film workshops. For the first three months, students met and worked on editing and adapting the script.  The actual filming began in February and lasted through March, according to Cohen-Schisler.

    “We all invested dozens of hours as well as our homes and other locations,” Cohen-Schisler said.

    Students began editing the footage in March and worked on animation throughout the whole summer. Since August, the group has been in post-production, according to Cohen-Schisler.  

    “Some students dedicated hundreds of hours to this project and it’s truly the first of its kind,” Cohen-Schisler said.

    The Francos helped lead the production of the film and the monthly workshops. According to Cohen-Schisler, Betsy Franco helped add in many of her original visions to the film but the students also added in fresh ideas of their own.  

    “James has already seen a close to final version but we’re hoping he comes in March,” Cohen-Schisler said. 

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