COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Things got a little noisy in downtown Colorado Springs Thursday night as dozens of parents and teachers of students from the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning held a drive by honk and wave red carpet event to celebrate the release of a new student produced movie No One.
Ordinarily the 7th and 8th graders would be spending the evening watching their film inside Kimball's Peak theater. However, theaters across America closed today to prevent spreading COVID-19. That didn't dampen the students excitement for the event.
"You know, me and my friends have just been buzzing all day about it," said Illiana Merrell, the film's director. "We've just all been generally excited for each other."
Editor Jayden Bela knew the movie title would be displayed on the marquee, but he enjoyed seeing it in person.
"I was sort of used to it because I've been to all of the premiers before this for GeekThink Films, but it's still nice to see our movie up there," he said.
Seven year-old Danny Henen plays a tech-savvy hologram in No One. He's still trying to figure out how his role fit in the bigger story.
"I'm still going to actually just trying figure out what the whole thing is because I don't even know supposedly what I did," Henen said.
The plot of No Onecenters around a student living in a dystopian future were being different or special has been eradicated when he suddenly discovers an underground network of other gifted children.
"It's really important to consider they way the world would look if we didn't have people who were gifted, people who saw life vibrantly, and also if we don't have a balance calm and vibrancy at the same time," explained actor Elizabeth Myers.
The GeekThink Films are the brain child of Language Arts teacher Anthony Szpak. For the past five years, the students at Academy ACL have produced movies from scratch as a year-long project. When Colorado schools all closed in mid-March, simply finishing the project became a major challenge.
"Our main editor, Jayden, has been working super hard to get this done and we all appreciate that," said cinematographer Coleson Kovacs. "We all talked about it, and there's been some very long phone calls about music and just putting it all together."
Bela downplayed his role in getting the film across the finish line.
"It was hard, but I managed to pull it off," he said.
Despite the struggles, Szpak hopes the experience will be one that stays with his students for a lifetime.
"If we can somehow, some way, make sure that we're training this future generation so that they are prepared to adapt to a new situation, to handle adversity, to communicate with each other, to problem solve, then we're setting them up for success," he said.
Szpak anticipates that No One will be publicly available for rental through Video On Demand services in a couple of weeks.
Complete coronavirus coverage
The Rebound Colorado: Relieve. Respond. Revive.
Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.