Senior narrative technology major Matthew Hill wrote, co-directed and submitted a short film titled “Hello, My Name is Charlie” into a film festival set to premiere Thursday. All the proceeds from this film project will go toward the Upland High School Theater Department. The movie is set to premiere at Claremont’s Laemmle Theater.
A single line of dialogue turned into an idea, then turned into a feature film became one of the biggest and most rewarding projects Matthew Hill, senior narrative technology major, has ever accomplished.
“Hello, my name is Charlie and welcome to the urban Vietnam that is high school.” That clever, ingenious line started the idea to begin one of the most incredible journeys of Hill’s career.
The final title of the hour and a half feature film was decided on by Hill and co-producer Landon Johnson, friend and film student at the University of Southern California.
Charlie is a teenager in high school who knows everything about everyone. People come to him for advice, without thinking about the repercussions to that person.
“He’s brutally honest,” Hill said. “At one point a girl asks him what she needs to do to be prom queen. He goes step by step, almost Mafia style, about who she needs to get rid of and how to go about doing that.”
Charlie eventually realizes that he can’t be on the fence the whole time and he has to make moral decisions about what’s good for each person.
He realizes he can’t be neutral all the time and that he has to take a side.
“We had done a few shorter works, but we wanted to top them all and do a feature film,” Hill said. “This film really had a lot of blessings.”
With all student performers, they needed fundraising to help fund the production costs of a feature film.
“In the end, we ended up raising about $30,000,” Hill said. “The high school paid the insurance, since we did most of our filming there, and the city didn’t charge us for permits.”
Filming consisted of four weeks of shooting eight hour days during June and July of 2007. With the help of John Schneider, UCLA grad student, as the composer and cinematographer Matthew Irwin, son of professional cinematographer Mark Irwin, they were picture locked by January.
“With the writers’ strike going on, I guess Technicolor wasn’t doing much because they gave us a free color correction. They gave us a call and said ‘We’ll give you two days,’”Hill said.
The “blessings,” as Hill describes them, just kept coming. With Irwin as the cinematographer, he was able to bring Hi-Def Panasonic equipment to the set for free.
“Our production costs were thousands of dollars cheaper than what they should have been, but because we had so much help, we were able to make a great film,” Hill said.
Hill spent three days at Upland High School recruiting students from the theatre and film departments, with more than enough ?volunteers.
Recruiting students from ULV was a little more difficult.
“I posted flyers, as I was advised to, but we only got about three people as extras, whom I already knew and had told about,” Hill said.
“We did have a few students and student photographers come out and watch. We also had some student journalists and the Daily Bulletin covering stories on our project.”
Trailers were made and posted on YouTube for fans to view and comment.
“Hello, My Name Is Charlie” is scheduled to premiere on May 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Laemmle Claremont 5, with another showing scheduled to be on Thursday May 29.
“When you buy a ticket for the premiere, it says ‘A formal affair, please dress accordingly,’” Hill said.
Each showing had 250 seats available.
“The premiere already sold 150 seats,” Hill said.
After each showing, DVDs will be available for sale, as well as posters, designed by Hill and signed by the cast.
In addition to creating the film, Hill has been the editorial cartoonist on the Campus Times for two years.
He has also had roles in several ULV plays.
For further details or any questions about the film, contact Hill directly through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell phone at 909-367-1185.
Monica Esparza can be reached at email@example.com.