LPHS filmmakers premiere original work March 26

By Barbara Rowley EBS Contributor

An original film conceived and created by Lone Peak High School students and their teachers called “The Exchange Project” will premiere March 26 at Big Sky’s Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, during an evening of cultural dialogue that culminates with a performance by the Jitro Czech Girls Choir.

The film was conceived following an inspirational conversation with iconic filmmaker Warren Miller. It features local students and their families explaining their life in Big Sky and inviting other students around the world to make their own expository films in response.

LPHS juniors Dasha Bough and Ellie Quackenbush took the lead on the two-year-long project, which was created with the assistance of teacher Patty Hamblin who has two filmmaker brothers. WMPAC Artistic Director John Zirkle’s directorial acumen and musical composition skills were also invaluable to the young filmmakers.

An avid art student, Bough took the lead on the cinematography and also translated the entire film into Russian. Quackenbush, a former film student at Interlochen Arts Camp in Switzerland who hopes to study filmmaking in college, managed the editing process. The girls have also been designing a web page to encourage responses to their film and expect to show a film they’ve received in response from Russia following the premiere, if Bough can make a translation from Russian to English quickly enough.

The film features interviews with local Big Sky families and Bough says the process not only taught her about the craft of film, but also about the depth of her community.

“I came to understand my community on a more intimate level,” Bough said. “It allowed to me to rediscover and pay tribute to this place I’ve called my home for 11 years, and this is what we hope others will gain from the experience as well.”

Quackenbush said she especially valued the skills she learned – including how to shoot video using a drone, and how to conduct interviews in the most flattering and interesting ways – as well as the unique benefits of living in such a connected community.

“It’s amazing to be able to live in a place where so many people can teach us and connect us to great sources and professionals,” Quackenbush said. “I think we both feel really lucky.”

“The Exchange Project” screens at 6:45 p.m., following an authentic Czech meal by private chef Lizzie Payton at 6 p.m. The event culminates with Jitro’s performance at 7:30 p.m.