Student Film Wins First Place in L.A. Film Festival


Pagan Zepeda

Chris Beauchamp preps the camera to get ready for the filming of a self produced film.

These few words perfectly describe junior Chris Beauchamp, the enthusiastic, easy-going editor for the Entertainment section of The Sage. Beauchamp’s love for film is further proven by his involvement and leadership of the Film Critics Club. Every facet of his life is surrounded by movies and storytelling.

Not only does he live to watch movies, he also makes them entirely on his own from idea to full motion picture. And he’s pretty good at it too. All of his admiration and dedication eventually paid off when his newest movie “Hurt” was awarded the “Best Student Film” award for the month of December, at the Los Angeles Mindfield Film Festival.

Storytelling piqued Beauchamp’s interest at a very early age; starting at about age five, the young, blond kid would stare at his “Thomas the Tank Engine” set for hours, planning out his next movie. His mom still recalls walking in and seeing young Beauchamp on the floor with one of his eyes shut, as he visually captured the perfect angle with his imaginary lens. The Beauchamp family saw this as a gift.

The movie, titled “Hurt,” chronicles the story of a man disenfranchised with his life after hearing the news of the passing of his sweet grandmother.

“It pretty much started out as a follow-up to a film that I did previously, called ‘Believe.’ There was a character that had a goal. He wanted to run from Arizona to California; however, due to his circumstances, this was seemingly impossible. I originally only planned on doing that solo movie, but I think the idea sparked from Film Critics Club, we didn’t want this character, Daniel, that we created and care about so much, to be just a throwaway,” Beauchamp said.

His parents advised that he incorporate his grandmother into his movie writing in order to allow for more bonding time between the director and his family.

“There’s this grandma figure— which is actually my grandma— who is basically the motivational factor for Daniel to go from Arizona to California. The theme of the movie is that, if you push yourself hard enough… you can get anywhere. With the second film, we wanted to see the dynamic of Daniel dealing with something that comes out of nowhere, in which case being the passing of his grandmother.”

The topics that are addressed in the film are not as lighthearted as you may think for a first-time filmmaker movie. They are emotions that many students at Sage Creek resonate with, deeply and personally.

“In the film, he deals with a tragedy, which happens to be his grandmother passing away. I did [the movie] in that direction because I wanted to show people that depression is something that just happens out of the blue. It is not something you can always be prepared for.”

Students around the world can resonate with the harsh feelings of depression. Beauchamp wanted to show the world that he understands what they’re going through.

“I’ve dealt with depression. Sometimes I still do. But I think it’s a good piece for anyone that’s feeling a similar way that Daniel’s feeling,” Beauchamp said. “…in terms of acting it was hard because getting into the mindset of someone that is depressed is hard. The emotions I had to portray are very hard and very serious, it did affect me while I was filming it. We were out there for two weeks, and I had to keep that mindset on and off camera for that entire time, otherwise you’d lose the feeling.”

The Beauchamp family has been very supportive, helpful, and involved in the making of Beauchamp’s films. They have immersed themselves in every aspect of the process, from screenwriting, to editing, to acting; the whole thing was a family affair.

This is evident throughout the whole movie. Beauchamp utilized his aunt’s ownership of London Bridge Resort to film his movie. He had real staff workers, real owners, and, if you’ve seen the movie, real security guards  throwing him out of the establishment.

“My favorite part about making this movie, was probably interacting with my family. My favorite scenes are any of the shots of my uncle and I in the car. We just had fun with it, spending each second in-between takes, brainstorming and planning ideas for the rest of the film. I had a ball. I had an absolute ball.”

Dylan Goecke, a junior here at Sage Creek and a member of Beauchamp’s Film Critics Club, gave his opinion on Beauchamp as a director, and a person.

“He is a very good director, a bit stubborn, but he is a bit flexible in some of the areas that he’s not that good in, like camera positioning. As far as I know, he’s fairly smart-street smart and book smart,” Goecke said. “For a student film, I think the film was very good. It definitely deserved the award. I believe it was the message it was trying to give that hit a note with me personally, and I think it does and will with the other members of its audience.”

Jared Chappell, also a junior and club member, commented on Beauchamp’s superb directing ability, as well as the versatile screenwriters’ drive and passion for his work.

“He has this drive… this initiative…that basically brings all the projects to light, he  makes anything that we do possible. He has the initiative to start the club, to get equipment, to stay up late editing. He does it all.”

Chappell took a minute to note the award’s significance in scope of the school as a whole.

“I am very glad that we have a film that won any kind of competition. It doesn’t just make it an award winning club for us, it makes it an award-winning club for our school,” Chappell said.

The award is a huge milestone for the school’s film reputation. Still in its infancy, competing for an LA film festival was never apart of the club’s original plans.

“When we originally planned this piece, we had no intention of releasing it, especially not submitting it to a film festival. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t know if I can compete with that’, so I spoke to my mom and she said I should just see what happens if I put it out there for more people to see. I decided to give it a shot.”

Beauchamp felt insecure about releasing the film. He was apprehensive because of the movie’s heavy and dark undertones. Inspired and reassured by his mother, he submitted the film. He won.

Beauchamp wrote the screenplay, filmed, produced, directed, and acted in the film. He even designed the website for his film. He took pains to create the necessary tools for professionalism in his submission, something that he takes a lot of pride in.

“The best thing to get into filmmaking is just to do it by yourself. Once you know all the tools, write, edit, direct, then when it comes to working with a group, you already know how to do it- and then can promptly teach the people that you’re working with,” Beauchamp said.

Beauchamp hopes to be in the film industry when he is older. He now has many of the skills and profound knowledge of the craft, and he consistently inspires people with his sense of creativity and passion for what he loves.