The working trailer for a new SB1070 documentary is dramatic, complete with interviews of Sheriff Arpaio and other polarizing figures -- which isn't especially surprising. What is surprising is that the whole film was produced, directed, cut, and shot by six Arcadia High School students.
The project, currently named "The Border" but subject to change before its release, began as part of a Student Television Network film festival competition, before growing into 29 hours of footage, and a full-time job.
But the film isn't your standard documentary; it takes a narrative approach from the students' points of view as they cross the Mexican border, chat with SB1070 author, Sen. Russell Pearce, and, tentatively before the documentary's February release, meet with Gov. Jan Brewer.
"It looks like the story is going to be about their journey," says Paul Hoeprich, the film/news production teacher at Arcadia High School.
Having six students with different backgrounds and political persuasions taking this approach helped keep the documentary unbiased, Hoeprich and the students involved say.
"We keep each other in check," says Yihyun Jeong, one of the students.
The film is currently in the editing stages of production, with some members of the team spending an hour per day just watching footage before it can be edited.
By the end of December, the six students (Jake Lipson, Josh Kanter, Danny Miller, Yihyun Jeong, Myles Kramer, and James Harkins) hope to have most of the film's editing and reporting done, with the exception of the Brewer interview in February -- a relief after a long process.
When asked if there was a high cost involved in the project, Lipson responds: "Financially, no..."
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"Time-wise, yes," Miller quickly adds.
The Arcadia High School student SB1070 documentary will be released in February. In 2011, an 8-minute version will be released for a C-SPAN contest, a 30-minute version for the Student Television Network's film festival, and a full-length 90-minute film to be sold and potentially released to local theaters.
Check out the trailer for the upcoming documentary below.