By Tova Fruchtman: CNJ staff writer
Two 14 year-old Portales High School students started Wizard Productions when they were in third grade.
By sixth grade they had an editing program on their computer, and now the two and more than 10 of their friends have produced a 90-minute feature film.
Philip Harrell and Sam Pool’s film “Walking Dead” was shown at Fiery Film Festival, part of Saturday’s Cultural Arts Festival at the State Theater on Main Street.
This year the third annual Fiery Film Fest received 32 entries that were screened at the State Theater, according to Ced Rael, who started the festival.
“If it wasn’t for the film festival I wouldn’t exist,” Rael said.
Rael said he wanted to put together the film festival because Clovis is centrally located. He said he wanted to bring filmmakers to Clovis to display their films.
Though the festival had a bumpy start because of technical difficulties — Friday night’s films did not run — Rael said he stayed up until 4 a.m. fixing the problem and the movies ran smoothly on Saturday.
Rael said he was impressed with the Portales boys’ dedication and hard work, explaining that making a feature-length film takes a lot of hard work. They may have spent the least amount of money on their film, Rael said.
“I think they had a budget of like $50,” Rael said.
The film was written by Grant Gossett, co-written by Harrell and directed by “everyone,” according to the credits.
Grant’s father David Gossett attended Saturday’s showing of his sons’ film — Grant’s 12-year-old brother Derek was also in the film — and said his children spent most evenings and weekends making the movie.
“I love it,” he said. “I think they’re going to go far. This is a starting point.”
The zombie movie fits his sons’ tastes, the elder Gossett said.
“They own every zombie movie there is and they watch them all the time,” he said.
Though Pool said they were a little apprehensive about being compared with other movie producers they thought “might put (them) to shame,” he said that they were glad to have a captive audience.
“The main thing is that someone is going to see it,” Pool said.