By Katie Parris, PWHS Class of 2023

Plymouth Whitemarsh High’s new film production club is producing its very own film right here at PW. The film is titled “Ace Chemistry” and centers around a group of students as they conspire to steal an answer key in order to pass their chemistry exam.

Students at table in cafeteria surrounded by working film crew

Students film a scene in the cafeteria after school. 

The club was initially formed in September of 2022 by tenth grader Koseli Thakali. Koseli then brought on a band of her friends to get this whole production on a roll. The crew began pre-production in September which involved coming up with a cool movie idea and the creative process behind it. As sophomore Daine Knittel put it, “It kind of came as a surprise. There were less people at first, but then as more people got involved, there were people to supervise and more things to do. And I think as we have progressed and grew we have gotten more support from fellow students and teachers as well.”

Likewise, Ellen Fang, one of the film’s main writers, expressed that being a writer is what initially drew her in, stating, “In the very beginning I was just here to be there; since it's my friend’s club, I just had to be there. But then as I got more involved with the script, the whole writing process just pulled me in.”

Close up of boy looking at scene through viewfinder

The students have access to cameras, microphones, a clapperboard, and other filming equipment through the school's television channel, Colonial Instructional Television or CITV.

Once the crew established what plot and screenplay, filming began after winter break. Media production class teacher, Mr. Duncan, is the club ‘s sponsor and has been a helpful hand along the way as the students ventured into the actual production stage. 

Melina Day, the club’s vice president and acting production coordinator credited the teacher by stating, “Mr. Duncan has helped us a lot with using the cameras and all the crew. And then also  he has been coming to the meetings to chaperone or to our filming session, not only to actually give us an actual space to do this but also all around he has supported us, which we really appreciate.”

This production was not only a way for the kids to build up their resumes but also served as a creative outlet for students to explore their interests. 

Daine, the main set eyes behind the camera stated, “Cinematography has just always been an interest of mine. I love movies and I love the art of photography, so I’ve just always found it interesting how directors and cinematographers work together to decide lighting and set up shots in order to create both artistic depictions of life but also whole other realities.” 

Two students with camera

Daine Knittel and Koseli Thakali working together to get a shot.

In addition, Melina voiced a similar sentiment; “I think the one nice part about here is that some people who thought they would only be interested in writing are now exploring being in the movie and trying on new things that they weren't so interested in before. It's nice that people are getting out of their comfort zone and trying new things.”

Furthermore, Ellen, also the club’s secretary affirms, “this whole project has been very fulfilling. It's a fun movie, with a fun script, fun filming crew, and it’s fun to just have a part in this production.”

All in all, as the club enters post-production editing, we can expect to hear of a premier some time soon as we approach the end of the 22-23 school year.

wide shot of students filming in the cafeteria

Getting a different view of the scene in the cafeteria