Whitney High School students create high-quality thriller film
When “The Archetypes” made its big-screen debut last month at Whitney High School, it was standing-room only in the theater, with a crowd of students lined up outside hoping for a second screening.
The response was a surprise to Whitney senior Daniel Schetter, who wrote and directed the film that was produced with fellow student Eric Franklin.
“The Archetypes” is a 20-minute film created and starring Whitney students, with the exception of Schetter’s dad, George, whose role in the film is in addition to his role in producing the film – he drove the cast and crew to the Truckee area, where they filmed the outdoor scenes.
“A lot of kids at school say, ‘Oh, I wish I was born with all this information – I wish I was born just knowing everything,’” Schetter explained. “This movie is kind of about what would happen if you could get all the information you ever wanted in just a split second.”
It’s also about what happens if that power falls into the wrong hands, and the action sequences of “The Archetypes” had the audience gasping during the debut. Video broadcast teacher Brad Barnholdt said he thinks the student-created film is of a high-enough quality that it stands a chance of winning in some of the film festivals Schetter plans on entering.
“He directed it, he acts in it, he created all the music that you heard,” Barnholdt said, adding that Schetter has been his student for four years.
Schetter said that it took about a month to edit the film, a process he described as being “quarantined” in his room.
“The second I got home until 12 a.m., I was just editing,” he said.
Whitney High senior Scott Padian said he enjoyed being directed by Schetter, despite the fact that part of being an actor in the film included spending time in the cold outdoors without a jacket.
“He’s great to work with,” Padian said. “He makes sure he gives you what he wants, but he also gives you the freedom to do what you want.”
He may be young, but the 18-year-old filmmaker has been learning about movies since he started making them 10 years ago.
“I used to gather neighborhood kids and we used to do all sorts of short films when I was little,” Schetter said.
Once he got to Whitney, “The broadcast program pushed me and gave me the real equipment and things that I needed to make bigger productions.”
Projects have included several commercials, and last year one of Schetter’s films won a national sound design award. Schetter, who lives in Lincoln, plans to study film and media production when he goes to college next year.
“I just can’t believe that a high school boy could do this,” said Schetter’s proud mother, Wendy, who attended the premiere with Schetter’s older sister, Sara. “Even if he was 35 years old I would think it was phenomenal.”
Barnholdt said it gives him goose bumps to see the final product of the students’ efforts, especially since it was just a short time ago that “The Archetypes” was nothing more than an idea.
“We sat down two months ago and read the script, and talked about kind of what it would look like and what his vision was, and his idea,” Barnholdt remembered. “To watch it not only on this big screen, but just on my computer at home, was amazing. It was unbelievable.”