The kids at Progress Village Middle Magnet School for the Arts in Tampa have spent the past two years scripting, scoring and producing a feature film called Unexcused Absence. And unlike so many of these student films, you can even see it. The movie will premiere at Muvico Centro Ybor on May 3 by invitation only, and for general viewing at 7 p.m. May 9, and 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. May 10.
Band director Steve Pfaffman describes the story as "Survivor meets Home Alone x 800." It's the tale of a kid who gets upset because he's kicked out of a school film project. With the help of a student genius, he gets back at the teachers by sending a subliminal message that sends them all as far away from the school as possible. Then the students take over.
Ordinarily, a middle school might not take on such a huge project. But Pfaffman explained that kids and parents were complaining that so many people couldn't get parts in the school's musical productions that they were looking at doing two each year - a major undertaking few wanted to embark upon. He recommended making a movie that everyone could participate in.
"Everybody had some part in the production of the film," Pfaffman said.
To view a trailer, click here. (Be patient, as it takes a few minutes to load.) Tickets can be purchased in advance at the school, 8113 Zinnia Drive, Tampa. If you really enjoy the show, the school has the soundtrack available for $10, and it will be selling DVDs for $15.
(Movie poster courtesy of Progress Village Middle)