Oak Bay High students Peter Goodacre, Nima Walker and Luis Gonzalez are challenging the convention that youth wait to launch their careers after a formal education. The three creatives have been in hot pursuit of their dreams since last year, when, at only 15 years old, they began scripting, filming, scoring and acting for their first film.
In August this year, their efforts paid off – and reaffirmed the fact that they were on the right track. Goodacre, Walker and Gonzalez – together called Harakiri Productions – premiered their film in Gonzalez’s home Aug. 14. Furniture was moved to the garage to make room for what the boys anticipated would be a small crowd; however, the screening of All The Clouds Could Fall demanded all the space it could get.
Moments before showtime at 7 p.m., approximately 30 people arrived at the Gonzalez’s home to watch. After those 30 left, another 30 showed. Already shocked by the turnout, Walker, Goodacre and Gonzalez found a third and final crowd waiting to see the feature film that night.
Goodacre said, “It was a really unprecedented success.”
The successful turnout was largely due to word of mouth. For the past year, the trio had been discussing the film and news of its premiere had sparked curiosity their Oak Bay High peers.
All The Clouds Could Fall follows the story of a group of teenagers navigating their lives after an acquaintance dies, exploring mortality and remembrance “without a heavy hand.”
Walker said, “I think everyone who was there responded to it really well. There were a couple of people crying.”
Gonzalez added, “I think if you connect with it, you can feel it.”
The film is considered a drama, though scattered with comedic moments.
Not ones to slow down when they have a break, the three plan to begin filming a mini-series containing seven 15-minute episodes on their high school winter break. At this stage, Gonzalez said, his group covers films and episodes from a young adult point of view, though in the future, he expects their horizons to expand.
”[All The Clouds Could Fall] is very much so a teenage movie. It’s written for teenagers because that’s who we know and that’s what we can relate to,” he said. “As we grow up, the [films] might move with us to reflect ourselves at different points in our lives.”
Walker pointed out that, as teenagers with low budgets, high-budget and high-production value projects cannot be feasibly executed yet. Their mini-series to be filmed this winter, for example, will use only one location.
Through films such as All The Clouds Could Fall, the three also hope to inspire other creative students to commit to their own ideas. They encourage other youth to join in on films with Harakiri Productions.
“Because we’re involved in music and art, we meet a lot of people who get excited about their ideas but never commit to them,” Gonzalez said, citing these people as the ones Harakiri Productions seeks for its future projects.
Walker noted, “There’s a lot of exciting youth culture in Victoria that I think isn’t getting the love it deserves … [Youth] have to start believing in themselves a bit more.”
Goodacre uses himself as an example. At the start of filming last summer, he had doubts that he and the group would see the project to fruition. The film reminded him of a lot of other ideas he’d had, which were unfortunately never completed. “The hardest part is to start,” he said. “Following through becomes easier because you become more and more committed to finishing this project.”
Determined to keep with Harakiri Productions and with their future in film, the three plan to pursue separate film-related educations and converge again after post-secondary.
Gonzalez said, “We’re aware that having each other is [our] main piece of luck. Other people don’t have the opportunity to have people [to create with].”