Originally Published: April 19, 2005 5 a.m.
PRESCOTT VALLEY Hannah Kah Alvarez eventually wants to live in Europe and make foreign films, and after recently winning the Best Script and Best Film awards at the Peoria Film Festival this month, she is on the right track.
Alvarez, a senior at Bradshaw Mountain High School (BMHS), said she has studied film at school since her sophomore year and would like to continue her studies overseas after she graduates.
"My mother and I will move to London," she said. "We're going to see where London takes us."
She said she has a good feel for how American films come together and would like to learn how to produce foreign films.
"I think foreign films are really enchanting a lot of times," she said. "They film in a whole other way that really intrigues me. I'm educated in the American way of making films, and I want to combine that with the European way of filming."
Alvarez received the two awards at the Peoria Film Festival for a movie she made titled "Mr. Clear." She said she had to make a superhero movie, and she decided that her superhero, named Mr. Clear, would be invisible.
"I thought I would be making the film by myself, so I made the superhero invisible," she said, adding that she ended up making the film in Phoenix with help from her family.
She said she chose to make the film in the form of what she calls a "mockumentary," which she said is a make-believe documentary.
"I filmed it like a documentary," she added.
The film is a story about a scientist named Dr. Crystal, she said, who is trying to figure out why Mr. Clear is invisible.
She interviews his childhood friends, bullies and his parents to try and solve the mystery, but only discovers the reason he is able to fly, leaving the mystery of why he is invisible unsolved.
This creative idea won her the Best Script award, and the approach she took with filming the movie earned her the Best Picture award.
One thing Alvarez has learned in all of her film classes at BMHS, she said, is how to make movies interesting by using creative angles and approaches.
"I have learned how to run the camera, work the lights and use editing programs," she said. "I've also learned how to make movies more interesting. Make sure you don't have too much head room, and it's good to have people off to one side, not centered. You shouldn't have any plain shots. Mix it up."
Alvarez said she has enjoyed making home movies since she was in junior high, and "since I've always liked to make films, I thought it would be interesting to study it."
She is currently taking Media Productions in Beth Staub's class at BMHS, and said her teacher has really inspired her in her work.
"She lets you do whatever you want to do," she said. "She gives us a lot of freedom."
Alvarez said she is excited to graduate and head to London to pursue her dream to produce foreign films someday.
"I love the idea of filming in those places," she said. "There are really neat buildings and places to film."