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The Bear Facts

Student Filmmaker Thrills All

Portie and Blair at the UIL Young Filmmakers Contest

Lillie East, Photo Editor

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If you were to ask Jake Portie what one of his favorite things to do is, he’ll tell you directing. If you inquire deeper, you’ll find that not only is it one of his greatest passions to be a famous director, but that he has already started on this path.

His short film series, “Ruthless,” created almost a year ago, has gained a following on YouTube, and has racked up 1,000 views on certain videos. The series was created a little over a year ago, with the inspiration of real-life issues.

“So many teenagers today suffer from anxiety and depression,” Portie said. “And many also commit suicide because of this. However, the importance of fixing this problem is avoided and overlooked.  As a storyteller I took it upon myself to shed light on this dark aspect of life that needs more attention.”

When asked why Portie wanted to start this particular film, he said he has always loved twisted crime dramas on television and wanted to make a series of his own. He also said that the main story is actually based on real events and each episode was twisted to have an essence of a different real life killer. The first episode is based on a real teenager named Nikki Reynolds.

Portie said that it took eight hours of filming to create the 5-minute pilot. In choosing the characters that would play in the first episode and following, Portie looked to his close friends.

“My favorite part of this project was getting to work with my best friends who are also phenomenal actors,” Portie said. “If I wasn’t working with people I enjoyed so much I think I would go crazy like the characters in my films! They make it such a fun experience and the payoff of entertaining people makes it all worth the hard work.”

Although the series has been successful, it will soon be coming to an end because so many of the people involved have moved away or gone to college.

“But fans of my work will be happy to know that two new short films are coming very soon,” Portie said. “One of which is titled “The Neighborhood Watch” and, like “Ruthless,” will star Mariah Blair!”

Blair, a junior, is also one of Portie’s close friends, and according to him, she was the easiest to cast because of her talents as an actress. In the film, Blair portrays Jane Donally, who is known for her fearlessness. She is not afraid of anything or anyone, and that’s a trait Portie said he admires.

“While my life isn’t quite as interesting as Jane’s, my experiences definitely play a role in how characters interact with each other and what they say,” Portie said. “The whole series revolves around Jane and her internal conflict between doing what’s right and wrong. While she can easily be perceived as a villain in the story, she is actually intended to serve as an anti-hero who desperately wants to be a good person but struggles to do so. And senior Sheridan Rogers, who starred in “The Session,” was perfect to play Bethany alongside Mariah.”

Portie admits that he loves the way the series turned out in the end, and he has the awards to prove it. “Ruthless” came in fourth place at the UIL Young Filmmakers Festival and the pilot was screened at a movie theater in Austin. Portie said as a team, he and his cast members have worked hard to put together a great story for viewers and fans.

“While of course, the series is meant to entertain, it also comes with an important message that needs to be told,” he said. “Depression and anxiety is very misunderstood and I hope that if “Ruthless” teaches anyone anything, it’s that you never know what is going on in someone’s life or in their head. If you spread kindness and support to those around you, you could help prevent something  truly terrible from happening.”

 

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