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The Bear Facts

Theater Student Excels in Filmmaking

%22The+Neighborhood+Watch%22+was+written+and+produced+by+senior+Jake+Portie.+

"The Neighborhood Watch" was written and produced by senior Jake Portie.

Jake Portie

Jake Portie

"The Neighborhood Watch" was written and produced by senior Jake Portie.

Sydney Pierce, Editor

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While many students are just simply focusing on passing their classes and getting through high school, one senior has already created two films that have qualified for state.

Film enthusiast Jake Portie has been interested in film-making most of his life. In middle school, Portie was also involved in U.I.L. Public Speaking, so he has always enjoyed speaking in front of an audience. When he got into high school, Portie said he already knew choosing theater as his elective was the way to go.

“When I was about ten years old, my grandmother got me a video camera for Christmas,” Portie said. “I began filming little skits with my cousins and have been obsessed with film-making ever since.”

Portie has created two state-bound films  – “Ruthless” in 2015 and “The Neighborhood Watch” in 2016.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Portie said. “To be a state finalist two years in a row makes me feel so proud of my team and everyone involved in my films.”

This year’s film, “The Neighborhood Watch (T.N.W.),” took approximately four full days of filming. It was written over the course of a couple of months and was edited within a few weeks. Junior Mariah Blair plays the lead role in the seven-minute short film portraying “Allison Ross.”

“T.N.W. is a psychological-thriller about a woman named Allison who encourages her neighbors to install security cameras in their homes in order to catch a killer,” Portie said.

This production is just a single short film, unlike Portie’s web series, “Ruthless,” which featured many different parts.

“T.N.W. was filmed in December 2015 at several locations including my house, my grandmother’s house, and my neighbor’s house,” Portie said.

After writing this short film, Portie began watching the news and noticed a story being reported about a woman named Allison who is the leader of a neighborhood watch system in Beaumont. He contacted her on Facebook and was in awe of the amount of similarities between her life and the life of the character he had created in his story. He then made some slight adjustments to his script in order to make it even more realistic.

After Portie graduates in May, he plans to continue his focus in film-making while attending Sam Houston State University, where he has already been accepted. He plans to study mass communication with an emphasis in film to better understand the business and distribution side of the movie industry.

“Something unique about my films is that they represent true events in a realistic way,” he said. “I think the best kind of story-telling is a kind that reflects on real life and real people but is twisted in a way that has never been done before.”

“The Neighborhood Watch” will be screened at 7 p.m. on March 24 at the Paramount Theater in Austin.

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Theater Student Excels in Filmmaking