Student team takes suspense film from classroom to the forest

Friends and classmates (from left) Jacob Meredith, Max VanderMeulen, Josh Allen, and Mason Francis take a break on the film studio couch

For four student filmmakers in Justin Harnden’s high school classroom, it was all about the plot twist, leaving viewers to decide if it is murder or an accident.

The five-minute film, by Mason Francis, Jacob Meredith, Josh Allen and Max VanderMeulen, is titled “The Dock.” It features a chase scene through a snowy woods, into a remote cabin, along a swamp and onto an icy dock. Eerily creepy music is accompanied by strange voices and even a few screams during the pursuit.

The video film class was given free range to create a film and to use the camera to highlight how to use focus and angle, said Josh.

“We chose to film at Howard Christensen Nature Center,” said Mason. “We wanted it to be suspenseful, and filming out in the woods gave us that feeling.”

The film-making experience was unique and gave them opportunity beyond taking videos for school news, said Jacob. Cedar Springs offers television video production classes, including one responsible for producing school news broadcasts.

“It was a great experience for all of us,” added Max. The film can be viewed on the Cedar Springs High School YouTube channel.

Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio

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