Making movies has a special effect on Eastchester’s Jessica Costa
At 16, Jessica Costa already knows that movies will play a role in her future.
She’s in her third year studying film at Eastchester High School and is starting work on her most personal movie yet: a fictionalized account of the real-life suicide of her father.
She has already figured out the storyboard outline for the film, which is as-yet untitled, and will spend most of this year writing, shooting and editing.
Costa’s friends — many of whom are members of John Gwardyak’s Players Club, a band of actors — know that they could get a call any time, telling them they’re about to be “kidnapped,” that their talents are needed on screen.
Her best friend will play Costa in this year’s film, and other friends will play themselves. The moviemaker is still trying to cast the roles of her parents — “I think it might be too hard for my mom,” she says — and she’ll ask one of her father’s best friends if he’d be comfortable playing the father.
Costa says she thinks she’s ready to tell this most personal story.
“It’s that final chapter of my high-school life,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to do a message about it. And I’ve always incorporated the themes from it. But now it’s that big final step to finally show it. I’m still trying to add that meaning — that life goes on — into it. I’m still piecing it together.”
Asked if this might a project that is too close to home, Costa stops and thinks.
“It’s my life,” she says eventually. “I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve lived with it. If someone grew up without parents, they get used to it. I’ve grown used to my life like this. My mom said ‘some people write about it, some people talk about it, this is your outlet.’”
Jessica Costa, in the Eastchester High School film studio, with a human-sized cardboard cutout of the Oscar statuette. She hopes one day to work in special effects in the movies. Photo by Seth Harrison/The Journal News
Watch “Ready,” the film that won Costa best-story honors at Eastchester’s 2012 Student Film Festival:
Watch “The 47th Person,” directed by Jessica Costa:
Watch “Much of Madness,” a computer-animated short based on the Kelly Creagh novel “Nevermore” and directed by Jessica Costa:
If you’re intrigued by filmmaking, you might want to check this out: Eastchester High School film teacher Michael Goldstein will be screening “The Best of the Fest,” highlights from a decade of Eastchester Student Film Festivals, at 7 p.m., Oct. 26 at Eastchester High School, 2 Stewart Place, Eastchester. Free. Note: Those who arrive dressed as a film or TV character will be eligible for prizes.
Each festival begins with a Billy Crystal-style intro and you can help Goldstein choose which one to open “Best of the Fest” with, by following this link.