Well it took me 2 years to get around to it but I FINALLY put Secret Places: A School Divided up on the internet for all to see!
In my senior year of high school at the Perpich Center for Arts education I applied for and was awarded a $100 grant to create a horror movie set at the Arts High School.
Secret Places: A School Divided began as a criticism of the fact that Perpich is sub-divided into 6 "art areas" or majors. Students focus on one of these areas of artistic discipline, to the implicit exclusion of others. I was majoring in the visual arts, and even though I loved video, it was not part of the curriculum, and my jonesing for the film medium compelled me to make a meta-film symbolizing that very feeling.
While A School Divided was envisioned as a criticism, it is actually very, very optimistic, exuberant and proud. This is because the process of making this film —an inter-disciplinary collaboration between friends from all disciplines and all "art areas"— demonstrated that Perpich's art areas truly are not hard barriers, and that experimenting with multiple mediums is fun for everyone. The film, by nature of its very existence, disproves its own thesis and fulfills its own moral.
I also used the film as an opportunity to document the parts of the Arts High School that I loved the most, and to spew forth inside jokes, movie references and puns. It is ultimately a love letter to Perpich, where every little piece of the AHS zeitgeist of 2009 could find a place —often at the expense of plot and continuity.
It is at times raucously funny, genuinely spooky, shocking, disarmingly witty and painfully slow, sometimes it's so bad it's good, other times its so good it's bad. The pacing stinks and I didn't know half of what I know today about filmmaking. But it's always genuine.
Thanks for existing, PCAE, you changed my life for the better :)