Everyone has their own experience about their first day at Pierce College, and for filmmakers Danielle Afori and Ray Lema, their film aims to educate others to make their first day less of a hassle.
“The film is pretty much a depiction of students coming to school for the first time,” said Lema, who’s directing the film.
Their film, untitled and still in pre-production, aims to be educational but with a comedic bent. The premise involves a group of students from the 1950s navigating the complicated modern community college system, Lema said.
The film, although compiled from their shared experiences, takes a page primarily out of producer and first year student Afori’s story. Afori lived in Israel before coming to Pierce college, and she came to this school at the recommendation of people she knew who lived in the area.
“On August 27 I just parked my car in here, and I had no idea what was going on,” she said.
Her excitement dimmed after dealing with the frustration of parking, crashing classes, and realizing that despite being called a two-year school, she’d be staying a lot longer, she said.
Rather than let the frustration get to her though, her experiences inspired her to work on a new film. After meeting fellow filmmaker Lema in an art class, she shared her idea with him, and he jumped on board.
“Ever since we’ve just been developing it and thinking about it,” Lema said.
Lema, who’s been attending Pierce College for two years, feels their different perspectives add up to make the film what it is.
“She has all the questions, I have some questions. Then we both come together to answer those questions,” Lema said.
Afori feels that it could be easier for new or incoming students to see a ten or fifteen minute film instead of seeking answers on their own. Despite being geared to newer students though, Lema stressed that students who have been around longer could learn answers to questions they hadn’t considered.
“I’m pretty sure even the people that know some things, they won’t know everything,” Lema said.
Afori, herself, has found making the film to be an educational experience. In one instance, her questions over financial aid were answered after Lema included a scene about it in the script.
“We’re learning in the process of making it,” Afori said.
The project is currently looking for actors and any other students that would like to contribute to the film.
Bond Beeterman, who’s been attending Pierce College for a year, volunteered for the project after seeing Afori post up fliers about the film. He’s set to act in the film but is willing to contribute music to it too.
“I think it’d be cool just to have something like this to showcase [to students] how to get involved,” Beeterman said.
After completing the film, Afori and Lema will ask the school to showcase their film either at the next orientation event for incoming students or on the Pierce website. From there, the duo is also considering asking other colleges in the district to feature their film.
“It’s not even just about Pierce. It’s about any community college,” Afori said.