While in college, Elliot Feld – who grew up in Arizona – began discussing with his friends the possibility of making a feature film. He and his co-writers Jaz Kalkat and Tom Morris knew that the best place to gain inspiration for such a project was from their own experience.
“We knew that we wanted to stick with familiar content,” Feld said during a recent interview with pingroof.com. “Using my personal experience was key during the writing process. We were always taught to write from personal experience and following this guideline was instrumental in getting the script finished properly.”
In “General Education,” which opens tomorrow exclusively at Harkins Valley Art, Chris Sheffield plays a young man who fails to graduate high school and is forced to take summer school, at which time he falls in love with his classmate (Maiara Walsh) and learns that he has to make a choice between playing tennis and receiving a proper education.
“I learned a lot about myself while making ‘General Education,’” Feld said. “There was a crew of 60, a cast of 35 and a plethora of vendors to deal with. I was surprised with how well I was able to handle the important situations while under extreme pressure. I enjoyed problem solving during production and I feel extremely confident no matter how large the endeavor.”
The screenwriter spent 3 years at Highland High School in Gilbert before transferring to and graduating from the New School for the Arts and Academics in Tempe. Feld acknowledges that having completed a feature film at age 25 is quite an accomplishment – which is why he and his team at Pelican House Productions are adamant about bringing “General Education” to high schools across the country.
“We are proof that age does not matter and, if you have a dream, you can start right away,” Feld explained. “We want students to be proactive about their careers and education. Right now, we are planning on talking to high schools in every area in which we project the film theatrically. We would like to expand our lecture to all areas of the country.”
At the end of the day, Feld is proud of the motion picture – especially because he and his team were able to attract a couple of high-profile actors in Janeane Garofalo and Larry Miller. He noted that the two of them were as profesional as they were funny – both on and off the set. He added that his favorite part of the process was seeing them work with one another.
“They could improvise off of each other for hours and a scene that we thought was a little funny would end up hilarious,” Feld said. “They spent a lot of time with the script and it was very important that they knew each integral part of the story. When we had them on set for the first day, I could not stop smiling. It felt like we had really accomplished something.”
“General Education” (NR – 94 minutes) opens tomorrow exclusively at Harkins Valley Art. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.