HSE teacher helps students create a documentary together
By Renee Larr
Jeremiah Follis has been a film-lover since his days in college making films as a hobby. When he started teaching at Hamilton Southeastern high school he began a film club in 2000 for his students. Last year he saw a need for another type of club – a film production club.
“I’ve had a club after school for years where we study films. I’ve had a lot of people who have wanted to go into the film making industry,” Follis said. “In the club we would occasionally make movies … shorts. Then last year I proposed to the school board a new club because every school has a play and musical. I thought what if every year we had a school film.”
Follis thought the club would help bring different types of students together even if they weren’t all interested in acting.
“At HSE there is this insane amount of talent. What if we got all these different kids together who weren’t friends but they were the best artists, seamstresses and photographers and put them all together and tried to make a film every year,” Follis said. “Unlike a school play where you buy the rights to the script we would create all of it ourselves.”
Six ideas were pitched and then narrowed down to two. Students wrote two treatments for the scripts and then voted on which one they wanted to make. The students wrote the script, chose a cast and began filming the drama in November.
The 47 minute film titled “None of the Above” focuses on the lengths students go to win student council elections. It debuted on May 20 with a red carpet premiere at HSE. The film has been entered in the Heartland Film Festival in the general category … not the student film category.
“It’s tough because I’m close to it, but everybody that has seen it has been really impressed by it. I have friends who work in media and they were really impressed high school kids made it. It’s not just really good for a high school movie. It’s pretty well put together,” Follis said.
What started out as a club has quickly become a full-fledged production company called Olio Road Production. The students will produce one new movie per school year.
“I really want to make it as much like a real movie as possible. So there are a lot of applicable skills. We have kids keeping the books for the money. We have kids out there doing advertising and social media,” said Follis.
In addition to teaching and running his film clubs, Follis is an accomplished sculptor.
“I’ve got a side business. For years, no one really knew about it because I used a fake name. I sculpt. I’ve worked for Seth Myers, Patton Oswal and Lucas Film. I just have a whole side hobby where I sculpt and it just kind of took off in the last couple of years,” said Follis.
Follis sculpted small figures as a hobby, but quickly gained a loyal fan following.
“I just did it for years. I was just doing it for my own enjoyment. I started getting more and more popularity. I would post something and a bunch of websites would pick it up and I would get a lot more traffic,” Follis said. “Then Patton Oswalt, the comedian, he started talking about me in press interviews. He got the idea for his character in Young Adult to do what I do. “
Follis then started creating custom works of art for celebrities.
“Seth Myers has a TV show – a cartoon and he said ‘I want you to make an action figure of every one of the characters on my show and I’m going to give it to the people that do those voices like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as a gift.’ That’s kind of my new niche,” Follis said.
Follis plans to continue sculpting, teaching and advising the film production club. For more information or to watch the trailer of “None of the Above” visit oliordprod.weebly.com.
All about Jeremiah Follis
Family: Wife, Tammy, and daughter, Katie.
Favorite thing about living in Fishers: “Great neighbors and schools and it is so clean and safe and close to anything you could want.”
Favorite pastime: “Hang out with my family (games, plays, movies, etc)”
Favorite local restaurant: El Rodeo
Something interesting: “I once watched 365 new movies in one year (before I had a kid)”
Favorite vacation spot: Disney World