McNary graduate's film opens Friday at Salem Cinema
November 14, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Braeden Olheiser
From freshman to fame, this McNary graduate still reaches for the stars.
In late 2002, freshman Zeek Earl started his first year of high school off like every other– just looking for an easy A. One he thought he’d find was in Jason Heimerdinger’s film appreciation class.
“I thought it was going to be easy” he said. “That I would get to sit around and watch movies.” However, after spending a couple weeks in that class, he’d found a growing interest in film. “After that class, [I] wanted to be a filmmaker.” He had immediately signed up for one of Heimerdinger’s video production classes, the following semester.
While there, he really prospered in a new art form he’d only dabbled in before. And before he knew it, Earl found himself addicted to his passion.
“It was exhilarating. After doing one, I just wanted to do another one that was better,” he said.
Earl pursued making short films, and little cheesy videos with his friends.
However, the summer going into his sophomore year, he came to the table with a bigger idea: to do his first long movie. And thus, “Simply Mafia” was born, filmed in his backyard, and with his friends.
When Earl returned to school, his movie had been pretty much complete. As a way to promote it, he premiered it in the school auditorium using their projector at the time. Earl also used a majority of the funds from ticket sales to raise money for a student who’d fallen ill with cancer. Part of the movie had also been shown for a film festival at the Elsinore Theatre.
After high school he didn’t really have plans to attend film school. Instead, he studied creative writing and literature, worked making ads for companies, until he’d finally got the opportunity to create yet another short film.
“In the Pines” is the story of a girl who goes into the woods in search of the aliens that had taken her before. This had set a trend in his filmmaking that keeps up to this day: Sci-fi. Earl had been inspired from movies like “Star Wars,” that blew his mind.
His next short film “Prospect,” debuted at the South by Southwest film festival in 2014. It gained huge praise, and won awards.
But most importantly of all, “Prospect” was picked for a feature length film, set to a budget of $4 million.
At that point, Earl and his buddy Chris Caldwell begun writing a script, and in the summer of 2017, they’d filmed their very first feature length film. Heimerdinger even got to sit in on the set and watch it be filmed.
Earl’s movie, “Prospect” is being released at the Salem Cinema on Friday, November 16th, at 7:00 pm. And as a bonus, Earl is doing a Q&A after the show.