Minarets High School senior Jesse Parr, 17, is an aspiring actor/film maker who is not shy about his talents.
"God has blessed me greatly, giving me the incredible ability to act, write and produce films," Parr said. "I can spread his message of love and have fun entertaining people at the same time."
Parr has already made an impact at Minarets High, being named twice Best Male Actor, twice Best Dramatic Actor and three times Best Comedy Actor.
He has also plunged into video making, for which he won Best New Comer at the Minarets Media Awards for his short film "My Fears," for which is also won a Best Editor award, and won a second Best Editor award for another short, "Love Sick."
Not one to be satisfied with past accomplishments, Parr is now setting out to follow his dream of writing, producing and co-directing a 90-minute digital feature film, "The Curse of Jasmine Rose," which will serve as his Senior Legacy project at Minarets.
Parr will play a lead character in the movie, Mark, who along with his parents and best friend Nicholas, go on a vacation to a mountain cabin near a lake.
Parr explains that the movie takes place in 1996 and explores the mystery behind the death of 16-year-old Jasmine Rose 100 years earlier.
"The movie is a thriller, not a horror movie, and will not include any gore, nudity or foul language," Parr said. "If it had a rating, it would be PG-13."
Minarets media and photography instructor Patrick Wilson is impressed with Parr.
"Jesse is just a second year media student who is always pushing himself," Wilson said. "He goes further and further with each project he takes on and is polishing his skills."
Wilson said Parr is starting to see films in his minds eye as he starts to produce them and what makes him a great student film maker is the fact he is friendly, adaptable and gets along with all types of people.
Wilson said "The Curse of Jasmine Rose" looks to be one of the most elaborate student films ever produced in the Central Valley.
Parr's co-director, Megan Hilliard, who received seven nominations at last spring's Minarets Media Awards, including Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay, also received three nomination at the Slick Rock Film Festival (Best Documentary, Best Action/Drama) and and Excellence in Media Production award at the International Student Media Festival. The Slick Rock Festival showcases the best high school work in the Central California while the International Student media Festival for her documentary, History. Real and Relevant."
"I thank God for not only giving me these abilities but also helping me find Jesse, my best friend and film partner," Hilliard said.
Minarets senior Samantha Whetten will serve as director of photography. She has won Minaret Media Awards for Best Music Video.
Other cast members include Heather Sconce (Vanessa), Gary Talley (Jeffrey), and Minarets student Dominique Pearce, who will play Katrina, Mark's girlfriend. Mark's best friend Nicholas, will be played by Mark Friesen, a Yosemite High School senior.
Minarets senior Gracie Robinson will play Jasmine Rose with Jacob Parr and Jennifer Piccolotti filling the roles of her father and mother.
Pearce said it is exciting being part of a full length movie that will take two months to film and another three months to edit.
"It's exciting to see a project of this scale and how it will help the Helping Hands Pregnancy Center," Pearce said. "It's more than just the movie. It's for a good cause."
Pearce said the people who will be working on the movie are the most experienced film students at Minarets.
"I think people will be shocked with the quality of this movie when they see it," Pearce said.
Students seek help to produce film
Parr, along with cast and crew members, are currently seeking help from the community to 'loan' various props for the film, along with financial donations to fund location fees, transportation, equipment rental and other production needs. All the actors are working for free.
Needed props include matching period-piece white nightgowns, a red wig, a six to 12-inch Virgin Mary stature, and wooden rosery beads.
"It is our hope that community members will help us financially to make this movie possible," Parr said. "We hope that any proceeds from the film will be donated to Helping Hands Pregnancy Center in Oakhurst and the Minarets Drama Department."
There are seven donation levels, ranging from a "thank you" for $10 to "executive producer" for a $3,000 contribution. Those donating will receive various perks including name on the film credits, movie T-shirt, signed movie posters, and a DVD of the film.
If fundraising efforts succeed, Parr hopes to film between mid-August and December. Filming locations will include the Yosemite High School campus, Manzanita Lake and private homes in the Mountain Area.
"We are seeking an old, isolated cabin and are willing to pay a small fee for its use," Parr said. "The cabin is very important to us because the entire movie is centered around it.
Parr said if the film project is under-funded, they will do the best they can with less money.
Parr said if people can not help financially, they can offer the most powerful thing they can prayer.
"Pray for us that we keep this project God-centered, pray that the filming runs smooth and pray that this film becomes fun entertainment with a good message," Parr said.