Yosemite High School 2014 graduate Hannah McMechan has loved to write since she was a little girl - a love that has led her to Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television, where she will graduate from this month, with dreams of becoming a screenwriter.
McMechan and classmate Danya Jimenez co-wrote a short film titled “The Virgin Maggi,” a senior thesis project of classmate Miranda Florer, who directed.
But it was McMechan who knew the perfect location to shoot the movie - her hometown of Ahwahnee and the surrounding area. After countless hours of planning and holding rehearsals, the 20-member cast and crew recently left Westchester, Los Angeles for Ahwahnee and three long days of filming.
“The film is a dark comedy about a teenage girl from a small, religious town who accidentally gets pregnant,’ McMechan explained. “Terrified of the backlash she’s sure to receive, she convinces her town that she’s actually pregnant with the son of Christ. Things spin out of control and she must come clean.”
Scenes for the film were shot in various locations in Oakhurst, Ahwahnee, and Mariposa, including the Little Church on the Hill in the Oakhurst Cemetery.
“We shot scenes at my grandparent’s (retired judge Dick and Carol McMechan) house in River Creek, around Miami Creek, and on their bridge,” McMechan said. “The house we shot in was my other set of grandparents (Brad and Joan Brad Madaus) who live off Road 426. We also took a whole bunch of establishing shots of the town of Mariposa, as well as Mariposa High School.”
McMechan said every crew member is a student at LMU’s School of Film and Television, which is ranked No. 8 in America, and the actors either attended Loyola Marymount or were found online through LA Casting.
The lead roles were played by Kalen Bull (June) and Alexa Walters (Maggi). Bull is a 16 year-old actress from Nevada and Walters is an LMU theater department alumni.
“The Virgin Maggi” will be screened in LMU’s Mayer Theater and submitted to festivals worldwide.
McMechan, the daughter of Bryan and Cory and McMechan, has gained a lot of experience over her four years at LMU - she was a staff writer for LMU’s student-run television network, ROAR Studios, as a freshman, and was promoted to Senior Staff Writer of Comedy Content her sophomore year.
“At ROAR, I worked on a pretty successful web series called The Writer’s Room as an actress and writer and oversaw the inception and physical production of 30+ video shorts. I also worked as a tour guide and office assistant at LMU’s School of Film and Television all four years, while still holding internships at Circle of Confusion and the Conan O’Brien show.”
Circle of Confusion is a management, development, and production company known for “The Walking Dead” and “Straight Outta Compton.”
Over the course of her college career, McMechan has worked on about 25 student productions, and this year alone she co-wrote four senior thesis films, and served as script supervisor on all four sets.
“This past semester, my writing partner and I wrote a television pilot that was chosen to be a part of the Black List/Women in Film Episodic TV Lab, and it’s exciting because that program is helping us get meetings with studios and agencies.”
Looking back at her time at Yosemite High, McMechan remembers English teach Matt Skeahan who validated she had a knack for writing and made her feel secure in pursuing her dream.
“I also took advanced theater with Lars Thorson so I was exposed to playwriting and improvisation - and writing is basically constant improv,” McMechan said.
She also managed to squeeze in enough time to play on the varsity golf team at YHS for four years, each winning a league championship.
After graduation, McMechan will begin filming 7 short commercials for a home/office networking company and then seek a writers’ assistant job with hopes of becoming a staff writer on a TV show in a few years.
“Those jobs are hard to come by though, so I’ll probably be working freelance for a while ... or waitressing,” laughed McMechan.