Student Filmmakers Hope to Gain Funds for Ambitious Project

Think back to your high school years. You probably went to class, hung out with friends, and your major concern was what you were going to do for the weekend.

This is not the case for Paloma Valley High School student Jake Heraty. He has bigger things in mind.

Heraty is not the typical high school student. His dreams and aspirations have already sparked the idea for a film he and his friends are hoping to make this summer. Operating under the company name Phrame Studios, they have plans to produce a feature-length film by June.

"I love movie making," said Heraty. "I love being what I like to call a content creator."

With a script already developed, Heraty’s film, titled "The Long Way Back," is in the beginning process of becoming a reality. The only problem?

Making a movie costs money.

Heraty (left) has set a goal of raising $3,000 to start production of the film. He and his team members have set up a Facebook page and a website listing the items they need for the film and a way to donate money to help get the necessary equipment for production. Those who donate will get certain "perks", such as a DVD of the film or mention in the film’s credits.

So far, less than $200 has been donated through the website, but Heraty is determined to find a way to produce the film, which is the project of current Paloma Valley students and graduates.

"We are going to have several fundraising opportunities in the next coming months to raise the $3,000 we are in need of," Heraty said. "We are also running this GoFundMe campaign while we are doing the fundraising.

"We do have a lofty goal, but we are very serious in that we want to make this movie and we are going to do it with whatever money we have and whatever resources we have obtained. That being said, we do have equipment. We have basic cameras, basic tripods, very basic editing systems, and we have done productions in the past. But in order to make the film the way we want to make it and the way we want to have it look, we need this equipment to create this film."

Heraty provides the following information on his GoFundMe page:

"The Long Way Back" is a low budget, independent feature length student film. "The Long Way Back" is a film about a boyfriend and girlfriend that split up after several years. The boyfriend drives the girlfriend back home, embarking on a lengthy road trip as they try to find peace in their decision and face moving on with their lives.

We are just students who have a dream of making a movie and have a love for film making. We are in dire need of hardware and software such as new cameras, a new, faster computer and film editing software that can handle the project we are creating.

Heraty, the film's director, hopes to get the film screened in Menifee and then later enter it in local film festivals.

He said that he has always enjoyed filmmaking and loves creating things. His influences include director Steven Spielberg and writer John Green. Even though he is only 17 years old, Heraty wants to make sure that "The Long Way Back" is made and entered into film festivals before the year is over.

"My goals are to show a film that shows a good story," said Heraty. "My goal is to start a film studio for other content creators."

The idea for the film, which he calls "a breakup movie," came to Heraty during a car ride when he was staring at passing cars. The idea developed into a film project about heartache, acceptance and moving on with one’s life. Heraty said he thinks a lot of people will be able to relate to the message.

"I was looking at these cars as they pass by and I was thinking, ‘What if you saw a couple in a car or RV just arguing?’ and so the idea just came to me," said Heraty.

Along with his effort, Heraty said he has an amazing team of young writers and producers and has cast many of the roles for the film. Jordan Hill (above) plays the lead male role of Ben, and Isabel Donadio (right) plays the female lead, Alice. Tabitha Halverson (below) is the producer. Others in the group include Aaron Acebedo (assistant director), Kat Johnson (associate producer), Courtney Sprague (writer) and Gustavo Felix (head editor).

All the help from his friends and classmates is voluntary and Heraty said he is very lucky to have such dedicated friends.

"It would be my dream to say, ‘Thank you for all your hard work, here’s some money,’ but we’re being realistic and it is all volunteer work," said Heraty.

Heraty said that everyone who contributes to the film will of course be credited, but with an already tight budget, there is no room for anyone to be paid.

All in all, Heraty and the other members of Phrame Studios are eager and optimistic about their first film project.

"I will not fail," Heraty said. "Even if it takes a $400 budget with basic cameras, basic editing systems and basic tripods to pull off this film, I will do it because I need to do it. I cannot and will not let everyone involved in this project down. The minute I tell them that we have failed is the minute I failed them.

"We've put everything on the line. It is now time that we put even more out there. We've done most of the groundwork and it's now time to make that work become reality, to make that script become a live-action film."

To find out more about "The Long Way Back", check out the film's Facebook page or their donation webpage "The Long Way Back Film Campaign."


  1. Thank you Menifee 24/7 for all of your hard work on creating this article for our film efforts, we really really appreciate it!

    -Jake Heraty & The Cast and Crew of The Long Way Back