Former student turned filmmaker


Former AHS student Joe Panther has big dreams just like any other young adult, yet his plans for the future are more ambitious than most.

Panther is in the process of developing and bringing to life his own film from start to finish. Panther shares not only his personal history with the art of film, but also his plans to make one of his own.


How did your interest in filmmaking begin?

I actually started filmmaking my junior year at Annandale when I took IB Film with Weintraut. I always had an interest in movies so I though IB Film would be a cool class to enroll in.

I would say that class had a lot to do with my growing passion of becoming a filmmaker, not to mention also being on the video staff for The A-Blast my junior and senior year.


What filmwork did you do in high school?

Since I was already on the swim team, Coach Jarvis asked if I wanted to film so he could see what we needed to improve on, so I did that with my own equipment. I loved it so much that I have been doing it for the past three years.

Now because of my reputation, Coach Maglisceau asked me if I could film the lacrosse games, so I am doing that now too.


What are you doing with filmwork now?

I obviously don’t want to film sporting events for the rest of my life, so I started coming up with my own plot ideas to make movies.


What have you done so far?

I knew it was extremely hard to get into the film industry so I started writing screenplays in hopes of sending them out to Hollywood and someone liking it enough to make a movie.

With this plan, I would gain a certain percentage of the box office revenue. As of now, I have 9 movie ideas, with three I am actually writing.


What are these about?

The one that is most popular with my friends is titled “The Job.” Basically most of the film takes place in a police interrogation room when a group of teens are caught trying to rob a pawn shop, but the police later find out that they have uncovered something much bigger than just a simple robbery.

It would turn out that the theft was not about money, it is something much more valuable. Since my dad used to work for the police department, I’m hoping he would be able to get me a real interrogation room that I would be able to film in.


What other working films do you have?

The other is titled “The Suburbs” and it’s pretty much a coming of age tale about a group of teens just living in the suburbs. And no, it will not at all be like Degrassi or Skins. But I am probably going to lean more towards the first idea.


How are your planning on completing the film?

The cast and crew is mainly going to consist of my friends and anyone else who is interested in a fun summer project. I am looking for more adult actors to play the police officers and the detectives because realistically I can’t have a bunch of teenagers play adults if I want to be taken seriously.


What kind of help do you want from AHS students?

Anyone who’s willing to help me for no money at all. Obviously I’m going to need cast, crew, a sound editor, a graphic designer to make the movie poster and a lot of other people.

Most directors start out working with their friends, like Martin Scorcese and Robert DeNiro. That’s why they did so many movies together; they were friends from before either one of them was successful. So if you star in my movie, you never know! You could become famous.


What is your budget for the movie?

My budget for this movie is probably around $2,000 due to the fact that I am financing the entire film myself. I know that many people will wonder why I would be spending my money like that, but I am very passionate about my filmmaking and I am willing to take risks to get noticed in the industry and make a name for myself.


How will a budget like this limit you?

The hard thing about an independent film is that I don’t have five million dollars to hire a famous person. Without a star, I need to have a great plot and interesting story to gain people’s interest.