Feature Film Project Greenlit, Pre-Production to Begin Immediately

February 16, 2022

O, Brawling Love!, written by senior screenwriting student Bella Lake, has been selected to be produced as the inaugural project in JPCatholic’s Feature Film Program. Her script is about two rival acting students who are forced to reconcile their differences and play lovers Romeo and Juliet in their final school play, vying for a full-ride scholarship to Juilliard.

Bella Lake

Bella Lake, Class of 2022

Last summer, nearly fifty stories were submitted by students and alumni for the program, with nine finalists pitching their ideas to a live faculty panel in October. Five of those ideas advanced to undergo further story development as part of the Feature Film Producing I course this quarter.

About ten students are participating in the course, including Bella Lake and another finalist writer. After being selected as a finalist from the Feature Film Pitch Night, Lake submitted the first draft of her script in December. This quarter, she incorporated notes from faculty and classmates to produce three rewrites.

“It was a steep learning curve for me to write a full-length feature script, as I’ve only been learning screenwriting for less than a year,” said Lake. “Overall, I’m extremely grateful to Professor Simon, my peers, and my family for supporting me through it all. I am so blessed to be in a school environment where everyone is rooting for me and wants my script to be the very best version that it can be.”

While the first half of the course has focused on story development, the coursework will now immediately pivot toward pre-production. This work will continue in the spring quarter with Feature Film Producing II, which will consist of production meetings twice a week leading up to production over the break in June.

“I've been blown away by the quality of the scripts that have been submitted throughout this process,” said Prof. George Simon, Chair of Communications Media. “The fact that we have five viable screenplays, any of which could be turned into a fantastic film, is a testament to the talent, passion, and professionalism of our student screenwriters.”

The other four finalists were:

  • Dear Grandpa, written by Randi Ceniceros (Class of 2022)
  • Fragile Memories, written by Everett Ramirez (Class of 2023)
  • No Reception, written by Mark Westin & Natalia Roberts (Class of 2023)
  • The Show Must Go On, written by Gabriel O’Malley (Class of 2021) & Gage Lindsey

“These students have been working insanely hard, receiving creative development notes, and implementing those notes under tight deadlines; they have all done a phenomenal job,” said Simon.

Lake’s script will continue to undergo development throughout pre-production, integrating feedback from the director, who is yet to be selected, along with continuing feedback from faculty like Prof. Chris Riley.

“Everything just went by so fast,” said Lake. “From writing the main portion of the script over Christmas break, to getting creative development notes, to scrambling to get in a final draft. There has never been a dull moment during this entire process. I felt like giving up at times and like I wasn’t up for the challenge, but by the grace of God alone, I pulled through. I’m living in a dream knowing I’ll graduate being a produced screenwriter.”

Prof. Jeff Deverett gives feedback to Bella Lake on her pitch

Prof. Jeff Deverett gives feedback to Bella Lake on her pitch of O, Brawling Love! at the Feature Film Pitch Night (10/16/21)