PHARR, TEXAS—Students at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA) are getting the experience of a lifetime by shooting the full-length film “Time for a Champion,” the first of several that will be produced at PSJA and distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures Corporation in Hollywood.
“Time for a Champion” is an original screenplay written by Barry Glasser, an English department faculty member at PSJA Southwest Early College High School with a long and diversified film industry background. Glasser is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
The movie is currently directed and filmed by more than 80 PSJA Southwest students and produced by Glasser and Sarvelio Carreon, both faculty and founders of the newly formed PSJA Southwest Film Society. It is an inspirational sports story that depicts the life of a homeless Latina girl who overcomes a background of neglect and extreme poverty, and shows the impact of bullying among students. It is the first in a series of feature films that Southwest will produce and World Wide will distribute.
For Junior Jackie Martinez, directing the movie has been a learning experience that she believes will help her in the future.
“I had experience with cameras before, but the class has taught me a lot,” said Martinez, a student in Carreon’s Audio & Video Production class. “I would like to pursue a career in cinematography. This film is going to help me gain a lot of professional experience."
According to Glasser, the original film will be distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures Corporation—a distribution company based in the Los Angeles area that specializes in releasing prestigious independent domestic and international films — and will stream on various Video On Demand platforms, cable, broadcast, DVD and, if appropriate, will have a limited theatrical release in selected markets.
"We’re thrilled to partner with PSJA Southwest Film Society in this groundbreaking venture," said Paul Hancock, World Wide president and CEO. "Not only does this particular film reflect the lives and aspirations of today's teenagers, but the venture itself brings into our industry a new generation of filmmakers. We’ll be pursuing all marketing platforms, both traditional and non-traditional, to ensure that 'Time for a Champion', and all the films that follow from PSJA Southwest, reach the widest possible audience in entertainment venues and in schools.”
“This is the first time that a full-length feature film has been produced at the high school level,” Glasser said. “And it is the first time such a film has been given professional distribution."
In addition to gaining valuable work experience through the Audio & Production class, students also gain college credits as part of the PSJA ISD Early College initiative. Currently, the school district has eight early college high schools, where students can graduate with up to two years of college or an Associates Degree in various fields. Every semester, more than 3,500 PSJA students participate in dual-enrollment coursework with the district's higher education partner South Texas College, and the number is increasing annually.
With that in mind, the producer observed that the district was excited to hear about the program and the opportunities it presents for students.
"When I went over to have a meeting with district administrators, all I can remember is the smiles on their faces. They were beaming,” shared Glasser. “The idea that PSJA can be the first in the country to make a feature film is something that warmed everyone's hearts and will have Hollywood talking.”
According to the Hollywood writer/producer and proud teacher, under the support of PSJA’s district administration, the film program will also be supplemented by study guides and a full array of educational materials which will be made available to schools nationwide. “This is definitely a ‘flagship’ program,” Glasser noted. “What we’re doing in the district can become a model for high schools and colleges throughout the country.”
Besides the professional experience and knowledge students will gain, Glasser said that he also hopes the film’s story instills in them a valuable life lesson.
“The message is very hopeful. I want them to walk away with the notion that they have to respect every student,” said the author of the movie’s message. “They should embrace their differences, work things out and make life easier for everyone."
About Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, located on the Texas-Mexico southern border, has rapidly become a state and national leader in creating more academic opportunities for all students. As a tri-city public school district offering a pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade curriculum, PSJA caters to a 32,000-student body and is focused on graduating all students College Ready, College Connected and College Complete. Some of PSJA’s most successful programs such as the Dual Language Enrichment Program, Early College Initiative and Dropout Recovery Program have been highlighted for effectively closing the gap to post-secondary education. At PSJA ISD all students can: Earn College Credit, Graduate Bilingual and Biliterate, Be Part of Athletic Excellence and Renowned Fine Arts Programs.
About PSJA Southwest Early College High School
PSJA Southwest Early College High School is a TEA designated early college high school implementing the comprehensive school wide model. It is one of a few selected in the state to offer wall-to-wall early college program. Over 1,700 students attending PSJA Southwest ECHS have the opportunity to attain up to 60 college hours or an Associate Degree from higher education partner (South Texas College) before graduating from high school. PSJA Southwest ECHS is also considered the flagship high school for the PSJA ISD Dual Language Enrichment Program because it has the largest number of Dual Language high school students served, not only in the district, but also within the state.
About World Wide Motion Pictures Corporation
Founded in 1977, World Wide Motion Pictures Corporation (www.wwmpc.com) is a diversified company with shareholders throughout the world, primarily involved in the development, financing, production and distribution of feature films, documentaries, short subjects, industrials and television productions. World Wide’s film executives and board members have produced, distributed and consulted on a wide variety of critically-acclaimed film and television projects, earning Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, and prizes from international film festivals.
More About Barry Glasser
As a studio executive, Barry Glasser was publicity director for Twentieth Century Fox, vice president of publicity for Walt Disney Studios, and senior vice president of marketing for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He wrote the screenplay for Golddiggers – Secret of Bear Mountain, the acclaimed family film released by Universal; created, wrote and/or produced such children’s television series as Mighty Orbots, Flutemaster, Galaxy High School, Visionaries, and Skateboy; and co-produced the animated feature film Little Nemo.
More About Sarvelio Carreon
Sarvelio Carreon recently completed producing and directing his first independent film, Fighting Spirit. Before that he served in a number of executive and creative positions – including research director for Univision, production manager for TV Azteca, and photojournalist for Telemundo, and ran his own production company.
Video Footage: https://studentpsjaisd my.sharepoint.com/personal/daniel_ramos_psjaisd_us/Documents/PSJA%20Southwest%20Film%20Media%20Clips.mp4