Lights! Camera! Action! Ahwatukee is going Hollywood!
Well, sort of.
The area will be featured in a movie by native filmmaker Claudia Van Luchene Casey.
Casey, who moved to Ahwatukee Foothills when she was 6, went to Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary and graduated from Desert Vista High School. All the time wanting to make movies, but didn’t think she could.
“I’ve wanted to since I was a kid honestly, but I didn’t think it was like a real career,” she said.
So Casey went to Arizona State University and studied English literature. She worked in politics and nonprofits for a while before deciding to pursue the unrealistic career she used to dream about.
Casey moved to Los Angeles in 2010. She worked on micro-budget independent films on a freelance basis. She worked as a script supervisor, a camera operator, makeup artist, and sometimes all three at once.
Now, the Ahwatukee native wants to make her own movie. Actually three short films, all under 20 minutes.
“There’s a really awful public access channel where I live in California, just these extremely low-budget shows with goofy hosts,” Casey said, “And at the same time my friend was kind of going through this weird experience of being followed, but it turned out that she was kind of imagining it.”
Thus, “Local Access” was born. It is the story of a local television host and his biggest fan.
Casey plans to shoot the three short films mostly in the Ahwatukee and surrounding areas and has lined up members of the Phoenix film community to help with filming.
“I feel like you don’t really see places like Ahwatukee or Arizona in film,” Casey said, “When you see Arizona represented in film it’s sort of like everyone’s wearing cowboy hats and it’s unrealistic. I wanted to show off Ahwatukee a little bit if I could.”
Casey has been working on “Local Access” for the past year and a half. Now she is ready to start filming, but she needs money. She is raising it through Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.
Casey needs to raise $3,600 by Feb. 21. She is really close, but time is running out. And it’s all or nothing. If she doesn’t raise the whole $3,600, the money she did receive is refunded to donators. And there are incentives to donating. Donators can receive anything from regular production updates to getting an executive producer credit and a cameo or likeness in the films.
If Casey gets the funding, she will start filming as soon as April and will be finished by November. She is planning on entering the production in some small festivals and will have some screenings around the Valley. And of course, there is always the DVD.
To help fund “Local Access,” visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/96406127/local-access-a-short-film-series.
• Brittany Stehmer is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
She is interning this semester for the AFN.