Wayfinder Schools Student Explores Future through Film

Posted on Wednesday February 29, 2012

Every Monday through Thursday morning, 16 year-old Brenna Peak isn’t sitting in an algebra class or studying for a history exam. Instead, the teen meets with Marc and Gina Bartholomew of Zebulon Films to produce a full-length film called “Vedana.”

Wayfinder Schools student Brenna Peak interns with Marc and Gina Bartholomew of Zebulon Films as part of the schools curriculum

Peak is a student in the Residential Program at Wayfinder Schools . One of six students in the program in New Gloucester, Peak interns with Zebulon Films as part of the Career Explorations component of the school’s curriculum.

By participating and completing a work study, Peak and her peers develop a better understanding of their interests, aptitudes, and skills and are able set goals for their future plans.

Upon arrival at the school, students are asked about their career interests and hobbies. Peak struggled to find just one area of focus. “Brenna was a student who was interested in trying everything,” said Residential Campus Director Margo Fowler.

Peak interned first with Pinetree Seeds of New Gloucester where she packed seeds and learned about the gardening business. While she found the experience interesting, Peak realized more and more that her passion was with the arts, a love she has always had. At age 14, Peak attended the New York Film Academy for acting after completing a rigorous application process.

In November 2011, the Bartholomews were introduced to Wayfinder Schools and immediately offered their services. It didn’t take long for the connection between Zebulon Films and Peak’s love for the arts to be made.

The Bartholomews also own Acadia Recording Company, a recording studio in Portland. While the couple has made a number of short films, documentaries, and TV and Web series, “Vedana” is their first full-length film. They chose this project for Peak so that she would be included in all aspects of the film’s development, from writing the script and auditioning potential cast members to directing, camera work and editing.

According to Zebulon Films’ website, “Vedana,” Sanskrit for feeling and emotion, is “a post apocalypse exploration of the remnants of the human race.” The buildings and campus at Opportunity Farm are being used as production offices for the film. One of the biggest challenges for the film-making trio is to creatively meld their thoughts, though Peak reflects, “It’s made me a better communicator.”

While this is the Bartholomews’ first connection with Wayfinder Schools, the couple is passionate about working with the school and its students. “At a time when many schools lack the funding for creativity and the arts, it is rewarding to see an alternative institution that still encourages and values creativity,” said Marc Bartholomew.

Peak finds the Residential Program to be a challenging but rewarding experience. When asked what her favorite part of the program was she without hesitation looked around at the cameras, the lights, and the scripts, and said, “This.”

Peak and the Bartholomews are in the process of shooting the film and plan to show the movie June 1, 2012, Peak’s graduation day from Wayfinder Schools. After her graduation, Peak plans to pursue a degree in film production, where the skills she has learned during her internship will prove invaluable.

To learn more about Wayfinder Schools and the Career Exploration Program, visit http://www.wayfinderschools.org/residential-program/work-program. You can read more about “Vedana” and support the film by going to http://www.zebulonfilms.com/vedana/.