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HomeNewsArchivesLights, Camera, Arrest! Crime-Prevention Film Shooting on St. Thomas

Lights, Camera, Arrest! Crime-Prevention Film Shooting on St. Thomas

Sept. 12, 2008 — Sugar Estate looked like a crime scene Friday night, but all those involved had rehearsed the bust, and many wore makeup.
The street was the setting for a short film being produced by ISW Studios for the V.I. Police Department with funding from the U.S. Justice Department.
Dan McGuinness, one of ISW's founders, said he picked the location because the extra lights from the track at Charlotte Amalie High School help to light the set.
The film is being produced in an attempt to deter V.I. high school students from getting involved with guns and crime. The project has been in the works since last December, McGuinness said.
The filming will be about 95-percent complete after this weekend, according to director Ed LaBorde.
"It should only take a couple of weeks to edit," LaBorde said. "It's short and we have the ability to edit it here."
The story revolves around a high school student who finds himself in a car with a gun when the driver gets pulled over. The story spirals downward as the student gets arrested, jailed and takes enough turns for the worse that the student quickly finds himself facing 15 years, and — with a final twist — life in prison.
The film crew of about a dozen was assisted by a number of volunteers and attracted a crowd on the sidewalk. Cars continued to pass the "bust" with expected rubbernecking, but the film's producers said that they wanted that for authenticity.
"It's especially pertinent that we do what we can to get the message out in light of there being another shooting last night on St. Thomas," McGuinness said.
Originally the police department approached ISW with a stateside film.
"They were looking for something local," McGuinness said. "This is a fully local crew with professional high-def cameras, professional lighting and professional sound."
McGuinness said he hopes the film will "wake up the film industry in the Virgin Islands."
There were considerable credentials on the set. Credits for Erik Miles, the film's director of photography, include such blockbuster feature films as "There's Something About Mary," "Analyze This" and "Any Given Sunday."
Miles explained that his job was to make the image happen for the director.
"The director dreams up an idea and I make it materialize," he said.
The cast consists of professional actors, actual VIPD police officers, high school students and other ordinary citizens from the territory.
Officer Maxwell Carty of the VIPD's Crime Prevention Bureau was one of the film's actors, selected for his role by Kenneth Blake, director of the Crime Prevention Bureau.
Carty suggested a few changes to the script to make the police procedures more authentic, LaBorde said.
"His contributions to the script were welcome," LaBorde said. "It was a collaboration."
The script for the film is realistic, Carty said, and the actions he takes in the film are what he would do normally in performing his job.
For more information about the film, contact ISW Studios at 340-714-7711.
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