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Booker High School's "Into the Storm" Featured at Sarasota Film Festival

April 8. 2019 - The Booker High School VPA Digital Film and Motion Design Department will premiere its full-length documentary, “Into the Storm,” as a part of the Sarasota Film Festival’s Special Education Events at 6:30 p.m. on April 9 at the Municipal Auditorium.

The film, which tells the story of the school’s 1960s closing as a part of the district’s desegregation plan, tells the story of this local history through the eyes of the Tornadoes basketball team. The team made it to the state championship and won the title in 1967, but when they returned to Sarasota, their school had closed and there was no place to house this important trophy.

The production team includes Carol Fauls, director and editor; Sydney Catalfino, screenwriter; Lindsey Jennings, assistant director; and Kiara Harris, sound technician. All four will major in film or motion design at various art schools nationwide next year. “Into the Storm,” their senior thesis project, is a project a year in the making.

Fauls said that the idea came from film teacher John Timpe, who himself investigated the previously untold story initially by browsing the school’s historical room.

The film relies on numerous interviews. The team agreed that the hardest part of the undertaking was the research and securing interviews. The interviews, though, were also some of the most rewarding parts.

“It’s just exciting to talk with people who don’t think they really did anything,” Jenning said, “But they changed the course of history for Booker and the community.”

With the story focus on the group of teenagers whose protests of the district’s desegregation strategy created a momentum that led to “Freedom Schools” and, ultimately, the reopening of Booker High School with a Visual and Performing Arts magnet program, the filmmakers say they hope the audience takes home the message of the power of even small people to effect great change.

“It’s a great piece of local history and we’re excited to be the ones to share this untold story,” Catalfino said.

The film will screen at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on April 9. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children, and are available at www.sarasotafilmfestival.com/events.

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