SBHS senior, filmmaker Nate Ploof

Only the Lonely: Student Filmmaker Shares Film at Community Event

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Thursday April 05, 2018

Filmmaker and Big Picture South Burlington senior Nate Ploof will share his short film “Only the Lonely” with the community Thursday, April 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at South Burlington High School (SBHS). The free screening, which is open to the public and recommended for grade eight and up, will take place in the SBHS multipurpose room and be followed by dialogue.

“Only the Lonely” tells the story of a young woman and her battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. While the topic is a difficult one, Ploof says, “I thought it was a great idea to make a film about mental health because it is such an important community issue. I wanted to tell a story that conveyed emotions and was relatable, so people knew they could reach out for help and encourage someone they knew to reach out for help if they needed to. The story is also important to me because of my own struggles.”

Filmmaking is not a new passion for Ploof, who grew up loving film series like “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings” and anything Disney. “I didn’t realize films were manmade products that were constructed by people because I was so young. I just watched them,” he explained. It was only after an afternoon when he and his sister were bored, and his dad suggested making a short film that Ploof’s interest was sparked and he began creating his own short movies. “None of them were good,” the young filmmaker laughed. “In fact, they were hilariously awful.”

Nevertheless, the spark was there, and he knew he wanted to pursue it in some way. It grew significantly last year when Ploof took an SBHS Project Lab class with Big Picture educator Jim Shields. “Jim and I made a movie during that class that I’m very proud of. It was a great time in my life; it gave me a path.” The class also offered the student a recognition of the importance of mentors, “Jim basically walked me through the filmmaking process in that class. I couldn’t be more grateful to him for that.”

Ploof says being a full-time Big Picture student in his senior year allowed him the school structure he needed to create “Only the Lonely,” which was a four-month process from start to finish. He has been both surprised and humbled by the positive feedback his film has already received. “The reaction has been much stronger than I thought it would be. It made me realize I had made something that could affect people. Getting the film out there has been a highlight. I also loved how fun the filmmaking process was. Everyone in Big Picture has been immensely supportive, and the dedication of Jennifer Stein [the leading actress] has floored me.”

Next steps for Ploof include continuing to pursue his filmmaking passion. His vision for future projects reflect both his creativity and his courage. “While my recent films have been film noir-like and mostly silent, in the future I plan to try a unique horror/thriller film and, supposing I get into the big leagues, maybe a musical or a fantasy. I just know I want to keep doing it.”

The April 12 “Only the Lonely” film and dialogue event is co-sponsored by Big Picture South Burlington and PACT (Parents and Adults Celebrating Children and Teens).