Way of life

“Paradise” is a word with a big meaning and the apt title to the new short film created by a talented group of Key West high school students. The film debuted on Aug. 6 to a packed Tropic Cinema and these young filmmakers should be immensely proud of their accomplishment. From storyboard to camera to editing, “Paradise” is their first work of professional art and embodies all the subtle and big meanings of what it truly means to live and work in paradise.

Local students now turned filmmakers Bronza Fox, Tj Nitti and Krzysztof Madro began with a simple story idea by Cole McCandless and Isaiah Arnold and script by Anna Mott and Divya Navani, expanded it with more scenes and intricate shots, and used professional technology and cameras to create this 19-minute gem. The plot veers from their millennial stereotype and is about a young man rejecting modern life. Down on his luck, character Bronza Fox (played by Bronza Fox) heads out on the water to escape his bad day, only to have it get worse. His boat drifts away and he is stranded on a deserted island for two years (Boca Grande was the location). Fox then discovers he likes being a castaway and refuses to be rescued. Living on fish and coconuts, he stands his ground with his motto “Can’t kick me off this island.”

For Fox, it was about rediscovering his own home, Key West, and its surrounding nature and appreciating it. “Nowadays, technology, phones, computers rule—we never get to experience that sense of alone in nature.” In essence, the film becomes a love letter to the Keys and all its beauty out on the water. And who else could have created such a tribute but Keys kids who have always called it home.

This is reiterated by the cinematography of the movie that stole the show, thanks the natural talent of young Director of Photography Krzysztof Madro. Sweeping panoramic views, startling shots of spearfishing and action shots show that making the film itself was paradise for these kids as well. Using a professional movie-grade RED camera, aerial drones, and Go Pro camera, there was an unabashed level of enthusiasm for filmmaking showing that paradise isn’t just a place but a mindset.

“‘Paradise’ is about not taking the Keys for granted,” said TJ Nitti, who will attend NYU Tisch School of the Arts next fall for film, but also about not taking the opportunities life affords for granted either. Each of these these young filmmakers has helped show in more than ways than one, what is paradise.

Picture: Everyone involved in the making of “Paradise”: John McCandless,left, Bronza Fox, TJ Nitti, Jett Valle, Cole McCandless, Christian Brannan, Ed Smith, Krzysztof Madro, Anna Mott. Writer Divya Navani, is not pictured. CAROL TEDESCO

“Paradise” has been selected to be screened at All American High School Film Festival and will be played in AMC Theater in Times Square, New York City. “Paradise” is also eligible for many nominations at the Teen Indie Awards as part of being accepted in All American High School Film Festival.

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