Photo by Katie Nelson
Kevin Schilling stands outside his alma mater, Aviation High School in Des Moines.

Local student film to be shot in Burien

By Katie Nelson

Beginning June 28, watch for a “post-apocalyptic love story” being shot on the streets of Burien.

Burien resident Kevin Schilling, 19, is producing “When the World Finally Ended” along with 20-year-old Kent native and director KJ Knies.

The 15-minute independent film centers around two teenagers searching for the concept of home in a world in which they are the sole inhabitants. The idea stemmed from Knies’ experience in leaving home to attend college at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA.)

“I actually started writing this film about a year ago during my transition from high school to college,” Knies said. “I was really looking for what home meant to me, because when you go to college … it’s kind of hard to discover what actually makes a home to you.”

Knies and Schilling met their freshman year of high school through the Hi-Liners Theater at Highline High School in Burien. Their mutual interest in film eventually led the decision to make a movie together.

The film was funded using a campaign through IndieGogo, an online crowd-funding site. Their goal of $4,000 was exceeded by $405 as of June 14, according to the site. The decision to film in Schilling’s hometown of Burien was partially to keep costs down.

“Our cinematographer [Jeremy Berg] is a local filmmaker from Burien, a little over a third of the crew lives in Burien, and it’s a very, very low-budget movie--basically no budget, and I wanted to implement the resources we have for the budget we’re using,” Schilling said.

Schilling, co-producer Dustin Abrahamson and key set production assistant Alex MacMillan all went to Aviation High in Des Moines. Alex Green, another key set production assistant attended John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien.

One familiar backdrop to be featured in the film is Aviation High, Schilling’s alma mater.

“A couple of scenes are based in a school … and I like that Burien is very woodsy but it’s still suburban, and so it just kind of has a good look that I’m going for this film,” Knies said.

Filming will wrap either July 2 or July 3, according to Schilling, after which the editing process will begin. Schilling and Knies hope to premiere their work in September, and have discussed the possibility of renting out the Tin Theater in Burien, although the location is still undecided.

“It’s always been my plan to rent out a small theater or a small rec. center or something, possibly somewhere in Burien or somewhere in Seattle,” Knies said. “It’s all very tentative.”

There are also plans to submit “When the World Finally Ended” to several film festivals, from local Seattle True Independent Film Festival to Sundance Film Festival and even the world-famous Cannes Film Festival.

“We do think we have a good solid chance of getting into one of those more notable film festivals, be it Toronto, be it Sundance, be it Cannes. We’re hoping it will go that far,” Knies said.

However, despite the high aims for the film, Schilling emphasized that he and Knies have a greater, more personal goal in mind.

“This production is bringing together 14 ambitious filmmakers from around the city … [and] we’re looking to create an educational experience,” he said. “We’re doing that by hiring professionals and creating as professional an environment as possible so that these young, aspiring filmmakers can see how it works and be inspired to go out and make their own films. “

Schilling added that in the Seattle area, there are not many opportunities for young people interested in film to exchange ideas or learn from one another. Part of their hope for the film is to give other students that possibility.

“As a filmmaker, I am of the firm belief that experience will help you more than sitting in a classroom, listening to someone tell you what they think you should do,” Schilling said.

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