Lights, camera, finalist!

IGS student Katerina Alexander's film on a haunted holiday house has made the Trop Jr finals.

International Grammar School (IGS) Year 10 student Katerina Alexander, 14, has been selected as one of just 16 Tropfest Junior (Trop Jr) finalists with her creative new take on a haunted beach house.

To bring her script to the screen, Katerina called on her cousins and aunt to share their acting talents during their New Year’s holiday at Pearl Beach, scraping in with her entry, Love Ella, just before the Trop Jr deadline.

The film features the ghost of a 14 year old, Ella, who haunts her old house and beach house guests by “tormenting them with annoying pranks,” Katerina said.

On a deeper level, the pranks stem from an emotional barrier the ghost has built to protect her from painful connections with others, she said. In the film, it is an innocent and naive Ada, 13, who brings about a finale with “a sunny day, a Paddle Pop Rainbow and a cliché moment” that finally touches Ella.

“I’ve been making films since I was in Year 4, filming with school friends, and with my dad,” Katerina said. This is her fourth year of entering the popular competition.

“Taking Film Studies at IGS last year with IGS Drama educator Mr Ned Manning was a big help getting me used to the pre-production things I needed to know, to be able to organise what needed to happen,” she said.

After she had imagined what should happen, Katerina was excited to see her actors take on their parts. “They made it their own,” she said.

“As a director, I want to continue to explore different ways of telling a story, and looking at the light and shade in subjects that can be perceived as quite dark,” Katerina said.

The Jrop Jr finale, modelled on Tropfest, will take place on Saturday 17 February at noon. View a trailer of Love Ella.