Produce Iowa
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Produce Iowa

Path to Hollywood Starts in Postville

Aleesa Lavrenko in “Pressure Pointe — A Ballet Film”

Someday, if Aleesa Lavrenko ever wins an Oscar, she’ll have to thank the friend who helped launch her filmmaking career after school one day back in January.

Just two days before the deadline for a statewide film competition, the Postville High School junior enlisted her friend, grabbed her dad’s camera and drove to the dance studio over in West Union. While Lavrenko danced, she directed her friend to shoot video from several vantage points, from the floor to the top of a ladder.

“I wanted to show the motivation behind ballet,” she said. “I wanted to show the hard work that goes into a performance.”

The result is a 3-minute story called “Pressure Pointe — A Ballet Film,” which won the 17-old-year-old filmmaker first place in “The Film Lounge: Student Challenge,” an educational spin-off of the popular “Film Lounge” series produced by Iowa PBS, the Iowa Arts Council and the state film office, known as Produce Iowa.

You can see the winning film — plus a dozen more by students from Ankeny, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Marion and Waukee — during a virtual watch party at 3 p.m. Saturday on an online platform called OVEE.

Lavrenko plans to tune in with her family. The Oscars might be a long shot, for now, but it sounds like she’s already ready for her speech.

“Take your wildest dream, your most creative idea, and try to make it into a film,” she said. “And don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Michael Morain, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

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