By Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood Today) 3/9/13 – Everyone dreams of fame and “Fame High” captures the in-class and at-home drama of a group of individuals in an extraordinary high school in Southern California: The Los Angeles High School of the Arts, (LACSHA.)
“Fame High” is an L.A. story with universal appeal, all 101 minutes of it. Recently it was screened at the exact campus where it was filmed, at LACSHA located on the Cal State LA campus and it continues to play in a lot of different venues.
LACHSA is one of the most respected and competitive public arts high schools in the country. My own son Michael Milano had some close up appearances in the movie since he was a freshman at the time. And my other young adult, Laura Milano presently attends classes there as a Junior in the theatre dept. My family has always been very involved in productions and fundraising. Michael has gone on to San Francisco State University where he is studying film and theatre.
The documentary, which is a musical with the drama beginning with the nerve-racking freshman auditions to their fabulous graduation performance. The kids of Fame High teach us the value of finding their own voice in art and life. In an age when we are subjected to so many talent shows, it was refreshing to witness a progressive story about the development of talent and the many lessons it teaches, not just to the students but the teachers and families of the students.
This unique coming-of-age, documentary-musical which follows a group of students as they grow through the program. Just as in sports, their involved families are supportive and often opinionated. “Fame High” takes viewers behind the scenes and presents the facts behind the fiction. As most adults know, anything worthwhile takes sacrifice and hard work. Just as my husband and myself, they donate countless hours to ensure their children perform their very best. At times this can be a difficult proposition, (as any piano student can testify.)
The four students are definitely talented, and it is clear we can see any and all of the becoming successful in their field. Each must deal with different dilemmas including failure, romance not allowed by doting parents, moving cross-country away from family, missing friends and various issues involved with committing to a craft and pursuing a dream.
The arts teachers are working professionals, and some of the famous alumni include singing phenomenon Josh Groban, as well as actors Corbin Bleu, Jenna Elfman, and Anthony Anderson, and principal dancer of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Matt Rushing.
Scott Hamilton Kennedy offeres a well rounded view of the student’s lives through honest interviews with the parents and students. We are privy to heavy-handed support from a set of parents only willing to support additional education upon acceptance to Juilliard and the pianist who seems almost forced to perform and become a star in an effort to avoid poverty.The benefit of seeing the movie on the big screen was the impact of being totally involved with the students while sitting in the theatre. It was like being in the living room of the parents’ of the talented students from a variety of neighborhoods in L.A. and beyond. “Fame High” is more than a movie as it is a lesson plan that every high school student should see.
Presented by Black Valley Films, the company was named after the incredible Black Valley, west of Kenmare, south of the Gap of Dunloe and north of Moll’s Gap, in County Kerry, Ireland. The valley is also part of the Kerry Way, a walkers version of the Ring of Kerry beginning and ending in Killarney.