PITTSBURG -- There was a little taste of the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood movie premiere at the Maya Cinema on Monday night, as kids from an Antioch home-school program saw themselves on the big screen.

About three dozen students in the Educating and Nurturing with Options, Resources and Education, or ENCORE program, played a role in creating a film over the course of the year.

"The Vault" was the creation of Sarah Loyd. The eighth-grader poured over 100 hours into crafting the script, working with her peers on acting and voice projection.

"What I enjoyed the most is giving (classmates) the chance to really experience being in a movie. I just love that," Sarah said. "It's just words on a page, but they brought it to life."

In her last year in Antioch Unified's home-school program, the 14-year-old Clayton resident and movie buff wanted to leave her mark in the same way a classic film scene is remembered.

Sarah had led a book club the past four years, but with the encouragement of her teachers, created a film club. It quickly became a more ambitious idea.

Sarah said her mother, Cyndy, helped a lot, including as camerawoman and "talking me out of more bad ideas than I could ever count."

The movie is a collection of short films, including a western-theme silent film shot at Black Diamond Mines, a musical and classics from the 1940s, all shot in a classroom, and variations of more modern films.


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"It's been just such an incredible experience to see them all get involved, and to see the vision and creativity," said ENCORE parent Melody Graves, who helped with some of the costumes.

As a manager at Maya Cinemas, she wanted to enhance the experience.

Monday's red carpet event included red and gold balloons, a movie trailer poster and discounted popcorn and sodas for families. The students dressed up in suits and fancy dresses.

"This is great. It's not like the show-and-tell days we had when I was a kid," said Eric Rosales of Pittsburg, sitting with his wife, Sylvia, before the lights dimmed and the movie started. Son Isaiah and daughter Jazlyn played Audrey Hepburn's assistants.

"They're so enthusiastic about it. It's very cute and really exciting," added Sylvia.

Bow tie-clad brothers John and Nick Ferry of Antioch were eager to see how their parts turned out, especially whether it was obvious they laughed during a "dying scene."

ENCORE has 104 K-8 students and four teachers. Families come from Byron, Oakley, Brentwood, Pittsburg and Clayton for lessons.

The project is part of this year's theme of "California Here We Come," said program director Ericka Spires. In addition to their normal academic workload, students completed this extracurricular project and also participated in others driven by students.

As for the movie, Spires said it was great to see it come together after observing all the hard work the kids put into it.

"It was thoroughly enjoyable," she said.

Sarah, who has acted since age 5 and plans on continuing to perform at Carondelet High School in the fall, said her favorite types of movies are musicals and Broadway flicks, as wells as the Harry Potter films and "Les Miserables."

What's neat, she said, is that the collection of five short films evolved from individual tales when the project started to "suddenly having a storyline."

Though not completely pleased with the sound, she thought the result was "amazing." Her hope now is that a seventh-grader picks up the torch and runs the film club next year.

"It will be really fun to see what they do with it," she said.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.