Van Buren students star in James Bond fan film
Van Buren Parkview students got the chance to star in their own James Bond fan film with Emmy Award-winning music teacher Kevin Croxton at the helm.
"In The Blink Of An Eye" is the most recent project created by Croxton. Previously, he has made Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Batman fan-films, among others, starring his students.
"To me, these projects that we do really uplift these children," Croxton said. "They teach them about film production and music production."
The projects started as simple music videos, but after seeing the response from viewers, Croxton wanted to grow these projects.
The Parkview Music club stars an original James Bond story but features known characters from the movie's history as well as new ones. Classic characters like Oddjob, Q, Jaws, Moneypenny, and Blofeld appear in the film alongside new characters like Claw and Mr. Smile.
007, played by student Isaac George, has to stop the evil plans of Bond-villain Blofeld with the help of other agents.
Croxton got the idea for his next project when he was brainstorming and began to think of a song that had a James Bond theme style.
"I just heard this classic Bond theme in my head with words," Croxton. "When I wrote it I knew I had to do the film."
Croxton mixed his own compositions and music from the older films to make the soundtrack.
"I write music for films, and I have been since college," Croxton said. Croxton won an Emmy Award in 2009 for his musical work on a short film called "The Secret Weapon."
After most of the film was finished, Croxton decided to contact former James Bond actor George Lazenby on a whim. He wrote Lazenby a Facebook message and was forwarded to his manager. After a few weeks, Croxton got a response and was able to get Lazenby to make a cameo in the film. He appears through a video call in the movie under the name G.
The pandemic put the film on hold for a while as the school began to move to virtual learning. The scene with Lazenbury's video was the last scene before the schools closed down. When they returned last fall Croxton and his students were able to finish their final scenes for the project.
A bulk of the film was shot at St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith. Croxton asked permission to shoot scenes within the "villain's lair" at St. Scholastica. After informing the nuns that the good guys win in the end he was granted permission.
The crew for the film consisted of friends and past Parkview Music Club members that still wanted to be involved in the filmmaking process.
The film will be shown at the Fort Smith International Film Festival on Aug. 13. Croxton is currently busy promoting the film and will soon focus on festivals.
He already knows what he wants to do next, but doesn't want to reveal it before he knows that it can be pulled off.
"I have a great idea, and I'm making some calls to see if it's even possible," Croxton said.