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Why The Last Witch Matters

What is happening with THE LAST WITCH?

Making a documentary takes longer than you think. Right now, we are piecing together the story. It’s a lot like writing an essay for school. I, Annika (writer/director) watch the footage and select the best quotes from the interviewees.

Like most movies, THE LAST WITCH follows a three act structure. I create that by organizing interview responses into an outline with a beginning, middle and end on a huge spreadsheet. I’ve lost count of the number of cells I’m using! There are a lot of moving parts that get pushed around.

That outline is developed into a story with an emotional journey, which is broken down into the three acts: Act I sets up the adventure, Act II follows the ups and downs of the experience until it all falls apart and we move into Act III where our heroine (middle school teacher Ms. LaPierre) and her helpers (8th grade civics students and Massachusetts politicians) fight for the final resolution. We call this a paper cut, even though it’s all electronic.

I work on the paper cut for hours every day. I’m having so much fun doing it! Then I bring the draft to our producer, my friend Dawn Green, so that she and I can discuss the story that is evolving. Did you see her tell the story of why she is making THE LAST WITCH on social media?

As Dawn and discuss the story, we talk about what scenes and interviews we still need to film. What we will need to film is important. That includes reenacting scenes from Elizabeth Johnson Jr’s trial in 1692 where she is bullied into falsely confessing to using witchcraft to harm others. Bullying is a strong theme in THE LAST WITCH as the students compare their experiences with bullying now with what happened to Elizabeth then.

I love my work. Follow us for more stories about what goes on behind the scenes as we work to make THE LAST WITCH a reality!

Annika Hylmö, Ph.D.

Writer/Director THE LAST WITCH


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