Working With Students
Working with students to make a movie means a lot of signatures…
One of the things that I have been asked about is some of the paperwork goes into making a movie. Okay, so these days, it’s mostly electronic, but making a documentary involves a lot of signatures to allow us to work.
For example, we are working with middle school students. They are minors. It is our responsibility to treat them well and to make sure that we take care to present them as they are in the final movie. Everyone who is a part of our work has to sign a document to give us consent to use the footage of them in the film.
When it comes to the students, it is up to their parents to sign a consent form that lets their child participate. In addition, we as filmmakers also sign forms like CORI and other paperwork that are required by the school before we can film there.
Most of the students’ parents who were invited to do so did allow their child to participate. In a few cases, we did not get a signed document back. In those cases, the North Andover Middle School made sure that the student in question had an alternate assignment.
Annika Hylmö, Ph.D.
Writer/Director THE LAST WITCH
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January 14, 1693 - Sir William Phips, Governor of Massachusetts, Contemplates the Salem Witch Trials
Sir William Phips portrait at the Massachusetts State House where we filmed scenes for THE LAST WITCH.
Back in 1693, around January 14, three days after Elizabeth Johnson Jr, Sarah Wardwell and Mary Post were sentenced to hang, was a time when the Colony of Massachusetts’ Governor Phips starts to consider the outcomes of the most recent witch trials in Salem Town.
While many historians consider the Salem Witch Trials to have slowed down by the end of 1692, the beginning of 1693 saw a flurry of trials. Over fifty cases were tried, although most of them were thrown out. Still, witchcraft remained a capital offense and without word from King William III to stop the trials, Governor Phips found himself in a predicament.
A former treasure hunter by trade, Governor Phips was in England when the witch craze started in 1692. When he returned to Massachusetts in May 1692, the chaos was in full force. Like many people then and now, he believed in astrology and witchcraft, but by the end of the year he was questioning the use of specters as evidence in the witch trials.
Specters, as historian Marilynne Roach describes it in one of our interviews for THE LAST WITCH, were basically like someone’s ghost except that you were still alive. That ghost could be coopted by the Devil to cause harm. The question was whether a person had to give their permission for the Devil to do so, or if the Devil could take over someone’s specter without their consent.
The use of spectral evidence was further complicated, because it seemed to be applied inconsistently. With eight people convicted to hang at the end of the month, while others were free to go after some fifty-odd trials in January 1693, Governor Phips had a lot to consider.