The Alcuin junior recently premiered his film Story Time in front of a large crowd of eager cinema fans during the festival’s High School Shorts program over the course of two days. The experience, he said, was a game-changer.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” said Turner, a student in Ms. Tamitha Curiel’s film class who began borrowing Curiel’s film equipment when he was in middle school. “It gave me a perspective on how far I can go with film projects in the future.”
Turner, who has premiered films at the Dallas International Film Festival, the Pegasus Film Festival, the Denton Black Film Festival, and the All-American Film Festival in New York City, said he was awestruck by the sheer size and scope of South by Southwest, as well as the festival’s “Who’s Who” roster of stars walking the red carpet, including Donald Glover, Rosario Dawson, Ron Howard, Kid Cudi, Nicholas Cage, and Sandra Bullock. Since its inception in 1987, South by Southwest has grown exponentially and become one of the world’s most recognizable showcase venues for rising and established artists in film, music, and comedy.
is Turner’s most ambitious project to date. In an interview with NPR’s Consider This podcast
, Turner said writing Story Time
was the easy part; filming and post-production were the hard parts. Completing both took an entire year because of the pandemic. Story Time
follows the narrator of a fictitious television show who reads fairy tales to children, only to find that the stories don’t have their expected ending. Turner said the idea started as a joke, but quickly materialized into a full-fledged script.
“Someone (in film class) had the idea of making dark fairy tales, and we all froze and thought it was the dumbest-sounding thing we’d ever heard,” Turner said. “But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and by dinner that night I thought ‘Yeah, there’s something to this.’”
Story Time marks a turning point for Turner’s development as a filmmaker, which he describes as genre-blending.
“I would say that Story Time is me starting to develop my own style of filmmaking,” Turner said. “If I were to tell someone what a Stanley Turner film is, I would point to Story Time.”
On a cool, March evening, a few of Turner’s Alcuin peers joined him on the red carpet; a signal, Curiel said, of just how much Turner has earned their respect, admiration, and collaboration.
“They respect his artistry and his work ethic, so getting people to participate in his projects is not hard,” Curiel said. “He keeps writing, collaborating and making films and that’s inspiring to others in so many ways.”