Bryce Hatch with his wife Tawnya and children, Emily and Christion (Sarah is not pictured)
Jock, Geek, Snob, Airhead, Wannabe, and Goth are some of the labels used to classify high school students and create social barriers. In local filmmaker Bryce Hatch's new movie, Stamped!, he breaks down these stereotypes and delves into the teenage psyche behind them.

"This movie has a good message about stereotypes," Bryce says. "You're not always who people think you are. There are classifications: if you're athletic, you must be a jock; if you're a cheerleader, you must be blonde. People think that, but the reality is that's not who we are."

Stamped! premiered at the Fox Theatre in February complete with red carpet, limousines, and paparazzi. Bryce says for him, opening night was a "surreal" experience.

Bryce teaches English and feature filmmaking classes at Frontier High School. He says he tapped into some of his own experiences as a teacher to make the scenes realistic. Stamped! takes place in a modern-day high school as students make up a Saturday state test. The characters include a teenage misfit, a haughty socialite, a blockhead jock, a smart homeboy, and a quiet Latina. Bryce says the movie is a lighter, more up-to-date version of the 1980s film, The Breakfast Club.

He wrote the script in two months and the film was shot in a two-week period during the summer of 2007 on the Frontier High School campus. Bryce says this was a "real grassroots project" where the students were involved in every step of the process including auditions in Los Angeles to hire the movie's five main actors. The rest of the cast was from Bakersfield, and the students worked as crew members and extras.

Bryce credits the success of this film to many people, especially his wife, Tawnya. He also says that Andrew Waite and Jason Sanders of Higher Definition Media were technical geniuses and created "beautiful artwork with this film." And, he says, without faith, this project would not have been completed.

"The Lord's hand was in it," Bryce says. "There were so many things that could go wrong, and did go wrong, to shut this film down. If God wasn't there, this film would not exist."

In the past, Bryce was offered a substantial sum of money for his screenplay, R&J, a modern-day version of Romeo and Juliet. He said the company that wanted to buy the film wanted to change the script and he would have "no control" of the final product. "This made me very uncomfortable," he says. "So, I walked away."

Bryce wants to make sure his films are made to his ethical standards: no nudity, no sex, no foul language, and no explicit violence. He and his wife created Inspiration Studios to produce their movies, of which Stamped! became their first feature film. In the next few years, the studio plans to produce R&J and The Dragon 13, a high school football script.

With his wife and three children, Emily, Christion, and Sarah, Bryce says he has no plans to leave Bakersfield for the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. "I really like the community spirit we have here in Bakersfield," he says. "I think we have a sense of family here that doesn't exist in a lot of places."

In 2006, Bryce had the opportunity of a lifetime: a trip to the Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France. He said the experience was "phenomenal", and he made a lot of international connections.

During school hours, you can find Bryce working his movie magic on the campus of Frontier High School. He was hired to assist in the creation of the digital media program, which includes photography, web design, filmmaking, and video production. With a full-functioning sound stage and professional equipment, his students produce a five-minute daily morning show for the entire student body to watch. Some of his other classes are creating a situation comedy and their own feature films.

If you would like more information about Stamped! or another upcoming feature film, visit www.stampedthemovie.com or call Bryce Hatch at 747-2934.

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