Scary student film set to re-premiere Friday

Kristi Lawrence as Faith in "The Little Tavern in the Woods."

When COVID-19 caused schools and businesses to close and events to be canceled last spring, one of the first sacrifices was a spooky student film debut at Maricopa High School.

This week, 804 Film Co. is back, finally ready to screen “The Little Tavern in the Woods.” The premiere is set for Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

Tickets are $5 (cash only), and seating will be socially distanced. The lobby opens at 5:30 p.m. for the pre-show and other fun things. After the short film, patrons can meet the cast and crew and watch a blooper reel.

The event is contingent upon safe campus conditions regarding coronavirus. Attendees must wear facemasks and follow one-way foot traffic in the facility.

“The Little Tavern in the Woods” is just in time for Halloween. Director Kaden Rogers, co-president of 840 Film Co., summed up the plot as “human taxidermy.” The owners of a Wisconsin tavern bypassed by society stew in their anger until they come up with a psychopathic way to get customers back in the tavern.

While the club got adults act in the film, the students were in charge behind the scenes.

Zoie Zimpleman is the only member of the film club who appears in the movie, playing the granddaughter of the tavern owners. They are played by Desert Wind teacher Joe Szoltysik and Butterfield Elementary teacher Liz Zimpleman. Volunteers Kristi Lawrence and Charlie Rogers play a pair of hikers who come across the tavern.

The plot is based on a short story by Szoltysik.

Joseph Abel was the director of photography. Denver Bryant was primary editor and Bailey Rigby was assistant director.


Maricopa High School student Zoie Zimpleman as Luck in “The Little Tavern in the Woods.”