Siegel (11) works on set for upcoming movie, “American Sole”

Isabelle+Kim

Isabelle Kim

Athena Rem, Staff Writer

Sam Siegel (11) is pursuing his love for filmmaking outside of the classroom as a production assistant (PA) for “American Sole,” an upcoming film that follows two teenagers in the shoe-resale market as they try to pay off college debt. 

Siegel’s father heard about the opportunity from Jake Stein, the film’s producer and an old friend of his, Siegel said. He put Stein in contact with Siegel because of Siegel’s long-term interest in film. After sending in examples of his prior work, Siegel was accepted for the job.

One large point of interest in the movie is the involvement of younger people, Siegel said. For example, Stein is just 25 years old. For Siegel, this makes the film more relatable to a teenage audience. “A lot of the time, when studios make movies about younger people, you say ‘well that’s not what my life is actually like,’” he said. “The idea behind it was to go with younger people around the spectrum, so we have younger actors and also younger producers or directors.” The movie’s topic, the sneaker industry, is also more niche to teenagers, making the film even more relatable, he said.

Siegel started working on the film during the pre-production stage in late August. His responsibilities included organizing schedules with team members and sourcing necessary equipment, he said. “It’s the biggest logistics nightmare in the entire world.”

Over the course of pre-production, Siegel shuffled schedules to determine dates and times for shooting, he said. He also found catering companies and staff for hair and makeup to ensure shooting days run smoothly.

Working on the film has given Siegel a new perspective into the industry, he said. “A lot of people, including me, only see movies through the screen and not all the actual incredible amounts of work that go into making a movie.”

Once shooting commences in October, Siegel’s role as PA will entail a wide range of responsibilities, he said. “If somebody needs help or needs [me] to go get them lunch, that is what [I] do. It is just helping out in any way [I] can and learning at the same time.” 

Siegel applied his prior knowledge from school to his work with this official film, he said. Initially, he knew he had a passion for filmmaking when his parents bought him a camera in seventh grade. “I Googled how to work all the different parts and what everything does, and then it just kind of spiraled from there,” he said. 

After discovering this interest, Siegel signed up for a filmmaking class in eighth grade. The following summer, he attended the Horace Mann Summer Film Institute (HMSFI), a four-week workshop that led students through the filmmaking process, from writing a script to creating a finalized movie. HMSFI made Siegel truly fall in love with filmmaking, he said. “It is really helpful that I have worked on a larger crew before,” he said. “I know how to operate a camera because of that class.”

Though the filming of the movie will take place during the school year, Siegel hopes to find time to physically go to the set, primarily in New Jersey, and watch, he said. Siegel is excited for the upcoming shooting stage and is glad to be part of the team, he said.