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Farley’s Last Hurrah

By Jack Sexton '21

Prior to mainstream television and readily available movies and shows through Netflix, cinematic art was more highly valued. As luck would have it, Saint Thomas Academy is fortunate to have filmmakers like Jacob Farley and Pawel Williams who are trying to restore art to cinema through their short film works. 

Jacob Farley began writing short films and vlogs for his Youtube Channel, Farley Films, during the beginning of his sophomore year of high school. “My first video was mainly about having  fun rather than actually trying to create what people wanted to see,” Farley said, “but after I received over 200 views on my first video in the first week, I was inspired to do more.” His first video, “Eggnog,”he says, consisted of horrible acting, which made the piece so comical. In the film, Nick Tucci, one of the main characters, begins throwing up blue goo after drinking a carton of eggnog. Anyone who comes into contact with this mysterious eggnog becomes extremely violent, killing anyone in their path. 

Jacob was not interested in becoming a famed Saint Thomas Academy Youtuber, but wanted to create the content he enjoyed: “I never planned on making as many videos as I have,” Jacob responded, “it just sort of happened, [and] I wouldn’t change anything about my beginning.”

Since beginning his cinematic journey, Jacob has made over 60 videos, between vlogs and short films. His final film, The Final Farley Film, is expected to come out on June 13th. Without giving away too much, the film features a group of friends traveling back in time into “Eggnog,” fighting to save their friend from a man infected with the mind-altering concoction. 

This “Eggnog” finale will complete his high school filmmaking career: “This is the last one. After this, it is time for me to move on to more complex films, focusing on developing a career in film instead of focusing on vlogs.” 

While Jacob hopes to pursue more complex films, his current work is notably nuanced and full of stunning visual effects and clever plot twists. In One Night, a high school girl, enjoying herself at the quintessential high school rager, is approached near the bathroom by a stranger, who is deliberately shot from the neck down to preserve his anonymity. When the anonymous stranger attempts to force himself on her, she finds a way to escape, making her way outside. Visibly shaken and still recovering from the harrowing encounter,  she is approached by a second man, a “Good Samaritan type,” (who looks remarkably like Devin Klein). Swayed by his seeming kindness and concern for her, she lets her guard down, only to discover that this is the very man she just narrowly escaped. 

Like a young David Lynch,  Jacob’s scenes are able to encapsulate a world beyond the well-groomed appearances people wear at school, demonstrating the darker reality that lurks beneath the surface of many people we see everyday. His scenes often illustrate how innocent high school kids can get easily led astray or ambushed in seemingly safe or familiar scenarios--often by people they trust.  

This exploration of appearance versus reality is one of the reasons that Jacob’s work has found broad appeal and support from his classmates: “I think what is truly amazing for me to see is the outreach my classmates have shown,” Jacob stated when asked about this support. “I cannot believe the compliments my classmates have given me regarding my work and how [they] persistently ask when the next film will be out. This film (One Night) is one of my favorites because of how much work and time I...put into this. I spent roughly around 40 or so hours making this film, [beyond] the writing, acting and editing what we had already filmed,” he said. “I also really liked being able to work alongside my friends to create a film that turned out so well and that so many people liked.”

His career in filmmaking, however, will not stop there. In the fall of 2020, he plans to attend the University of Colorado Boulder where he will pursue his dream on a professional level. Fortunately for Jacob, his hard work and learned lessons will serve him well: “What I have learned throughout my filming is that no matter how strong your work is, the most important part about creating is having confidence. If you do not believe, no one will listen to you.” Jacob believes in his creative work, and this confidence will undoubtedly continue to drive his growth and success as a filmmaker.