PAVE guest speaker inspires students to follow their dreams

PAVE guest speaker inspires students to follow their dreams
Posted on 08/30/2018
Teenager talks to another classmate during art classARLINGTON, Tenn. (Arlington Community Schools) – Just two years ago, Tina Quarles lived in another state, another town, another school district. She had an interest in filmmaking, but her options were limited when it came to exploring the fire that burned within her.

“My old school didn’t have a film program. Film, what’s that?” she joked. Whether it was fate or luck, she had the opportunity to transfer to Arlington High School, where she not only found a film program but also other students of like-minded interests.

Quarles’ love for cinematography sparked years ago. As a little kid, she said, she’d imagine fantasy stories in her head, elaborate tales just waiting to be heard. She hoped those stories would someday inspire an audience in more ways than one. Last year, she saw that come to life after her film, Amber, won Best Performance in the Memphis Youth Indie Film Festival – the film was also screened at the 2017 Indie Memphis Film Festival.

Students in the PAVE Fine Arts Academy pose with local and award-winning filmmaker Kevin Brooks during an after-school event sponsored by the River Arts Festival.

“I now have so many more opportunities, like the PAVE Academy, that’s allowing me to expand my horizons,” Quarles said. One of those opportunities came this week, when the PAVE Fine Arts Academy brought in Kevin Brooks, a local and award-winning filmmaker, to speak to the students.

Like Quarles, Brooks found an interest in filmmaking as a kid – he loved the movie The Matrix for its ability to not only convey an interesting storyline but also for
its philosophical themes. The 25-year-old University of Memphis grad has already won several awards and honors, including being selected for the Sundance Ignite Program, a prestigious program for rising filmmakers.

Brooks spoke to the PAVE students about storytelling, his successes, and also his triumphs and doubts. “I think sharing my knowledge with high schoolers is super important because they’re in a time of their life when they’re trying to figure out what they want to do next,” Brooks said. “It’s important they know that I have the same anxieties and fears and insecurities that they have, but I tell them that following their dreams is worth the leap.”

For Quarles, who’s in her junior year at AHS, hearing Brooks talk about those fears helps her to stay the course. “Knowing that he has the same struggles that I do is inspiring,” she added. “No matter what you go through, you can always come back and make something great.”

“At first, I only wanted to be a director, but now that I’ve had these opportunities, I want to do more,” Quarles added about her experiences in school and PAVE. “I now want to be a cinematographer, a writer, an editor – so many doors are open now because of being exposed these opportunities.”

Quarles will return to the big screen this Saturday for her latest film, Nothing Gold Can Stay, during the Indie Memphis Youth Film Fest’s CrewUP Mentorship Screening. Fellow AHS classmate Emily Coates will also be featured in the grand-prize screening for her film, The Love Note.

This presentation, sponsored by the River Arts Festival, is part of Arlington High’s PAVE Fine Arts Academy, a Performing Arts and Visual Fine Arts Academy that allows students to specialize in concentrated arts fields, including Visual Arts, Film & Video, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music and Speech & Debate. To learn more about the PAVE Fine Arts Academy, visit the PAVE website.