Ansel LaPier, 8, is a quiet and shy second-grader at Liberty Lake Elementary School, until he gets in front of his own camera.
“The Quest” is a short film by Ansel, who came up with the script, filmed and even acted in it.
It took him three weeks to make the movie, which includes special effects and clay animation. It was worth the effort – he won a 2012 Reflections Outstanding Interpretation Award from the National PTA.
Ansel will be recognized during the National PTA convention next month in San Jose, Calif. He’ll also receive a certificate, a medallion, $800 for himself and $200 for Liberty Lake’s local parent group.
The theme of this year’s competition was diversity. Ansel’s entry had to revolve around that theme.
The film, which stars Ansel, follows King Ansel of Clanation, who barks orders at his faithful royal servant, played by Ansel’s older brother, Jonas, 13.
“Fetch me the fairest of the land,” he orders Jonas.
The subjects approach the king – all of them are clay animation, which Ansel said took a long time to film. He would place them in position, take a picture, move them and repeat the process.
“I dislike his orange socks,” the King proclaimed of one.
Each subject approaches the king. They are all different. One is tall, one has long hair, one has mismatched eyes. One is a roly-poly ball with eyes.
“Each of them is inspired by a family member,” said Wayne LaPier, Ansel’s father. The tall subject represents Wayne, the ball is Jonas and the subject with the long hair is Ansel’s mother, Tanya.
But in the end, the king decides everyone is OK just the way they are.
“Maybe there is no fairest in the land, but they are all equal,” the king proclaims. All of the clay characters then join the king in a dance.
“I liked trying to make a dance with all the clay characters and me,” he said.
Wayne LaPier said Ansel has been inspired in his filmmaking by Jonas, who also likes photography and making movies.
“Ansel kind of likes to be like his big brother,” Wayne LaPier said.
It’s not Ansel’s first try with filmmaking. Two years ago, as a kindergartner, he made “Beauty is Watching a Plant Grow.” The next year, he made “Together We Can Raise a Puppy,” starring one of his dogs, Harley.
When he’s not making movies, Ansel plays the cello and loves to read.
“He’ll read anything he can get his hands on,” said his teacher, Jenni Spear.
He hopes one day to become a scientist, and is already involved in robotics.
He’s really looking forward to his trip to California next month. While he’s there, he and Jonas plan to tour Stanford University.
He’s planning to use his winnings to buy an iPad and put away some for college.
Ansel and his mother plan to present the check to the Liberty Lake PTSA in front of the whole school before the end of the school year.