SALT LAKE CITY — Fourteen years ago, Savannah Ostler was a student at East Hollywood High School, a charter school in West Valley City, writing a screenplay she believed in.
“Loosely based” on her life, the screenplay, titled “Twice the Dream,” told the story of two sisters pursuing their dream of becoming musicians, when family tragedy strikes. But as a teenager, Ostler could only take the screenplay so far.
“Ever since then, it's been a roller coaster trying to get it made,” she told the Deseret News. “(I) had so many ups and downs and met a lot of producers that were interested in actually buying the script, but the caveat was (that) I couldn't be a part of it. And at the end of the day, since the script was so personal to me, I just couldn't sell it … so I decided to make it on my own.”
Ostler, who dreamed of becoming an actress and director from a young age, was finally able to get the funding to make the film on her own terms and get it into theaters. Her beloved script is now a movie that will premiere in select Megaplex Theatres April 19. So for Ostler, it's safe to say “Twice the Dream” is fulfilling at least one dream.
Ostler stars as one of the sisters in the movie, which was filmed in Utah, with the other sister played by former Brigham Young University student Monica Moore Smith.
“It’s about the sisters' journey and their very strong sense of sisterhood and bond and their pursuit of this musical dream,” Ostler said. “And then all of a sudden, tragedy strikes that challenges the dream and in the end, (the family realizes) that it was the dream that was holding the family together.”
The film's focus on achieving dreams has taken on new meaning for Ostler, whose journey to the big screen was far from straightforward.
“I remember one night in particular,” Ostler recalled. “I was just waiting tables as a cocktail waitress trying to help us get by and … we had another financing fall through. … It felt like the dozenth time, and it just really hit me. … It was really hard to get really excited, then to be let down, and then get excited again and then let down; it was just kind of like a vicious cycle.
“I remember being on the phone with my mom and I was bawling,” she continued. “I'm like, ‘Why is it so hard? I just want to make this movie. We just want to make this movie. Why is it so hard?’ And I remember being really hard on myself, thinking, ‘Why am I so stupid to think I can actually do this?’ And (my mom said), ‘Well, can you?’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about mom? Of course I can.’”
Thanks to her mother’s tough love, Ostler decided to keep trying to find funding for the film, regardless of the emotional toll it was taking. That persistence proved worthwhile, as moviegoers will now be able to see the story that's been a part of her life for 14 years unfold on the big screen.
As far as who she hopes the film will reach? That answer goes back to her days as an aspiring filmmaker at East Hollywood High School.
“I (hope) ideally, a young tween or teen girl who may be struggling in school, maybe somebody who doesn't have a lot of friends or gets bullied will watch the film,” she said. “I know I was teased for my ambitions of being an actress and director. (People would say), ‘Oh, you're never going to be it. You're never going to do it.’ Kids (can be) so mean.
“I would love to show those young, impressionable kids with dreams, that dreams are possible,” she continued. “It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be a walk in the park. But if I could just ignite that spark, especially in any young person, that would make it all worthwhile.”