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Young Filmmakers Go 'Airborne'

Eric Ugland (left) and Jordan Imbrey making final edits to their film, Airborne.

A couple of Myers Park High School students have caused a stir among their peers this year with a series of superhero movies. The first two films debuted to rave reviews in their school auditorium. Hundreds of kids turned out. But this Sunday, the 18-year-old moviemakers who fancy themselves a younger version of the Coen Brothers are hoping for a wider audience with a free screening of episode three in their superhero series at the Epicentre Theater Uptown. WHAT: Airborne Trilogy (consists of 3 25-minute films to be shown in sequence) WHERE: Epicentre Theaters, uptown Charlotte WHEN: 12 p.m. Sunday, August 8 It's down to the final touches on the movie. Eric Ugland is hunched over a microphone, kissing the back of his hand. It's a spin-the-bottle scene, so they just need quick little pecks for sound effects. The movie's set in high school - of course. Eric works the camera. Jordan Imbrey is the star. He also wrote the screenplay. "My name is Airborne," he says in one scene. "What, like the virus?" retorts the ne'er-do-well Airborne has come to thwart. Jordan says the idea for the film came to him one day in physics class. "I was thinking about why superheroes was one of my favorite genres, and I realized my favorite scene in every superhero movie has been the scenes where they're learning to use their superhero powers," says Jordan. "So I thought what if I take a story and put it all in that time period where a character's learning throughout the series? " The "Airborne" film series features a high school kid Jordan calls a "comic dork." "He can't talk to girls and he doesn't really know how to be a superhero," says Jordan. "I would say he's kind of like a caricature of me and then made way dorkier." Sure. Jordan and Eric take physics and calculus. They compete in Odyssey of the Mind. They spend their free time making movie superheroes. But they're not dorks. Really. The Airborne movies have definitely helped their social status. "It kinda hit me when I walked into Brooklyn Pizza one day and the waitress said, 'Oh you're in that Airborne movie!'" says Jordan. And Eric says they've received a lot more "friend requests" on Facebook now than ever before. "And from a lot of people I don't know at our school," he adds. Their partnership started in the 4th grade, with a Star Wars spoof about a couple of guys working in a milk factory and a villain called Darth Water. Making movies turned out to be cheap fun. The budget for the first "Airborne" film was $12 which they spent on a pair of glasses for the lead character. "Everything else we did from what we had laying around," says Eric. Like the purple wetsuit that washed up at Eric's lake house years ago and is now Airborne's official superhero costume. Jordan says he wrote a lot of the funny moments in the film based on things that happened in real life. "This one time when I was in 7th grade this kid came up to me with this mechanical pencil and he'd added all these grips and things hanging off of it and he holds it up and he's like, 'Check this bad boy out,'" says Jordan. That scene appears almost word for word in the second film of the Airborne series. "We embrace awkwardness," says Eric. "If you can recognize it and appreciate it, it ends up being really funny." They both keep journals in their pockets to write down the random things people do and say for use later in their films. Jordan's taking his pocket journal to UNC Chapel Hill this fall for a degree in film. Eric is off to the Savannah College of Art and Design. College is breaking up the partnership and the public premiere of their superhero trilogy is kind of their big finale. So, does the dorky Airborne get the girl in the end? Come to the screening on Sunday and find out, they say. In addition to being ambitious artists, they're also very savvy self-promoters. Catch a glimpse of their work and view an Airborne movie trailer at http://www.jordan.imbrey.com/.