"Young Creator Defies Odds to Bring Spine-Tingling Tale to Life"

Members of the cast: Mia Garcia, Sam Garcia, Piper Jones, and Willa Kate

“8-Year-Old Filmmaker with Dyslexia and Team Successfully Fundraise $8,000 for Chilling Short Film 'The Haunted Belldown School'"

Ironton, MO, June 26, 2024 – Willa Kate, an 8-year-old with dyslexia, alongside a dedicated team of filmmakers and local talent, celebrates a triumphant conclusion to their crowdfunding campaign. Together, in combination with a grant received from The Missouri Humanities Council, they have successfully raised $8,000 to produce the compelling short film "The Haunted Belldown School."

Set in a small, rural Missouri town, "The Haunted Belldown School" follows Lily and her homeschooling friends Emma and Jake as they uncover the chilling secrets of the abandoned Belldown School. Their curiosity leads them on a midnight adventure where they encounter vengeful ghost children and confront malevolent teachers from their town’s dark past.

Written by 8-year-old Willa Kate McCarter, who drew from personal experiences with dyslexia and homeschooling, the film's narrative is infused with authenticity and depth, showcasing the resilience of its young creators.

Producer Pearce Healey and Willa Kate filming.

The campaign received overwhelming support from backers and sponsors, highlighting widespread belief in the project's message of courage, friendship, and resilience.

Key Team Members:

Willa Kate (Writer/Producer/Lead Actor), Trevor Juenger (Director), Pearce Healey (Cinematographer/Producer), and Emma Thatcher (Consulting Producer) bring their unique talents to craft a film that promises to captivate audiences with its haunting visuals and powerful storytelling.

Willa Kate McCarter said,”Fundraising was difficult, but the support means a lot to me because I really want to make The Haunted Belldown School. I want everyone to know they can do anything even if they are different.”

Movie Poster

Supporters are invited to continue following the journey of "The Haunted Belldown School" as it progresses towards production in July 2024 and eventual release this Fall.



Press Kit:

Wills Kate, filmmaker


Location: The Arcadia Academy