“Prepper” premiere displays Patterson’s passion for film, students

Sakshi Venkatraman, Executive News Editor

As hundreds of guests flooded into the modest sized Texas Theatre in Dallas last night, Coppell High School AP Human Geography teacher Andrew Patterson saw two years worth of work come to fruition.

“This has been a long journey,” he said. “I am so excited about this evening. It has been a really tough road, we hit so many roadblocks. But, you know, we just kept going and here we are.”

Since the summer of 2015, director Patterson and lead performers Jay Bowdy and Rachel Dee have worked tirelessly on “Prepper”, which premiered at 8:15 p.m. after VIP guests and members of the cast and crew walked a red carpet near the entrance of the theater.

The film centered around a couple, James (Bowdy) and Sarah (Dee) McAllister, who begin preparing for society’s collapse after noticing warning signs- mainly the rapid spread of the Ebola virus. According to Patterson, the movie’s message was one of unity in a disconnected time.

“I look around the world and I feel very blessed,” Patterson said. “But I also know it wouldn’t take much for everything to collapse. Think about the election and how everyone’s kind of divided. This film is about bringing people together.”

Lead actress Dee arrived to the red carpet with her husband just before the film’s premiere. Though she has worked on a number of short films over the past few years, she says Patterson’s script was special because of its meaningful message.

“It was a really down to earth role, which was something I could really connect with,” Dee said. “I really liked the message behind the story and [Patterson] was so professional. Working with him was amazing because he makes you feel like he really believes in you.”

Unlike his counterpart who has been acting since childhood, lead actor Jay Bowdy had been playing professional basketball until 2014, when a suggestion from a friend jumpstarted his career as a performer. Bowdy’s initial interest wasn’t in playing the lead role; however, “as soon as he walked in the room”, Patterson knew he was the perfect fit.

“This project is special because it has meaning,” Bowdy said. “It’s not a pointless movie. It actually educated me through the whole process and it’s a very true film. Everything about the project is great – I couldn’t wait for people to see it.”

From filming, to acting, to ushering at the premiere, current and former students of Patterson’s stepped up to help him. Emily Edens, a former AP Human Geography student who helped Patterson with shooting and production, says getting her feet wet in the film industry solidified her passion for the job.

“Working with [Patterson] was amazing,” Edens said. “It’s so great to see how it’s possible to pursue your dreams without being in Hollywood or New York. He does what he wants to do and is still successful.”

Patterson, who interacted with the numerous amount of his students present at the event, says he couldn’t have made “Prepper” happen without the help and support of CHS students.  

“Coppell High School is amazing,” Patterson said. “No joke. This film would not be happening without Coppell High School. My students were amazing, they were supportive emotionally, they acted in the film, they were on the production team, they were just awesome.”

After Patterson walked the red carpet with his wife Lara, the crowd bought popcorn and drinks and took their seats to see the work come to life on screen.

“It’s exciting to see it all come together. It took us two years to put it together,” Lara said after seeing the film for the first time. “To be able to sit in a theater and experience this all together has been absolutely amazing.”

Staff writer Farah Merchant contributed to this report.

Follow Sakshi Venkatraman on Twitter @oompapa1.