With Prom King, 2010, Seattle University’s Christopher Schaap is Destined for Greatness

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“While I was studying abroad, I went to this wall in Prague where people can write things on it, and I thought it’d be funny to write ‘Prom King, 2010’ on it since I was being an obnoxious American, and was actually chosen as my high school’s prom king back in 2010. And then I thought to myself, ‘Wait, that’s a really good title for a movie.’”

Prom King, 2010, Seattle University Film Studies alumnus Christopher Schaap’s first full-length feature film, has been his intimate and special project since that inception of its title in Czech Republic. “After that, in fall quarter of 2013, during my senior year of college, I began working on [the film] bit by bit.”

And with the help of producer Isabella Jackson, it all eventually came to life.

Fast-forward to 2017, and ‘Prom King’ has not only been created, but Schaap is now—quite literally—soaring across the globe, promoting the film at festival after festival. Ranging from Toronto to Tel Aviv and everything in between, including two recent showings at the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the queer-centric Prom King, 2010 has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, and is currently sitting high and mighty on IMDb with an aggregate score of 8.2/10 (signaling universal acclaim). Christopher Schaap directed, wrote, acted as the lead star of the film. Not too shabby for an undergraduate from a university’s at-the-time new, nearly infant film studies program.

“I was the second or third graduating class from that program, actually,” Schaap mentioned. “The film studies department completely helped me create ‘Prom King.’ My whole language in how I talk about film, and how I watch films now, is what it is because I was a film major. I can articulate my thoughts of consuming film and reacting to it because of Seattle University. It was essential to me in making my own film; it was central to it. I loved film before I was a major; I learned how to actually make a film because of those classes.”

Little did Schaap know, though, that his creation would actually end up playing at theaters he used to go to all the time as a student, including the Cinema Uptown and the Egyptian Theater.

After graduation in 2014, Christopher Schaap packed his bags and shipped himself off to New York City, where Prom King, 2010 was eventually created. The film focuses on Charlie, the protagonist, and his navigation through young adulthood, homosexuality, and his complete naivety to just about anything related to love and romance. Not only did Schaap write and direct this film; he also played the lead role of Charlie, possibly leading some to wonder if there was any sort of autobiographical element to the film, considering how many pots his hands were in.

“It’s…semi [autobiographical]. That’s the safest answer,” Schaap nodded. “Charlie is certainly a character I’m close to. I took traits of my own and caricaturized them, and exaggerated them for the sake of the movie. I’m romantic, but Charlie is possessed by romance,” he emphasizes. This almost seemed to be the most glaring and obvious point that Schaap wanted to make in Prom King, 2010. There’s a difference between being romantic, and being driven by romance. Charlie undoubtedly ventures leaps and bounds beyond the latter, putting him in whatever category that may put him in.