Film club prepping to shoot first short film

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The Appalachian Online

Jordan Williams

Appalachian Film Club, the university’s first official film club, is preparing to shoot its first short film, “Whimsy.”

Recruitment for the club was started in September 2014 by Melanie Lech, junior creative writing and theatre major.  The club became official in December of the same year. The club spends time working on different projects and watching and discussing films.

“I’ve always been interested in film, but we don’t have a production major here, so I was like, ‘Well, I’ll join a club!’” Lech said. “Then there wasn’t a club, so I was like, ‘Well, I’ll start a club!’ So I did.”

“Whimsy” is an adaptation of a short play written by Appalachian alumna Connor Cook, who wrote the play as an assignment during her senior year. Cook’s version of the script was originally a comedy that focused on a conversation between two strangers; however, directors Tyler Sullivan and Barry Jones have rewritten the film to make it more of a psychological thriller. The actors for the film auditioned and screen tested in order to get the perfect fit. The chosen cast are senior theatre arts major Katelyn Sabet, sophomore psychology major Alex Tanner and senior accounting major Zachary Sherbondy.

The process of creating the short film included finding and securing a location for shooting, setting up video and audio and setting dates to shoot started at the beginning of the semester.

AFC is currently organized “committee style,” meaningstudents run a committee of their own. Students in the club then choose which committees they want to be on, which include production, screenwriting, legal, advertising, budget and directing.

“Gauging an interest was easy, but actually figuring out the ropes and the legislation and getting the ball rolling took a while,” Lech said. “We had a ton of ideas, so honing in on what to focus on first was a big challenge.”

AFC adviser and film professor KC Clemons said the way the club members are able to learn from and teach one another is enchanting. Clemons and adjunct film instructor Sarah Davis, the club’s “unofficial” adviser, provide advice, guidance and instruction on the filmmaking process, as well as help students build professional connections.

“Watching the students in action – whether the group is analyzing a film or working together on a committee – is fascinating,” Clemons said. “These students are motivated, goal-oriented and work through conflicts.”

Lech said sociology professor Beth Davidson was the club’s first guest speaker recently and spoke of her own experiences in the documentary film business as well as her brand new documentary film, “Denim Dynasty.” She also spoke of the different film and documentary festivals in North Carolina and what the club could do to possibly gain more experience.

“Once we’re a little more experienced, we’d like to make music videos for local bands and to collaborate with ASU Documentary Services to host a documentary and film festival in 2016,” Lech said. “There is definitely something for everyone.”

AFC also has events being planned for the near future, including a presentation on April 15 from Boone-based production company Wonderland Woods, as well as a screenwriting workshop April 22 from Glenn Bruce, a professor at Appalachian.

AFC meets every Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. in the Bass Lake room of Plemmons Student Union. The club plans to begin shooting for “Whimsy” in mid-April.

STORY: Jordan Williams, Intern A&E Reporter