CDA’s second short film of the year brings Paul to life

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CDA’s second short film of the year brings Paul to life

Kaitlyn Nickerson, Sports Editor

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Every year the Communication Department’s Cinema and Digital Arts (CDA) students create a short film as a project for film production, the capstone class of the emphasis.

“While it is predominantly that class, it also affects four other classes, Video Production 2, Editing, Journalism, Photography – all these different classes that come together to help make this a major production,” said Matt Green, an associate professor of communication and anchor professor within the CDA emphasis.

Students in the major fill most of the roles, including director, producer, costume designer, camera operator and editors.  

This spring’s short film is called “Prison Epistle” and it’s about the end of the Apostle Paul’s life when he is in prison in Rome writing 2 Timothy.

“In our story, he’s dictating 2 Timothy and has an interaction with a Centurion guard, and all this is building up to Paul’s execution,” Green said. “So it’s a pretty intense kind of drama.”

Unlike the Winterim film that was shot over the course of a few days, this film was shot all in one day with two different units working simultaneously.

“This is all typical of a major motion picture or TV show; you have a main unit that shoots all your main action. That’s dialogue and interaction with the main actors. And then we have a second unit, that’s going simultaneously, that’s shooting a bunch of other stuff, “ Green said.

Crew members spent Friday, the day before the shoot, building the main set.

“Our production designer, Natalie Gates, who is also the production designer for “The Fosters”, built our set completely out of foam. It is a completely built cave which also has a prison inside it,” said the film’s producer, Emmy Gaddy, a senior communications major.

As for the cast, Green decided to hire professional working actors.

“We want the level of acting to not be distracting. There’s a lot of things that can distract on a student short film and so we try to eliminate as many of those as possible. One quick way is to get professional actors,” said Green.

However, some students got to be involved as extras. Although,Gaddy got a call at 5:45 a.m. the day of the shoot with the news that one of their extras would not be able to make it.

“Luckily, Chris saved the day,” Gaddy said.

“This morning I got to a text about 7:30 in the morning, and it’s like ‘Hey our original guy’s sick, we really need you, can you come in from like 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.,” said Chris Payne, a freshman at TMU who is playing the courier who delivers Paul’s letters to Timothy.

“It’s really cool to see the actual actors who do it for a living who are doing their job,” said Niko Cummings, a freshman Bible major, who is playing a prisoner. “I am just so used to just doing funny skits with friends so it’s cool to see them get into character.”

Joseph Kamal, a professional actor portraying the Apostle Paul, said that there wasn’t really a difference in working on a student film.

“This is what it’s like on a film set,” said Kamal, sitting on a chair nearby the set as various crew members and actors walked to and from trailers. “A lot of people, 90 percent of them, you don’t know or know what they’re doing exactly, but luckily they are there and things go smoothly and things are going very smoothly today.”

The set around Kamal was very busy as actors in robes and sandals walked around making phone calls on their iPhones. At lunchtime the smell of tacos filled the air as Roman guards sat eating with people in headsets.

“It’s so cool to arrive on set and see so many trailers and teams of people and students working with professionals; this is a pretty big production and the comm. department has outdone themselves again,” said Avi Young, an extra playing the Scribe.

The short film wrapped Saturday night and will now go to post-production where the editing class will finish it up.

“A Hard Gamble” and “Prison Epistle” will both premier April 24 at the Edwards Valencia Stadium.