By Brandon Koziol
Kent State students have had their cameras rolling again this summer as they create their third feature film, “Hell at Heathridge.” The group launched a FundAnything campaign to support the production. Financial contributions will go towards production necessities such as camera and audio equipment, props, wardrobe and set meals.
Written by former student Bryan Kelly, the terror-filled tale weaves the story of five young actors who reenact a grisly murder-suicide that occurred at Heathridge University 20 years ago. However, they come to realize it’s not just a simple reenactment. The students soon learn one thing – evil is real.
At this time, more than 100 aspiring student filmmakers, volunteers and university departments are coming together to produce this film. From creating the costumes, to composing the music – everything is original.
“Nobody else is doing this,” Executive Producer Estee Hodge said. “Not even world renowned film schools.”
The students are giving up this entire summer to shoot the film from June 10 through Aug. 3. Seniors Tyler Pina and Caroline Abbey are directing the entire film and overseeing everyone involved.
“This is a rare opportunity to get a chance to put together a feature-length film,” Pina said. “Anyone supporting us is helping us achieve our dreams and goals.”
They will call “cut” on Aug. 3, and the finished product will then premiere in front of hundreds at a red-carpet event scheduled for later this fall. Soon after, “Hell at Heathridge” will hit international and national film festivals. The producers are also looking to secure a distribution deal for the movie.
JMC Associate Lecturer Traci E. Williams and JMC Associate Professor David Smeltzer are overseeing this student-run project. Williams has worked with Hollywood icons such as George Clooney and Denzel Washington, while Smeltzer is an award-winning documentarian for his film “Lucy in Disguise.” Hodge is also on board, bringing her 16 years in the industry to the table.
The students involved with the project are truly dedicated and motivated to see this production come to life. Not only are they using this experience to help launch their careers, but they are making a name for Kent State University and filmmaking in Ohio as well.
For more information or to make a donation, please visit KSU Independent Films’ FundAnything campaign by clicking here.