Student-produced Horror Film Premieres at Kent State

By Meghan Caprez

HHKent State University Independent Films (KSUIF) will roll out the red carpet on campus to release its third full-length feature film called Hell at Heathridge Thursday, Dec. 5.

The film follows a group of Heathridge University theater students who are cast in a reenactment of a murder-suicide that occurred on campus 20 years ago. As they continue to prepare for the show, ignoring the constant warnings from the only survivor of the attack, they are met with an evil none of the students are prepared to face.

Kent State seniors Tyler Pina and Caroline Abbey directed the film, aided by a group of both student and professional producers. Together, Pina and Abbey led more than 100 student volunteers throughout the pre-production, production and post-production stages of Hell at Heathridge.

“We have been working diligently on this project since last December,” Pina said. “I am extremely proud of my cast and crew. They are all incredibly talented and hardworking individuals that I know will continue to go far in the field of film-making. I think people will be surprised at the quality. I hope they feel like they are watching a film that a major production company put together. I know I’m excited to watch all of our hard work come together and see our completed film on the big screen.”

Traci Williams, associate lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and JMC Associate Professor David Smeltzer created KSUIF in 2008 for electronic media production students who expressed an interest in all three stages of film-making. Since its creation, KSUIF released its film Breaking News in 2010 and Research: The Musical in 2011.

Some students involved in Hell at Heathridge received class credit for their work as part of a 12-credit-hour series of courses created by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Pan-African Studies. The series of classes was offered throughout a three semester time period – 3 credits in the fall, 3 credits in the spring and 6 credits in the summer – and students were encouraged to register for any and all of the classes that fit in their schedule.

“I think with the new digital media production program at Kent State, the incredible class where students get to make an actual feature-length film and the tremendous growth of production taking place in Cleveland, it’s not going to be much longer until people start saying, ‘Go to Kent State for film-making,’” Pina said. “We’re already making a huge name for ourselves, as there really aren’t more than two or three schools that allow students to get this much hands-on experience in creating a full-length movie.”

The free red carpet premiere of Hell at Heathridge will take place Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The premiere, opening at 6:30 p.m., will feature a cash bar and appetizers before the film and a panel discussion with the directors, producers and actors after the film. KSUIF will offer an encore showing of the film at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Kent Student Center Kiva. Tickets for the encore showing cost $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Check out the movie trailer now!


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