On Monday, Sept. 15, a cast and crew of about 40 professionals and students transformed the IPR student commons into a dimly lit bar. “The Institution” served as the headquarters for Nick, a down-on-his-luck hit man, a character in the student/professional collaborative short film CTRL+ALT+DEL.
This project is the third in a series of short films that are part of the coursework for the Digital Video and Media Production degree at IPR. The shorts are the work of DVMP instructor Andrew Hunt but are definitely the result of a cooperative effort within the department and the college.
Hunt taps into his students to help brainstorm ideas and develop the story, and for CTRL+ALT+DLT, he enlisted DVMP chair Trey Wodele, who served as Assistant Director on the short film.
“It’s a dangerous thing to give a guy like me the “green light” on a project,” Hunt declares. “And [DVMP Chair] Trey Wodele has given us that light three times with IPR… this time around, Trey was with us the whole time. Nothing is cooler than two grown men sitting behind a monitor trying not to lose it when the cameras start rolling.”
“This project, this series of shorts, it’s Andy’s baby and he deserves all the credit,” says Wodele, “I just helped make sure that everything went smoothly, that we stayed on schedule, and that between IPR and our partners at Z Systems and Cynequipt, we had all the gear we needed.”
IPR partners with Z Systems to provide students access to professional camera equipment. This project was shot on a Sony F55, the same camera used to shoot major motion pictures like Ex Machina, A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Homesman, and Annie, and TV series’ like Marco Polo and The Blacklist. Cynequipt also partners with IPR to help students have access high-quality gear.
Wodele credits the two companies for their support of emerging local filmmakers. “Both Z Systems and Cynequipt are instrumental to what we are doing here at IPR,” remarked Wodele, “They are both strong advocates and supporters of the local film community.”
The short film, a gritty comedy about a father contacting a hitman to take out his son, features actors Matt Roy (I am Not a Serial Killer, Wilson, In an Instant) and local character actor Kevin Lokey. Thirteen IPR DVMP students worked in various departments, and a dozen more volunteered to serve as extras at the bar.
The 12+ hour shoot started on Monday at 6 p.m. and went overnight to take advantage of the darkness. On Tuesday morning, there were more than a few students napping on the couches in the commons.
DV High School Advantage student Christopher Anema had his first experience on a professionally-run film set. Christopher finished up his first class – a screenwriting class at IPR this term.
“Being on the set of CTRL+ALT+DEL opened my eyes to how scripts truly impact and inspire a film. I could see my own vision of how I imagined the film taking place but the film had a whole different feel than I imagined, but that’s what made it so interesting to see.”
Both the pros and the students had a great deal to say on social media:
“Great cast, great crew. IPR students are the best.” Jenilee Parks, Sound Mixer and IPR Sound Design for Visual Media graduate.
“The whole process was inspirational.” Stanley Partyka, IPR Student.
“So grateful to have gotten the opportunity to tag along on this one! Y’all are the greatest! It was such a fantastic experience. Thanks for letting me jump on board!” Anna Stranz, Actress (Superhuman, Miles Between Us).
“[CTRL+ALT+DLT] was an absolute pleasure!! Great cast, crew and experience! Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Matt Roy.
In addition to CTRL+ALT+DLT Hunt, his professional colleagues, and the DVMP students have produced two shorts, Personal Space, which won multiple awards at the 2016 Z Fest, and Reset, which is currently in post-production. The next project will be produced this spring. Hunt and Wodele are already tossing ideas back and forth with students.
And Hunt is eager to get started, “Nothing makes me prouder than to watch my students do their thing alongside a crew of professionals.”
“One thing we do know about the next short,” says Wodele with a wink, “it will not be shot overnight. The students might be OK with overnighters, but Andy and I, we’re getting too old for that.”