Mont Alto Film Project moves on to principal photography

A group of Penn State Mont Alto students who began producing a full-length motion picture last year are now busy each weekend through Nov. 7 with principal photography. The Mont Alto Film Project is a practicum in filmmaking offered over four semesters (two academic years); it is in its second year. The film, described as a mystery with traces of horror, is a low-budget, independent production led entirely by a group of Mont Alto students and their faculty adviser, Kevin Boon. “The Film Project is an opportunity for students to be directly involved in film production, from conception to completion,” said Boon, who first envisioned the project 10 years ago when he realized that advances in technology had drastically reduced the cost of film production.

Professional actors auditioned and were cast in nine principal roles. Supporting roles and extras are largely held by Mont Alto students.

Principal roles:

Emma (lead): Katherine Ada Howard of Martinsburg, W.V.
Ben (lead): Matthew Baldoni of Berryville, Va.
John (lead): Johnno Wilson of Washington, D.C.
Lori: Amanda Kohberger of Effort, Pa.
Blake: Robert Dorsey of Newark, Del.
Steve: Brandon Rice from the Baltimore, Md. area
Mitch: Tyler La Marr of Pasadena, Md.
Chase: Karl Bittner of Mclean, Va.
Owen: Patrick Ackley of Stafford, Va.

“In a best case scenario,” said Boon, “the end result will be a watchable film suitable for film festivals. In a worst-case scenario, students learn a great deal about the difficulties inherent in producing a full-length film. In either case, students get a hands-on educational experience.”

The Mont Alto Film Project is divided into four parts: During the first semester, students decided on a feature film and hashed out creative ideas until they had a workable script. During the second semester, they engaged in pre-production activities, such as location scouting, casting and storyboarding. During the third (current) semester, they are completing principal photography.  During the final semester, they will be involved in post-production activities, such as editing, looping, and sound engineering.

Students in the Mont Alto Film Project are gaining hands-on experience in all elements of filmmaking while earning 12 credits toward their education.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010