Faculty-produced, full-length film set for Oct. 20 debut

September 29, 2004

"Hooray for Mister Touchdown," a full-length feature film produced by a husband-and-wife faculty team, will make its regional premiere at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Palmer Museum of Art on the Penn State University Park campus. Set in the 1930s, the romantic comedy follows a college football player who gets kidnapped by bookmaking gangsters before the big game of the season. For pictures from the movie, go to http://live.psu.edu/still_life/2004_09_29_touchdown/index.html

Rod Bingaman, a senior lecturer in film/video, wrote the script and directed the film, while his wife, Maura Shea, also a senior lecturer in film/video, produced the film. Professional actors handle the lead roles but numerous faculty and staff members from the College of Communications play parts in the film.

Faculty and staff making their on-screen debuts include: Clay Calvert, associate professor of communications and law; Julie Evak, administrative assistant to the associate dean for undergraduate education; Russell Frank, associate professor of communications; Kevin Hagopian, lecturer in media studies; and Jamey Perry, director of academic services. In addition, the production staff for the movie included nearly 30 recent graduates and students from the College of Communications and its Department of Film/Video and Media Studies.

The idea of the script began shortly after Bingaman and Shea moved from Boston to State College. Inspired by Depression-era buildings in and around the Penn State community, Bingaman built the film off a one-line entry in his notebook, "sports book for boys."

"The story evolved into something much more as I learned about the 1930s and began to explore a series of personal questions," Bingaman said. "If I had to describe the film in a word, I would say 'faith.' Faith in yourself, faith in perception and faith in what you believe."

Location shots for the film were conducted on campus as well as at locations such as the Garman Opera House in Bellefonte, Chumley's Bar on College Avenue, historic Memorial Field in downtown State College and a local barbershop.

The film represents the second full-length feature for Bingaman and Shea and their production company, Ma & Pa Pictures. Their first film, "A Holiday Affair," was shot in 1999. It received the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Brooklyn Film Festival in 2000.

Bingaman is a former Boston-based filmmaker and humorist with 15 years of industry experience, including work on feature films, commercials, broadcast television and corporate communications. Among his credits is the award-winning short film "Why Wilbur Bowls …" He was the recipient of the Deans' Excellence Award for Teaching in 2001. He teaches basic filmmaking, technical topics, directing and product administration.

Shea also is a former Boston-based filmmaker and editor who now teaches non-linear editing and beginning and advanced film and video production. She has numerous film credits as both editor and sound designer on a variety of projects, including the Peabody Award-winning PBS series "Malcolm X: Make It Plain." Her short film "Under Control" was honored by the Redstone Film Festival (1993) and won first prize at the National Council on Family Relations (1993).

Tickets for the Oct. 20 debut of "Hooray for Mister Touchdown" are free, but only a limited number are available. For information, call the College of Communications External Relations Office at (814) 865-8801. In addition, a second showing of the film on the campus -- a free, public screening -- has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, in 104 Keller Building on campus. No tickets are required for that showing.

The film makes its world premiere during the Frederick Festival of Film in Frederick, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 19. It will be shown at the Weinberg Center for the Arts as the second half of a double-bill to close the festival. The session begins at 4 p.m. For more information, visit the festival's Web site at http://www.frederickfilm.org

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009