By Chelsea Rankin
Patrick Henry College
Hannah Zarr pursued her passion for film during her summer internship at Walden Media.
Hannah Zarr (Journalism, ’15) has loved to act since childhood. She often reached out to kids in her neighborhood to act out her imagined storylines and detailed characters. But long after Zarr was too old for neighborhood plays, her imagination kept dancing with costumes, characters, and swashbuckling adventures. It was then Zarr knew she wanted to be an actress.
In high school, Zarr began looking into film schools, but quickly realized she could learn most of the equipment on her own. What she needed to learn, she decided, was how redemption applies to life and what makes a good story.
“Movies can be powerful in peoples’ lives, and I feel responsible to make movies that are good for people’s souls,” she said. “Books are powerful, but movies reach culture in a way that books cannot, because they bring stories to life. I want to portray stories in an artistically beautiful way to point people to the Artist of the universe.”
Zarr attended PHC to learn how to tell better stories by studying the liberal arts core curriculum. She chose to major in journalism to sharpen her writing and communication skills. Since arriving at PHC, she has noticed that her love for God and others has grown exponentially.
“PHC is not just showing me the type of person I should be, but is aiding me in becoming that person,” she said. “The community of love here is just astounding. I knew PHC was going to be good, but I didn’t know it was going to be this good.”
At PHC, she has made sure to keep her love of acting and film fresh. She joined the film club and has been learning about screenwriting, directing, acting, and collaborating with a film team. She also starred in Eden Troupe’s spring production of Fiddler on the Roof as Tevye’s oldest daughter Tzeitel. She helped launch PHC’s Shall We Dance? Society, which brings a professional dance instructor to campus each week for students who want to learn ballroom dance steps. Zarr believes starting this club helped give her confidence.
During PHC’s Newsmaker Interview Series with Marvin Olasky, Michael Flaherty, co-founder of Walden Media, spoke to students about his film endeavors. After his interview, Zarr approached him and asked if he had any available internships. A few emails later, Zarr had an interview, and Walden Media’s internship coordinator offered her a position on their internship team for summer 2013.
Zarr’s six-week internship at Walden Media was her idea of perfection. When her internship started, each Walden Media employee put together a presentation of what they do for the interns. Zarr and the six other interns watch Walden’s new movies and give notes and comments on the films while they are still in post-production. When the movies come back with edits, Zarr watches again and gives more comments. Walden Media recently obtained the rights to make a film of Lois Lowry’s dystopian young adult novel The Giver. The interns read the script for the movie, discussed what they liked and disliked, and then turned their notes in.
With each movie release, Walden Media also releases an educational packet for teachers and schools. The interns worked to compile the packet with pictures and movies.
“This is something I’ve been working towards for years,” Zarr said. “Since I want to go into acting, I figured I’d sneak my way in by learning all the behind the scenes stuff first. But I found out I really love all of the stuff I was doing behind the camera.”