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Home > PHC Students Showcase Skills Learned in Film Class

PHC Students Showcase Skills Learned in Film Class

December 13th, 2012

By Derringer Dick, photos by Ardee Coolidge

CONTACT:  David Halbrook
Patrick Henry College
(540) 441-8722

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Blake Adams in West of Idumea

As the semester draws to a close, a group of PHC students are completing a comparatively unusual final assignment. After taking a film class with Dr. Gene Edward Veith, students busily put the finishing touches on films they have not only written, but directed and edited as well.

Two different groups are currently working on the postproduction of two separate films.

One film, West of Idumea, is based on PHC alumnus Colin Cutler’s short story. A drama about a man who strives to save the world while ignoring his own family, West of Idumea parallels the story of Moses and his wife in Exodus 4. Rebecca Sampayan directed and produced West of Idumea, with Blake Adams and Hannah Zarr co–starring.

The second film currently remains un-titled, but it is a “quirky, indie drama” ac-cording to Jonathan Boes, who co–wrote the screenplay along with Ali O’Leary. Centering on a romantic breakup, the film explores the events leading to the breakup. Michelle Stevens serves as the director, while Boes and Rebecca Hobbs co–star.

These short films are the culmination of what the students learned in film class.


On the set of West of Idumea

“The director not only directs his people, but he directs the audience,” Sampayan said. “In my mind, [I was thinking] ‘how do I want to direct the audience? What do I want the audience to feel throughout the movie?’”

Sampayan worked with Ardee Coolidge and Carissa Davis during the postproduction of West of Idumea – a task that required editing five or six hours of footage into a 12–minute film.

“Making movies has given me such a great respect for the movies we’ve been watching,” Zarr said, “because now I understand all the immense work that goes into it, and every little detail that you have to bring in.”

“Veith encourages us to watch all the credits at the end of the movie because all those people had made some impact on the movie,” Zarr said.

Boes recommends the course to anyone interested in learning how to tell a story. “It’s really fascinating,” he said.

While Boes acknowledges that making a film takes a good amount of work, he also said that “working the whole way through was a blast.”

Both films, which are approximately 12 minutes long, are expected to premiere in Nash Auditorium on one of PHC’s reading days.