Among the Stars Reviewed

There was a very excited audience at Frank Theatres Rivertowne Stadium 12 in Conway, SC December 9, 2017. This wasn’t a typical day for moviegoers in the area. This was opening day for the anticipated short film, Among the Stars. Writer and Director, Jack VanderToll, stood in appreciation as he watched his vision unfold on the big screen with a very receptive and proud crowd.

The film surrounds Robert (played by Ethan Williams), an innocent young man who barely evades a figure who is ruthlessly hunting him. His plight hasn’t gone unnoticed by supernatural beings Michael and Magnus, who are both fighting to either save or doom Robert’s soul. Robert seeks help from his friend Felicia as they are caught in the cross hairs of a timeless battle between good and evil.


The film begins beautifully as Robert and Felicia enjoy a quiet night together but then are abruptly interrupted by a figure who is called upon by Magnus to deliver them to his master. Robert and Felicia aren’t the only ones in danger. Michael has been lured into Magnus’s trap in his effort to save them. The fates of both mortal and supernatural hang in the balance on Earth and among the stars.

Jack VanderToll spoke on what inspired the film, “One of my favorite film themes is the theological struggle between good and evil. I had the idea to anthropomorphize these themes into characters. Good and evil are forever at war… one ultimately tries to save, the other seeks to destroy. Once that structure was found, the story and the conflict quickly materialized.”

Equipped with a Sony NXCAM NEX-FS700 and a Panasonic AG-AF105A, Michelle Elise Harding did a wonderful job as the Director of Photography and Editor of this film. When asked about how long it took to film, Michelle said, “We spent eight days filming over the course of five months due to weather delays and script revisions.” As it is with many films, there can be many setbacks as well as cool accidental visuals that can really add to the film. “The cricket that is seen in the trailer and opening scene of the film was not scripted. It landed on Director Jack VanderToll’s head and wouldn’t fly away, so it was incorporated into the final film.” (Michelle) The actors even did their own stunts choreographed by Christian Brunetti, who also played Magnus.

The goal for the film is to continue having as many new eyes on it as possible riding the festival circuit and hope for positive reception. After having a successful premiere on the coast, the film traveled to the first meeting of the year for Carolina Film Network in January. It was also a great representation of the Myrtle Beach Film Community at this event highlighting collaboration over competition. This was a great start for the film as the reception for the film was more than welcomed with warm eyes, but it also was praised for its attention to biblical reference and originality.

When asked what he wants people to take away from seeing the film, Jack stated, “I am very pleased with the story we were able to tell, and I feel the themes to my film is universal… our search for purpose, friends and heroes. These are journeys everyone in life takes in some form. After someone sees it, if they are able to consider they are never alone as they may think, especially when they look up at a starry, night sky, I’ll mark that as a success.”

Among the Stars is more than just another great South Carolina originated film. It serves as an opportunity for growth in the industry, a production of quality and perseverance, and a dream-come- true for its creators. We at Carolina Film Network recommend following this film on Facebook and Instagram @amongthestarsmovie for more screening information as well as watching its flourishment. Congratulations on a job well done!

By Andrew Gajadhar

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Carolina Film Network to premiere Silas James Rowland’s ‘Dudeman’

Dudeman a short film directed by Silas James Rowland will premiere during Carolina Film Network’s November Meeting tomorrow at Tapp’s Art Center. The film, which also stars Rowland is set in 1977 and follows, Dudeman Pressley, a guy who has just been robbed of his weed and money and is running out of time before his supplier George takes out the trash.

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When asked what the audience can expect Rowland replied, “Dudeman is a different experience from anything I’ve done. It’s a lot more open world. Very dialogue and character driven.” Rowland also stated, “Working with a diversity of talent from those inexperience to those who show excellence in theatre really tested my abilities as a director and if anything knocked me on my butt. It was worth it. I learned a lot. And I have to say this is my favorite thing I’ve done thus far.”

Rowland started making movies when he was in 8th grade attempting to bring alternate egos to life on camera. He has produced 7 short films, over 40 skits, and is currently working on a feature film titled, Mr. Secret Agent Guy.

Carolina Film Network’s November Meeting will take place at Tapp’s Art Center from 7pm – 9pm. Bait, Teenage Caligula, and The Art House will also screen at the meeting. Followed by guest speaker Dr. Carmen Maye from the University of South Carolina who will discuss Copyright Law.

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Women in Film // A Mother’s Plea

It’s day three of our Women in Film series and today we are showcasing, A Mother’s Plea, a film about a graduate student with a promising future until one unfortunate incident turns his dreams into a nightmare. The film is directed by Leasharn M Hopkins and stars Cris Griffin, Cynthia Lara, Celeste Moore, Maxwell Highsmith, Merritt Vann, Pat Yeary, Q Thomas, and Devon “Pierre” Wright.

Women in Film // Crosswalk

Today begins our first curated series on Women in Film. This week we will be celebrating films produced by strong females behind and in front of the camera. The first film on our list is Crosswalk, a short film submitted for the 2nd Act Film Festival, hosted by Jasper Magazine in Columbia, SC. Written/directed by Alexis Stratton with cinematography and editing done by O.K. Keyes the film became an instant success winning the Audience Award, sponsored by Final Draft.

Writer/Director Alexis Stratton
Cinematographer/Editor O.K. Keyes

Guilt – Short Film

Synopsis: A short film about a woman who comes to terms with her Guilt. Shot in 2011, this film was selected at the 2011 Cannes film festival under the Short Film Corner.

Starring: Emily George Lyons, Michael Fisher, Emily Lounsbury

Directed by: Umashankar G

Crew: DOP – Christian Clark, Background score – Bryan Higa, Location Sound – Dan Mazur

Casting Call for upcoming short film Open Door Policy

Project title: Open Door Policy

Project type: Short Film

Project description: Open Door Policy is about Todd, a high school senior who is well respected in his school but one teacher has higher standards for him if he is going to be the leader she knows he can be. A simple act of kindness is all that is needed to learn a big lesson. Will Todd learn this lesson and be able to set an example for his peers?
Project usage: To provide opportunities for actors to have demo reel footage and crew to gain more experience for resumes. Film may be entered into film festival circuit and/or on YouTube.
Film location, Norths Augusta SC (Near Aiken, SC)
Film Dates: TBD (tentatively late Aug / early Sept 2016)
Compensation: Nonpaying but will provide credit, copy and food
Please see attachment for character breakdowns and submit per the following instructions:
Send email to susan.willis316@gmail.com
Subject line: ODP, Name, role submitting for (i.e. ODP, Jane Doe, role of Mom
Body of email:
Name, age,
ethnicity
height
contact info (email and phone #)
Please indicate if available to work as extra if not cast in speaking role
Include:
Acting Resume if you have one
2 RECENT well-lit pictures: 1 close up (shoulders up) 1 full body
Plain background, no one else in picture, not distracting background, plain wall is best.
no hats or sunglasses in picture, no over-posing, just normal and natural please.
Sides are available for video auditions
Callbacks will be in person date TBD

Character Breakdowns:
Todd (lead)– Male, all american boy, caucasian, High School Senior, athletic looking

Jonah (lead)– Male, all american boy, non-caucasian, high school senior, athletic looking, Todd’s best friend

Ms Haugen (lead)– Female, any ethnicity, older woman who is past ready to retire from teaching high school history. Small to average stature, walks with a cane, very wise soul, good with facial expressions and non-verbal communication as well as deliver lines with authority

Sam (supporting) – Female, typical high school senior, any ethnicity, Todd’s girlfriend
Todd’s Dad (supporting) – Male, caucasian, late 30’s – mid 40’s, supportive dad to Todd, caring, only

scene is in kitchen helping set table for family dinner and chatting with Todd.

Todd’s Mom (supporting) – Female, caucasian late 30’s – mid 40’s, supportive mom, only scene is in kitchen preparing dinner and chatting with family.

Todd’s little sister (supporting) – Female, 6-9 yrs old, kid sis who likes to tease older brother and try to engage in conversation between Todd and parents.

Extras needed:
Adult in wheelchair (featured)
Adult to assist person in wheel chair (featured) Retail store employee (featured)
2 restaurant employees (general background) 10-15 high school Students (General background) 2 -3 college athletic scouts, Male
older couple (featured)
Adult with child in carseat (featured)
2 sports event medics
3-5 adults/parents at soccer game