The Hunted


Gender issues have always perplexed me. How what I was permitted or not permitted to do differed from my male peers frustrated me greatly while growing up. Then seeing that divide spread as an adult woman caused me to seek out an explanation, but the rational I was being given I found to be greatly unsatisfying. For years I tried to subvert the system and escape my female limitations in work and social structures, but that produced little result and threatened to alienate me in my various networks. Finally I stubbled upon what I was looking for in feminist literature. It validated my frustrations, help define what I was experiencing and gave me strategy for moving forward. So in my first film at the MFA program at Ohio University, I wanted to tell a story that symbolizes the horrific punishment that females face for deviating from expectations, and sometimes not even for deviating, the punishment females sometimes face for just existing. The Hunted is a short film that starts with the classic horror scenario of “killer chasing helpless female in the woods”, but by the end we find out that the female maybe wasn’t so helpless after all. By subverting the classic memes of the genre so dramatically in my first film at OU I feel I’m setting the groundwork for a reinterpretation of other genres, this time making the female in charge of her own voice and storytelling. We’re shooting on a Arri-S 16mm camera and hope to have the project completed before the end of 2015. Thank you.          ...

Advanced Cinema Camera Demonstration


As a TA of MDIA 4904: Lighting for Film and Video, I was asked by Professor Brian Plow to put a lecture together on cameras. In this class, we teach students the ins and outs of lighting a scene – how to use lighting not only technically but as an emotional tool. While a large part of our job is to set up lighting situations, we also need to understand how that light is being recorded and what is happening to it. That’s why it is imperative for us to understand cameras in a very in-depth sense. The class gathered in RTV’s Studio C, where I asked the students to set up a portrait situation with three lights and one subject sitting in a chair. In front of them sat 3 different cameras: a Canon Rebel t3i, a Blackmagic Cinema Camera and a Blackmagic Pocket Camera. Most students shoot on a Canon t* series DSLR. They’re affordable, extremely versatile and a good investment for people of our age group. However, with the rise in popularity of the DSLR, I thought it was necessary to explain, in technical terms, what makes it and a cinema camera different. 1. A cinema camera won’t produce pretty colors in-camera, you have to make that happen later. You typically don’t want the camera to film a saturated, heavily colored image. The images that the Blackmagic series cameras record are very flat – that is, they appear gray. There aren’t many whites or blacks, and color is very desaturated. The purpose behind this is to allow you to grade it later. Grading is the process of coloring an image in post production. 2. Understand what ISO, aperture and shutter speed really are. When dealing with cameras, these three things affect the brightness of your image. We’re taught, as media students, how to use these to expose an image that isn’t too bright or too dark, but not where they came from or what they are truly doing. I told the students tidbits of information about each: ISO: This is how sensitive the camera is to light. When you increase the ISO, you are making it more sensitive, and you are going to make the image more noisy. Some cameras work best at a certain ISO, the BMCC, for example, has a “native” ISO of 800, whereas a Sony FS7 is closer to 3200. Also, ISO used to be called ASA in the days of film. Aperture: (Iris) This is determined by your lens, and, in my opinion, every lens has a personality all it’s own. When you see a blurred background in a film, it was probably shot at a low f/stop. The shape of this blurriness, called “bokeh”, is determined by how many blades there are in the aperture of the lens. Shutter speed: Formally known as the shutter angle in film cameras, this determines how many times per second an image is sampled. A shutter speed of 1/60th means you are taking 60 samples every second. This determines how blurry movement is within your frame. I also explained to the class how the old “shutter angle” mechanism worked in older cameras. (Note: This is not the frames per second the camera is recording at) 3. Know your camera. Like a lens, a camera is not easily quantified by the sum of it’s parts. You can look at each specification – the sensor size, the output format – all the technical things – but at the end of the day, each camera will produce an image of a different caliber and flavor. During our class time, I used the two Zeiss lenses from Create Space to demonstrate how they are better than a standard DSLR lens. They are sharper and sturdier than DSLR lenses, and have a much nicer focus ring for pulling focus. We also looked at lenses from Canon, Rokinon, Lens Baby and a few vintage ones. Additionally, I took out a small camera called a Lytro. This was used to demonstrate that there are many weird, different sorts of cameras on the market, to get them thinking about a world outside of DSLRs. The Lytro is a special camera, as it takes a picture whose focus can be changed later. Normally, a picture taken with a regular camera has the focus “baked in” – it is permanently set at the time of creation. The students really enjoyed taking pictures with it and thought it was a great little novelty. To finish our class, we took out the BMCC equipped with a Rokinon 50mm lens as well as the Canon t3i equipped with the Zeiss 50mm. The students used both cameras to film the same subjects on College Green, so that we can compare the footage in later classes. The class enjoyed being able to try out new and different equipment, and hopefully left thinking about how they can change up their next project by choosing a different camera or lens. These are things I wish professors would have taught me early on, so I wanted to pass on what I have learned in my studies as a cinematography student.    ...

The Retiree


This film was working with a budget of about $5,000. It was raised through an IndieGoGo campaign as well as a letter writing campaign to friends and family. Using the Create Space saved us about $1,000 in camera equipment rentals, as we were able to get lenses, LED lights, and a mattebox all through this resource. We had to rent a wider lens for one weekend which we could not get through the Create Space, which totaled to around $100 for a 3 day rental.        

Carnivalesque Documentary


Documentary film making is one of my passions. I’ve always been drawn to “real things” and the non-fictional spectrum of storytelling. I think that’s where authentic moments come to life. Although I have this urge to go out document the world around me, I’ve encountered roadblocks in regards to obtaining necessary gear at Ohio University. Because of the Create_Space I was able to heighten the production on my documentary on Carnivalesque 2015, a DIY music festival that took place the last weekend of March. My goal for shooting the fest included shooting from a bunch of different perspectives. We accomplished this by utilizing the GoPro HERO 3 in interesting places, such as the microphone stand. We also needed decent audio to capture the sound of the bands and the crowds in cramped spaces. We were able to do so with the audio gear that we check out. All in all, our experience with the documentary and with Create_Space was very positive. We plan to interview the festival’s founder Mitch Rossiter a few more times and compile something interesting to put out in the near future....

An Act


I am conducting a creative research with the goal of writing a neo-neo realist feature screenplay hybrid of documentary and fiction: An Act is a feature-length narrative film exploring the aftermath of unsubstantiated accusations of sexual harassment that damaged a career of a young student actor. The fictionalized story is inspired by real life’s events that tore apart an idealistic theatre community and broke the dreams and lives of those involved. The real persons in the incident will work with me closely to help capture the nuances and complexities of the issues surrounding it. I will be utilizing the neo-neo realist model in my writing and directing the film to deliver an authentic portrayal of the characters and events. Stylistically, the film will blend narrative fiction and documentary. I’ve already received the CoFA Creative Research Award (October 2014) for the purpose of conducting personal interviews with the main subjects as part of my screenwriting process. I have assembled a crew of talented and committed artists and professionals, with whom I have worked in the past making my previous films. I intend to utilize my past experience and all resources available to deliver this story to the screen with the impact it deserves. It is a vital social commentary and a key project in my career.  ...



“Rocks” is a short film in progress, written and directed by OU MFA student Daniel Aguera. It is being filmed in black and white 16mm film. It consists of a nameless character who has created a musical system in which certain rocks represent certain musical notes, and through this system he composes melodies. He kidnaps a blind man and forces him to engage with this intricate system. As times goes on they develop a complicated yet somewhat endearing relationship.    

The priest

By Matt Herbertz

In a world where organized religion has become violently persecuted, an aged priest, Father McNalley, searches for a safe place to start a new church. After a long journey, the priest collapses on the doorstep of a family farm. The family takes the priest in for the night without knowing his true identity. Father McNalley must decide whether or not he should trust the family enough to let them know who he really is. Will the family help the old man continue his ministry or will they hold his faith against him? The Priest is a second year MFA film by Matthew Herbertz and after a successful shoot is now in post production set to be released fall 2015. Through the intense collaboration with fellow peers and faculty The Priest was able to succeed in a Kickstarter campaign helping fund the project. As Matthew moves forward in post production he hopes the story he feels so passionately about will come to life. Please view the teaser:      ...

OU Film Web Team: Summer Interviews

By Natalie Hulla

The Web team for Ohio University Film recently sat down with a handful of graduate and HTC film students to interview them on their summer activities. While some students traveled abroad to teach or work professionally, others gained internship experience and worked on professional TV/film sets. One of our students connected with an Emmy-nominated cinematographer and OU Film alum, George Mooradian, while freelancing in Los Angeles. The Web team, which is a small group of graduate students who manage the program’s website and social media outlets, wanted to showcase these accomplishments and experiences in order to create a highlight reel that will accompany a feature post on our website blog. We used a Canon 5D Mark II from The CREATE_Space to hold formal, sit-down interviews.        

The History of Football: An Odyssey


“The History of Football: An Odyssey” is one man’s journey to find the roots of the game he loves so very much. Written and created by Media Student/Stand-up Comedian Michael Robenalt and produced and directed by myself (Film student Luke Porst), The History of Football is a five part web series. The series is something of a parody of the “Cosmos” programs of Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, but of course, it’s about football rather than the universe. This series is at its roots a parody, a genre that hasn’t had the audience that it used to. By bringing it to a shorter form and made for the web, we hope to find a way to bring this genre to a new audience.      

Haffa’s Records


Haffa’s is an ongoing short documentary film project about Haffa’s Records in Athens. I have been filming the store on various days since November and the project is nearly finished. My process was originally to go into the store and record anything that I could, intending to shape the film in the edit. As I began to edit each day’s footage, I began to notice patterns in the types of images I was interested in recording. These first few days in the store yielded little in terms of interesting footage, but contributed a blueprint for how I wanted to shape the rest of the project. The project focuses on the specific aspects of the store that define the space, from the building’s structural idiosyncrasies to the store’s customers and employees. Through postproduction, the aim of the finished film will be to shape individual details of the record store into a single merged concept, both a fixture of the Athens community and a relic of a bygone...

The Water Skater

By Ian Campbell

The Water Skater is a short film inspired by Howard Mallison, my grandma’s uncle. The original footage was shot on Super 8, transferred to digital video, and then edited at the Create Space. It will be playing at the Athens International Film and Video Festival on Sunday, April 13, 3pm (in “Memory Games”). A sneak peek is available here, and on vimeo:   [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/86248999]   All I had to go on when reconstructing the life of Uncle Howard were the biographical fragments passed on by my grandma (in her inimitably elliptical storytelling style), a few photographs, and a bayonet Howard brought back from World War 1. This bayonet, which weaves its way through the film, is a relic: an object dislocated from its original traumatic context. In The Water Skater history is inaccessible but ever present. As the film slowly wraps itself around the take-up reel of the projector, there is the sense that everything repeats itself. Through the magic of cinema, Uncle Howard is ‘reincarnated’ by an actor. In the absence of any true documentation, I adopted a strategy of surrogacy: my brother Marshall and I re-enacted parts of Uncle Howard’s life as we imagined it. Slippage in time and memory are major themes in the film, which wavers between fiction, abstraction, and...


By Stephen Blahut

Set in WWII Ukraine under the Nazi occupation, Mother recounts a widowed woman’s struggle for survival with her two children while remaining hidden within the confines of an old barn. Iryna Zhygalyuk (MFA Film) thoughtfully directs this harrowing tale which draws influence from the Soviet works of director Larisa Shepitko’s The Ascent (1977) and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (1962) The film stars New York based actors Yelena Shmulenson, Stella Stark, and Zenon...



A fantasy take on the end of the world. The film starts with Watson (Alex Nicosia) and his best friend Jack (Casey Costello) as children discovering the Talisman that has the power to save the world. Fast forward 10 years and the apocalypse is happening and Jack has abandoned Watson in pursuit of a burger. Watson is left to track down Jack before the world ends. Written and directed by Eleanor Crews and shot by Stephen Blahut Sidekick draws inspiration from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the cult film The Warriors.


By Mladan Jurkovic

Set above the city streets of New York, Lightwalker’s follows Demi, a young woman, that wakes up at the edge of a rooftop. How did she get there? The mystery begins… Mladan Jurkovic directs the whimsical tale of romance with imagery influenced by the illustrations within Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince and the specificity to color of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love.

When Skies Are Gray

By Cory Pratt

Inspired by the social-realist cinema of contemporary Europe (including the works of Andrea Arnold and the Dardenne brothers) my new film “When Skies Are Gray” is a stark portrait of Modern Appalachia. Having been born and raised in East Tennessee, I always saw a marked difference between the picturesque Smoky Mountains on the cover of tourists’ brochures, and the way things really were in the mountain communities where I grew up. Appalachia IS a place of great beauty, but it’s also a place of isolation where mountain folk suffer in the throes of unemployment, hunger, and prescription drug abuse. The film tells the story of Travis, an Appalachian youth who lives in a remote mountain community. Hidden away in a mobile home on the fringe of civilization, he has picked up the slack of his mostly absent mother. With both children being the product of her promiscuous lifestyle, Deb has all but detached herself from her offspring. An unfortunate encounter brings deep-seeded emotions to a boil on one fateful night, leading Travis to make a decision that will change his life and his sister’s forever. The film was shot on location in New Plymouth, OH using the Panasonic AF-100 by DP Michael Greene. Production Photos courtesy of Luke Szabados. Cory Pratt is a 2nd Year MFA in the Ohio University Film...

Read More