It is every filmmaker’s dream to see their work up on the big screen and for the Production 3/4 students at Keene State College, that dream will become a reality at the end of the academic year. 

Production 3/4 films are shown during the Keene State College Student Film Festival every year and for some films, this is the only festival that their film will play, while others gain a second life and go on to be shown in more festivals. The Keene State production “Limbo” was recently accepted into the International Student Film Festival [ISFF] in Hollywood.

Last year’s Keene State Student Film Festival housed a mix of pieces that ranged from documentary to narrative film, but one  was different from all the rest. In fact, it wasn’t really a film at all—it was a television pilot. Directed by Ben Johnson and Josh Demeule, “Limbo” is the story of a family that transports themselves into the world of Limbo in order to extract certain people from it.  The premiere garnered some mixed reactions from students. James Attridge said, “Choosing to film it as a pilot didn’t lend itself well to the Production 3/4 screening, but it has promise.”  An entire crew of dedicated Keene State students brought the dreamlike world of Limbo to life.

Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

Ben Johnson, co-director said, “The crew was always positive and never gave up even on sixteen-hour days outside in three-feet of snow.”  The co-directors Demeule and Johnson both described the experience as an “intense, yet [a] fun experience.” Demeule was able to gain “a full spectrum experience” from pre to post-production.  Like any cinematic production “Limbo” ran into challenges and instances of luck. Early in production there was miscommunication with the school which resulted in the first third of the film having to be re-shot.

Which, while frustrating, did give the crew an opportunity to get new locations and new actors for the shoot. The entire shoot gave each collaborator an opportunity to bring something to the film.  Director of Photography, Jacklyn Bunch, recalled one shoot in which she got a friend of her father, who was in a plane flying club, to fly her over the Keene area to get b-roll and transitional shots.  Johnson, Demeule and Bunch all agreed that while there will always be stuff to nit-pick, they are extremely satisfied by the way “Limbo” came out. Most of the crew of “Limbo” graduated from Keene State College in May 2014. From her work on “Limbo,” Bunch was able to land a job as a video production assistant at a video production company in Massachusetts.

Co-director Johnson was able to also get a job in Ithaca, N.Y. at Photosynthesis Productions, a video production company. The lessons learned and skills acquired during the production of “Limbo” have given them all the confidence to continue in their film careers.  The ISFF in Hollywood is designed to give opportunities to students around the world to screen their works. “Limbo” will be shown with films from the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and towns all across America. The mission statement on the ISFF website [isffhollywood.org] stated, the ISFF is to be the “liaison bringing together promising creative talent from all corners of the earth.”  In this festival “Limbo” will be showing on Saturday, Nov. 8. The crew plans on making the journey down to San Diego to attend the screening. Johnson and Demeule have put together a proof of concept for “Limbo” that they will give out to interested producers and interested industry professionals. “Well, best case, ‘Limbo’ gets picked up as a TV series and I can play some part in the production,” Johnson said on the future of “Limbo.”

Johnson went on to remark that regardless of how “Limbo” does at the ISFF he will “probably continue to send it to festivals. Who knows what could happen?”

 

Joseph Jowett can be contacted at jjowett@keene-equinox.com

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