An original film collaboration between KSC faculty, students and alumni debuted on brickyard pond on September 30.
Written and directed by associate film professor Johanna Dery, “Georgia’s Line” follows a mother and daughter, who have returned to their hometown in search of their grandmother’s support during a hard time. The grandmother, who is away on a yearly nature trip of solitude, finds herself struggling to find a balance of leaving time for herself and supporting her family during a time of need.
“Georgia’s Line” entered production in January 2020, right before the college closed due to COVID-19. Right as Keene State transitioned to remote learning in March 2020, Dery was in the process of editing. Without access to the college’s film equipment like she had planned, Dery had to adapt.
“My computer actually couldn’t even handle the file sizes that I was working with, so once we were six months deep into the pandemic and I still wasn’t coming back to school, I bought a more powerful computer just because I wasn’t here to access what the film department had,” Dery said.
Also during the editing process, Dery was balancing her work and being a mom. “I mean, the biggest challenge was that I’m a mom,” Dery said. “So I was trying to work on this film and also had to help my son do remote school.”
Dery gathered a production team consisting entirely of Keene State film alumni to assist her in making the film. Each alumni was paired with a current KSC film student that shadowed them throughout the filmmaking process.
“I had about a dozen students get involved in the end,” Dery said. “They learned everything from pre-production, then they worked on set for four days and I even had some students help in the post production process and learn.”
Aaron Bouchard, who graduated from Keene State in 2008 with a film production degree, saw value in giving students real world experience before graduating into the field. Bouchard said it gives students the opportunity to see first-hand how the industry works before graduating into the field.
“I liked that Jo [Dery] gave the students real-world experience or just experience working on stuff that’s not in the bubble of Keene State,” Bouchard said. “Sometimes, seeing those situations and dealing with those real-world situations is really key because sometimes you don’t experience that until after the fact and it can sometimes broadside people when they’re not ready for it.”
Working closely with Bouchard was 2020 Keene State graduate Zachary McCallion, who worked as a boom operator on the film. As a boom operator, McCallion’s job involved handling all on-set microphones, including placing microphones on the actors and holding the boom microphone during takes.
McCallion was a senior when the film was in production and was asked by Dery to join the creative team on the film. “Jo actually reached out to me, as well as a bunch of other students, and told us that this was something that she wanted to try out, getting former students and current students to work together to get some real on-set experience with experienced professionals,” McCallion said.
McCallion added, “I thought that it was just an awesome opportunity to get some real hands-on work while I’m still at school.”
Members of the Keene community and those who worked on the film gathered to celebrate Dery’s film and the current students, alumni, and faculty that worked to make it happen. Although the event took place outdoors, masks and social distancing were still required. The screening was free and open to the public.