By his own admission, senior defensive end Jammie Kirlew doesn’t fit the football player stereotype.
He’s studied in Italy and campaigned for President Barack Obama. Now, he’s exploring filmmaking.
Kirlew, last season’s team MVP, said he likes doing things people don’t expect him to do and setting an example for others.
“We are trying to do as much as we can to break the barriers and expand and be better role models,” Kirlew said.
Kirlew got his start in cinema when he made a 10-minute film, entirely in Italian, for a summer class. He said the film was a hit.
“I did the Italian movie, and it turned out really well,” he said. “We blew everyone out, so I was like ‘man, we really got something here.’”
Kirlew, a School of Public and Environmental Affairs management and public financial management double major, has always had an interest in movies, but he said he couldn’t make his own because of limited resources.
Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival, came to IU and gave him that opportunity. The contest gives each entrant one week to make a five-minute film and supplies them with everything from Apple laptops to High Definition cameras to do so.
Kirlew wrote, produced, directed and edited his film “Spring Break-Up.”
About 60 groups entered the competition, and the top 16 films played Thursday night. Kirlew did not make the cut.
When choosing the cast, Kirlew didn’t have to look far to find his leading man.
Junior wide receiver Terrance Turner came to mind after Kirlew remembered seeing him in the play “An American Ma(u)l,” last year.
Turner, a theater and drama major, said his teammate has some talent in film production.
“I think he did pretty well,” Turner said. “He knew what shots he wanted. He had everything organized. One thing about Jammie, he is always organized. That really helped out the process, especially since we only had a limited amount of time.”
With only seven days to shoot and edit the film, the group of 10 started production on “Spring Break-Up.”
The film, which stars Turner as the main character, Tyree, starts when he and his girlfriend stop at a convenience store. His girlfriend sees a text message on his phone from another girl and gets furious. With his girlfriend going on a spring break cruise in four days, he knows he has to make up with her fast.
Kirlew said he drew some inspiration from “The Sopranos,” although the film is mainly a comedy that incorporates romance, drama and action.
IU football coach Bill Lynch said he is not surprised by Kirlew’s varied story line.
“That sounds like Jammie,” Lynch said. “All those things in five minutes. You get those things every time you talk to him.”
Kirlew said the most challenging part of the process was coordinating everyone’s schedule to shoot scenes.
The filming portion took place over a span of three days in which Kirlew shot one scene as early as 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Turner said he was happy to help out his teammate and take a break from his daily routine.
“I like acting,” he said. “I like film and theater and things of that sort. To be able to do it and get away – get a small break from football and school – it really helps.”
Kirlew said he loves football but believes this time in his life is prime for expansion.
“College is about learning,” he said. “It’s about finding out what your passions are and what you want to do later in life. I find that very important, so I try to go in different realms and see which actually work for me and what stuff I like doing.”
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