Hutton Honors College funds student short film


Junior Spencer Bowman received a $1,500 Creative Activity Grant from the Hutton Honors College for his 20-minute short film, “His Master’s Voice.” It was the only film project to receive the grant.  Ty Vinson Buy Photos

Junior Spencer Bowman began writing a screenplay last August for his feature film writing class. Now Bowman has the opportunity to adapt his screenplay into a 20-minute short film with support from the Hutton Honors College.

Bowman’s “His Master’s Voice” was the only film project to receive $1,500 from the Creative Activity Grant from the Hutton Honors College, deeming it a significant creative work that will provide students involved with critical real-world experience. Students from the Media School and the School of Art, Architecture + Design will collaborate on the film. Everything from the costume design to the cinematography will be done by students.

According to the film's Facebook page, "'His Master's Voice' tells the story of an isolated, backwoods commune being confronted by bigoted locals and the escalating tensions between them that arise from fear, prejudice, and miscommunication on both sides."

The film takes place over the course of one night.

“The story is about community and choosing compassion over hatred,” Bowman said.

The tone of the story is heavily inspired by the 2018 Netflix documentary “Wild Wild Country” and the 2017 crime-drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Bowman said.

Bowman, alongside director Caitlin Noppenberger, are still in the pre-production stages for the project. Auditions for the cast will be Jan. 13. They plan to begin filming at the end of February in Bradford Woods, IU’s outdoor center. The crew hopes to complete filming in three days then move onto post-production.

“The great thing about this movie is that we are bringing together so many kids,” Noppenberger said. 

She said the movie has been an opportunity to meet students from different majors she would not normally work with.

Bowman said Indiana does not offer tax credit for film productions, making it more financially difficult to produce them here than in other parts of the country. Bowman, having worked on a few film productions before, emphasized the importance of community support for making the project possible.

He created a GoFundMe page for the film with a fundraising goal of $500. All funds raised will go toward renting equipment, purchasing set decorations, props, costume material, paying film festival submission fees and securing filming locations and transportation.

The crew will share production updates and other news on the film’s Facebook page as filming begins.

“Seeing as southern Indiana is not traditionally the place for big film productions, this experience will be vital for students who wish to pursue careers in their fields and give Indiana voices a platform in the sort of stories we typically find on television and in theaters,” Bowman said.

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