WCU students crusading to make feature film a success

You might think that three Western Carolina students would never be able to band together and create their own feature film, but it has recently become the goal of three Motion Picture and Television Production seniors who are determined to create a film that will “wow” WCU and prove to everyone that you can achieve your goal – even when it has never been done before.

If you haven’t heard about the film “The Prospect,” you surely will soon. The three masterminds behind this operation – Director Chris Read, Producer Mike Santoro, and Director of Photography Zach Heaton – are determined to raise money and make the film a booming success, even though most people have said that they couldn’t do it.

The western film – expected to be released in spring 2012 – will tell a story that correlates with today’s economy, hardships, money, and moral issues. Details of the film will be historically accurate, but the film will focus on story of a man that may not have existed on paper, but in the realm of the Gold Rush could have existed in the same way the character does.

“We are stepping out of our comfort zones, and are really trying to push ourselves as film makers and students,” said Read. “I don’t think anything like this has ever been done before.”

At the same time, the filmmakers don’t wish to step on anyone’s toes in their department. They hope making the film will be beneficial to the program, and will encourage other filmmakers to be just as creative and bold.

“We’re not trying to break rules, we’re just trying to step around them,” said Santoro. “Our biggest compensation right now is experience, and we’re taking a shot.”

The three have made arrangements to drive 24 hours to New Mexico for their spring break in search of the perfect locations that will be the setting for their film, as well as useful resources. They plan to pay for the trip out of their pockets and will be staying in cheap hotels and using the dollar menu at McDonald’s quite frequently. But to them, it’s all worth it to make the film great in the end.

“It definitely takes us out of our comfort zone,” said Santoro. “I think we realized that us three had a passion for doing something so different and so big. Chris and Zach have stepped up and established themselves as someone who is willing to step over the normal bounds and try to create something that means something to them.”

The biggest challenge the three of them will face will be the struggle to gain support and raise money to produce the film. Their target goal to begin their project is $5,000, which will basically “kick-start” their project and get it off the ground.

“We’ve been told that we can’t do it for under a million,” said Read. “But I think we can. “

“Being a student, it’s easier to get donations,” said Santoro.

In attempt to beat the odds, the crew has created a “kickstarter” webpage that anyone can visit and donate funds that will directly support their film project. Donations are open to everyone and can be as little as $1. However, anyone who donates $10 or more will be able to see their name in the film credits.

Their goal is to raise enough money to support the quality of film the guys want to achieve. They are willing to spend all the time in the world to ensure its done they was they envision it.

“Most students don’t make feature films until they graduate, but this is something we are trying to do for our last semester. When we are done with this no one should be able to tell that it was made by students,” said Heaton.

The film will feature a total of seven characters. The roles will be selected through an audition that the crew will hold at WCU sometime in the future. The auditions will be open to all students, as well as anyone else interested.

The project will be involving the Electronic Department, the Business Department, as well as others. Many students from WCU will be helping out with the film and they are in turn receiving valuable experience and a chance to get their name out there.

If you are interested in supporting the project, you can email the crew at info@theprospectmovie.com.

Would you rather give a donation to help them reach their goal? “Like” them on Facebook or follow them on twitter at twitter.com/theprospectfilm and click on their “kickstarter” website link.

“There are times when we may be told that we can’t do it and it may seem really hard, but its really just adversity that we have to pull through,” said Read. “At the end, we get to say, ‘Yeah we did do it.’ We did it to show a lot of people that yeah we can, everybody can.”