Student film ‘Closing Broadcast’ reopens locallyWritten by Jason Mack | | email@example.com
Owens Community College student Matthew Cooper’s film “The Closing Broadcast” is returning for a second showing May 3 after premiering in December.
“We ended up having a pretty solid audience,” Cooper said. “We ended up making more than half our budget back in that first screening alone, and we are planning to have 11 more. So it was a very good start for us.”
The film stars Eli Brickey as Jeri Kline, a news anchor holed up in the studio reporting about a terrorist attack on the city while her relationship and the world around her fall apart at the seams.
The idea for the film came to Cooper while shadowing his fiancee as she worked the overnight shift at 13abc.
“It was really dark,” Cooper said. “She was the only person in the building. There was no sound except the police scanners that were saying every horrible crime that was happening in the city. It had this really dour feeling to it. The original idea was, what if there was a zombie apocalypse and you don’t actually see anything happening. You’re hearing about it like a radio drama, hearing all these things take place and trying to have an impact on it when really you don’t have any ability to.”
Brickey also shadowed Cooper’s fiancee for an evening.
“I am such a hands-on learner, so this allowed me to see and experience all the work that goes into just one evening of news,” Brickey said. “It was the best information I could have asked for as an actor and I got a deeper appreciation for those doing the behind-the-scenes work. I was able to experience that sense of isolation that those who regularly work third shifts might feel. That is what I love about acting, getting to see the world through a different lens and growing from that.”
Cooper said he was impressed with what Brickey brought to the role of Jeri Kline.
“She grounded that character in a way I didn’t anticipate,” he said. “When you look into her eyes in these really dramatic moments, there are so many layers going on at once with the hurt, the happiness and the anger. She could put those on top of each other, which is an incredibly hard thing to do at this stage in an acting career.”
The cast consists mostly of theater students and community actors including Nicholas Anthony Corbin, William Toth, Heath Huber, James MacFarlane, Jordan Jarvis, Kari Duffy-Shrader and Casey Toney.
“I was really impressed with how professional the rest of the cast was,” Brickey said. “At the same time, they were all able to keep their sense of humor while shooting such intense scenes. I think this kept everyone grounded and we were all able to connect easily because of it.”
“The Closing Broadcast” is screening at 8 p.m. May 3 in the Collingwood Arts Center, 2413 Collingwood Blvd. Tickets are available for $7.50 at the door, and merchandise such as DVDs and posters will be on sale.
Cooper plans to use money from the screenings to enter “The Closing Broadcast” in film festivals, a decision reinforced by the positive feedback he received following the premier in December.
“It was more positive than I could have hoped for,” he said. “What really surprised me about it was I’ve seen so many premiers where people can’t really tell the filmmakers something specific they loved. It was always these generalities. That has never been enough for me. If somebody thinks something is good, I need to know why or it doesn’t feel real. When people were talking to me about this, they were talking about very specific moments. That told me we were hitting what we wanted.”