Films to be shown
Charles House and Jason Smith will premiere each of their first feature films, “They Walk” and “A Chrome Horse and a Diplomat” respectively, March 29 at the Opera House in Shepherdstown. The event starts at 7 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
House, who is originally from Berkley Springs, is a recent Shepherd University graduate. With a degree in communications and a concentration in filmmaking, House shot and directed the film “They Walk,” a part-documentary/part-narrative of the multiple eras within the horror film genre.
“I chose to start out within the horror genre because it’s one of the more forgiving areas of film,” House said.
“It’s an area that is a good launching point to break into the film industry and where most independent filmmakers start out.”
This is House’s first feature film which he has worked on for over a year now, trying to get it just right.
“‘Star Wars’ and other movies like ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Jaws’ are probably responsible for most of my fascination with horror films,” House said. “I want to show that there’s more to zombie movies than what most people give them credit for.”
House already premiered an earlier version of “They Walk” this past Halloween in Seattle.
“The film got a great response. The DVD sales were good, and I made a lot of beneficial connections with other independent filmmakers,” he said.
Since the premiere in Seattle, he has continued work on the movie, adding in scenes and working more on editing.
“It’s just one of those thing that reminds me of a quote by George Lucas which says that you never really finish a project, you just end up coming to a point where you just have to stop because you become busy with other things,” House said.
Much of the film was shot in Shepherdstown as well as in small neighboring Pennsylvania towns, which also has a big horror film following, House said. And some of the cast members include Shepherd students and locals as well as students from Towson University in Maryland.
“This is definitely the biggest cast that I have ever worked with which made for an interesting time,” House said. “With about 18 lead characters, scheduling was a real challenge.”
House met fellow film producer and communications major, Smith, while attending school at Shepherd and the two have become good friends since. And their two films also share some cast members and crew.
The two decided to do a double feature film premiere to generate more publicity but also because it is a signature tactic within the horror film industry.
“I had previously tried to do a screening of my film somewhere on campus, but that unfortunately didn’t work out because I wanted it to be available to audiences outside of just university students, as well,” House said.
The Opera House was bought last fall and, now that it is under new management, has opened its doors to many independent filmmakers as well as local bands.
“They are very supportive of local talent and give students as well as other locals an opportunity to showcase their films and music with events like this one,” House said. “Especially with the new film concentration that is being offered at Shepherd, it’s beneficial to have the Opera House here.”
Smith is a communications major at Shepherd. His film, “A Chrome Horse and a Diplomat,” has been a two-year work in progress. He said that he is very excited to finally be able to showcase his hard work.
For more information, visit the event group on Facebook by searching “They Walk,” and flyers will be hung up around town as well as the Shepherd campus.