Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

Dance, dance revolution

Grad uses dance flicks to launch directing career
Jason Eberly describes advantages of studying film at Huntington University, a Christian college.

“Doing a feature film your junior year with 30 locations shouldn’t have happened, but it did, and Lance (Clark) was so supportive.”

He’s the assistant to a senior talent agent by day and a budding movie director by night.

Jason Eberly, a 2010 graduate with a film production degree, started at Huntington University by creating shorts and one featured-length film that has garnered him awards at film festivals. Today, he is finding his way amid the bright lights and the stars of Hollywood.

Before Eberly even graduated, he made his way to Los Angeles through an internship at the L.A. Film Studies Center to begin his career in film. In 2010, he began working at ICM Talent, one of the largest and most reputable talent agencies in the world representing artists such as Woody Allen, Tom Hooper, Robert Duvall and Jesse Eisenberg. There, he is the assistant to Sean Freidin, a senior talent agent who represents some of the best directors in the industry.

“I started in the mailroom and worked my way up to this job,” Eberly said. “It’s good. I’m meeting a lot of people.”

Eberly is using this job as a way to make connections while he builds his portfolio. Filming for his first professional film and his sequel dance short, “Niña Del Tango,” began in the summer of 2011. This $20,000-budget short — a follow up to the “After Hours” feature which tells the story of a third-shift janitor dreaming of his love — is a bilingual telling of the celebration of the passions and ethnicity of tango.

“There’s a lot of luck involved in it, but I am so blessed to be shooting a project so soon,” Eberly said. “This one is a lot more ambitious than my first film.”

Eberly credits the digital media arts program at HU for making these opportunities even possible.

While at HU, Eberly directed and produced the feature film “Nero Bloom: Private Eye” which starred then-HU student Phil Black in this 1940s film noir. The film, a story of a detective traveling the “labyrinth” of clues to discover the truth behind a gambler’s death, was a huge success and was eventually followed by “After Hours,” a short film which was an homage to Hollywood jazz.

“I really wanted to leave college with a strong portfolio, a strong reel, that would stand out, and I think I did,” he said. “Doing a feature film your junior year with 30 locations shouldn’t have happened, but it did, and Lance (Clark) was so supportive.”

Eberly sought out Huntington because it was a place that he knew he could walk in the door, pick up the equipment and begin shooting. What he didn’t expect was the tremendous support from the professors and the community that he would find on campus.

“I made some of my best friends at Huntington,” he said. “I didn’t go for the community, but the community was awesome there.”

Eberly plans to continue making shorts (including his third in the dance series which will focus on urban breakdancing) and hopes to move into commercials and other freelance work while he finds his place as a movie director.

“(The film industry) is a lot of work. You’ve got to have the drive to do it,” he said.

Eberly’s work is available online at www.foresterfilms.com and www.jasoneberly.com.

 

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