Big-time film shoot in small-town Huntington

Likeness (w.t.), Behind the Scenes with President Sherilyn Emberton
Likeness (w.t.), Behind the Scenes
Likeness (w.t.), Behind the Scenes, mentoring

As a three-ton grip truck loaded with lights, flags and silks arrived on campus, excitement grew among 46 film students. It was lights, camera, action for the biggest film set for Huntington University in two years.

The arrival of the truck signified the start of the week-long short film project for Youth for Christ, called "Likeness (w.t.)."

"It's a lot of work, but wow, is it paying off," said Dawn Ford, associate professor of digital media arts.

For the start of the shoot, students worked hand-in-hand with mentors from inside the university as well as those currently working in the field. Their star, Jim Orr, the director of photography for the hit reality show, "Duck Dynasty," raved about the top-notch equipment and the work from the students.

"The students have completely risen to the occasion. The work is just extraordinary," Orr said. "I feel that this department has the mojo going for it. Everyone is very encouraging, and they have great equipment."

The film, written by junior film production major Jonathan Scales, is about the power of mentoring young people toward God. It's inspired by a true story about a young mother who moves to a major urban setting from Appalachia and sells drugs to make ends meet. Along the way, she recruits her children to help her in the trade. But as the older daughter attempts to find a better path, she finds the love and support of a next-door neighbor.

The goal of the shoot was to give students real-world experiences while still in a sheltered environment. The film gave students the opportunity to critique their skills by working alongside professionals.

"I really wanted to give the students a professional film shoot feel," said. Dr. Lance Clark, professor of digital media arts film and communications.

"Likeness" will be shown in film festivals and used at the National Convention for Youth for Christ as well as on the YFC website to launch a campaign encouraging new mentors for the organization.

"(We are creating an environment of) mentoring one-on-one, and that is what Youth for Christ is all about," Ford said.

To learn more about the film, visit