The Ohio University School of Film is producing a feature-length film that will be shot in Athens and the surrounding communities later this year.
The film, ""Winesburg, Ohio,"" is titled after and based on the fictional classic written by Ohio native Sherwood Anderson.
Jennifer Granville, an assistant professor who teaches screenwriting and producing for OU's School of Film, is serving as the film's producer. This is the first time the university has taken on such a large project, she said, and as a result, the film will be a good learning opportunity for students.
Her original idea for the project, Granville said, was to tap into the expertise and creative talent on campus in order to make the motion picture.
""It seemed crazy that it was never pulled together to make one project,"" she said. OU professors are now serving as heads of different departments for the film, and students are working under those professors.
""We are also pulling in professionals from the outside to do various tasks,"" Granville said.
The film project has been underway for more than a year as OU students have developed the script with the assistance of visiting artists and writers, Granville said. During spring quarter, she added, students will look for filming locations in the community.
The movie will be filmed in November and December during OU's winter intersession, and it should be finished by spring 2006, according to Granville.
The film focuses on Anderson's classic work. In the 1920s, the Ohio author wrote a series of stories based on a fictitious small town, and later he connected the narratives to create the book, ""Winesburg, Ohio.""
""He was actually a mentor of Ernest Hemingway and (William) Faulkner,"" Granville said. Anderson's stories are bleak, and they often get down to the ""bare bones behind people's lives.
""They are very dark stories, but they are also very extraordinary,"" she continued. ""There is nothing else quite like them around."" The stories are based on traditional small-town characters including a doctor, a teacher and a boy who wants to run away. Anderson explores those fictional characters and their actions, Granville said.
Roles in the film will be open to OU students and faculty, as well as area residents, Granville said. Some professional actors may also be brought in for the movie.
Anyone interested in auditioning for a role in the film or being involved in the film project can e-mail Granville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the picture is finished, Granville said the filmmakers plans to have it shown at numerous film festivals.
""It's going to be shown at the Athens International Film Festival next year,"" she said.
The film project is expensive; however, Granville has received help including a grant, which will pay for much of the project, from the 1804 Foundation through OU. She also was notified Thursday that the film project is receiving a grant from the Ohio Humanities Council. Countless in-kind donations of materials and equipment from the university also have been donated to the venture, Granville explained.
""It's a huge project, but it's been great,"" Granville said.
OU students have been working hard on the film, and they have been learning a lot about making a movie through the project, she said. OU students also have designed a Web site for the film, www.winesburgohiothemovie.com.
The film project is a good learning experience for the students, and Granville said she hopes it can become another feather in the school's cap.
Once the picture is finished, the process will be in place to make more feature-length films, and Granville said she's eager for it to become a regular project for OU's School of Film.