Like Moving a Stone
BY ERIN POWERS AND ANDREW BLOM // APRIL 13, 2012 //
With a number of things working against him, one Curry student will stop at nothing to finish what he has started. Chris Dolan, a senior communication major, is in the process of putting together his independent film Moving Stone, but the process has been nothing short of rocky.
Although Dolan wrote the script in six months and is directing the film through an independent study at Curry, the college has refused to allow him to film on campus. Dolan says he was told it’s because of the “content of the script,” which includes a kiss between two women in a bathroom.
No blanket policy exists that bans filming on campus, but the college won’t support art that is violent or sexually suggestive, Dolan says he was told by college administrators. “What strikes me as odd about this is that this is a credited student-based project, and regardless of the subject matter, the film doesn’t require the Curry image to film,” he says, adding that numerous film and literature classes show films with violence and sexuality.
Since Dolan was turned down, he has created a petition and acquired nearly 100 signatures. He has also exchanged numerous emails with President Ken Quigley, who personally donated $100 to the movie but won’t budge on the issue of filming on campus, Dolan says.
Dolan discovered his passion for filmmaking at a young age when he acquired a Sony hand-cam and began making videos for fun. He gained more structure in high school and came to Curry in 2009 to study filmmaking. Now, with a growing network of professors, students and professionals behind him, he hopes to truly launch his career.
“Chris’s project is significant in many ways, but primarily because Chris is such an exceptional young man who is totally committed to the production,” said Professor Dorria DiManno, who heads the film concentration at Curry. “Where another student might have scaled back on the scope and quality of the production at this point—or even given up—Chris has just kept at it.”
The film is about a female captain of a bowling league team who removes a player days before the league championship game. She’s willing to do most anything to win, including losing her lover.
Casting and finding a crew for the film began in late fall. Dolan teamed up with junior communication major Connell Wise, who became the film’s producer. Wise says his job is to manage the movie’s Web site (movingstonefilm.com), finances and legal needs. Curry alumnus and independent filmmaker Dan Lovetere joined on as assistant director, and a pair of industry professionals is contributing services as cinematographer and camera operator. Dolan estimates his cast and crew—including a number of Curry students—total about 30 people.
“We needed all of them because, even with all I’ve learned here, I didn’t have the experience,” says Dolan. “When you do something this big you need people who know what they’re doing.”
Much of the film is to be shot at Olindy’s Bowling Ally in Quincy, which is allowing Dolan to film there for free. Dolan says the movie will likely cost approximately $4,000 to make, in large part due to equipment and insurance. “Everything we are using is standard equipment,” says Dolan. “With renting the equipment, it’s $1,800 just for two days of filming.” Communication professor Jerry Gibbs, coordinator of the TV and digital film concentration at Curry, has let Dolan borrow other pieces of equipment.
Dolan says his hope is to have the movie filmed and edited by the end of the semester. Dolan shot his first scenes March 23 and 24 at the bowling ally. Both days consisted of 12 hours of preparation and shooting. Dolan says he fully intends to finish this film, with or without the full support of the college.
“I’ve devoted so much time here and on this project,” says Dolan, who is graduating this spring, after only three years. “The school turned down someone who has a future, and they might have burned one of their [alumni] bridges.”