Student's film shot in Thomasville wins Best Picture
A brief, award-winning movie will give Thomasville some national exposure next summer, courtesy of a filmmaking crew with strong ties to the city.
“Dangerous Times,” which was filmed in Thomasville — by a crew of primarily Davidson County residents — won Best Picture last weekend in the Campus MovieFest competition at North Carolina State University.
“There are three main awards, and Best Picture is one of them,” says Jenn Stilley, a 2011 graduate of Ledford High School — and now a student at N.C. State — who directed and edited the film, and was the cinematographer. “For winning that award, next summer we’ll go to Hollywood for the national competition.”
Stilley, 20, is studying media communication, with a focus in film and television production.
In addition to Stilley, the crew included Chaz Fulk, a 2010 Ledford grad now studying filmmaking at the UNC School of the Arts, who wrote the movie; and two actors — Jacob Crickenberger, a 2010 Ledford graduate, and Brooks Addis, a 2011 graduate of East Davidson. The score was composed by Erik Vosburgh, another student at State.
The film also includes a cameo by Thomasville police officer Dustin Gallimore, who appears in a scene filmed at the Thomasville Police Department. Other scenes were filmed elsewhere in downtown Thomasville.
According to Stilley, “Dangerous Times” tells the story of an American soldier who has returned from war and is battling post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The film shows him in his daily life, struggling with something that many soldiers go through,” Stilley explains. “Then we bring in this surreal element, a war protester, and you see the soldier confront the protester and beat him up and get arrested.”
At the end of the film, though, viewers learn the soldier didn’t actually assault the protester — he felt compelled to assault him, but his self-control wouldn’t allow it.
“Our goal was to take this picture everyone has of post-traumatic stress disorder and turn it upside-down, by showing that not all of these guys who come back from war do all these bad things that people think they do,” Stilley says. “We’re trying to show that they’re still human.”
Created in 2001, Campus MovieFest is the largest student film festival in the world. Students at N.C. State and other colleges and universities across the country were given one week to shoot and edit a film that could be no longer than five minutes, including credits.
Stilley and her crew learned they had won Best Picture at a red-carpet screening on the N.C. State campus Oct. 27. The national awards will be presented next June in Hollywood.
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To view “Dangerous Times” — and to keep up with news about the film, including how it does in the Campus MovieFest national competition and other film festivals — visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DangerousTimesFilm.