Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hello all,
Please join us to help support the short summer film "Girl On Rocky Top", May 21st 8p.m at Natasha's Bistro in Lexington, KY.

Jim Gleason's band, "The Sons of the Frigidares" are the main attraction.
There is a $10 donation at the door. You can make reservations by calling 859-259-2754

The short film is a production for the 2009 Summer Film Internship Program in the Department of Communication/Film Techniques and Technology track at Eastern Kentucky University. All proceeds go toward the production of the film.

Please contact Chad Cogdill for further information.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Meet the Interns

We have lift off! Thursday night, John and Chad held the first intern meeting to get everyone up to speed. Let me introduce to you the 2009 student interns.
They are:
Jennifer Donnelly
Kenny Lawrence
Angela Hudnall
Ian Hummeldorf
Zach Lynn
Nicholas Haney
and two hold overs from last year:
James Webb
Marshall James

Pre-production and production roles were assigned and the crew is on their way. We look forward to working with this talented pool of students during the filming of "Girl on Rocky Top" 2009.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Fund Raising Letter

As of mid-April, we're already nearing the halfway point of our funding goal and the checks--large and small--are rolling in from all over. Here is the fund raising letter we've been using for our Kentucky donors:

Dear, Friends, Family and Colleagues

We are seeking support for this summer’s film internship program production of “Girl on Rocky Top”. For the past two summers, the program has offered students the opportunity to assist with the production of a short narrative film. The experience includes working closely with film professionals, faculty and advanced production equipment. So far, fourteen EKU film students have benefited from this experience. The previous films have screened at various regional and national film festivals in addition to being broadcast on cable outlets across the country.

This summer, we have secured a promising screenplay that has been years in development. “Girl on Rocky Top’, based on a true story, will be shot in a variety of locations around Kentucky, was written for a small cast of young actors and will present many technical challenges to the crew—including its interns. This will be a great opportunity for these students to apply the technical and problem-solving skills we stress in the classroom to a ‘real-world’ project.

The Film internship program has yielded benefits in several areas including the growth of the new film program and the Department of Communication. The internship has provided the opportunity for intensive, cooperative and peer learning and instruction for students who would normally not have access to this level of real-world film training. Faculty members work alongside students and professionals to produce quality content.

The projected budget for this 14 day production is $10,000. This money will go toward lodging and meals for professional and student crew members, freelance fees for visiting professionals, rental equipment, set design and travel. To date, we have raised $4000 in donations from faculty, staff and members of the community.

Our fundraising deadline is June 1st, 2009. If we have 75% of our target, we will proceed with our scheduled production at the end of July.

We need your help to reach our goals. Monetary and in-kind donations are welcome and appreciated. Please see our contributor options for more information.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Chad Cogdill
John Fitch III
Emerson St. John

Please visit the “Girl on Rocky Top” blog at:

Donor Options

Patron - $5000 – Opening and ending credits, 10-VIP passes to screening, 10 copies of DVD – “Produced in association with…”

Executive Producer - $2500 – Opening & ending credits special thanks as executive producer – 10 copies of DVD 10 - VIP Passes to screening.

Associate Producer - $1000 – Ending credits – 5 copies of DVD 5 VIP Passes to premier screening

Sponsor - $500 – Ending Credits – 2 DVDs 2 VIP Passes to premier screening.

Friend - $200 – Ending Credits - 1 DVDs and 2 VIP Passes to premier screening.

Please make your donations payable to:

Chad C. Cogdill
Assistant Professor
Eastern Kentucky University
Combs 315
Richmond, KY40475

859-985-5825 (home)
912-604-4801 (cell)

The players

Director - Andrew Kramp is a director, screenwriter, and producer. He holds an MFA in Film Directing and has twice been named a top ten finalist for The Academy Awards; for "Slip," in the Student Competition category, and for "No Salida" in the Short Subject category of the professional competition. For his thesis film, he won "Best Director" at the Savannah College of Art andDesign in 2005.

Andrew recently produced his first independent feature, "Latent Lava," filmed in New York, New Jersey, and India and served as Production Manager on the film, "Assata, aka Joanne Chesimard"which recently won "Best Feature" at the 2009 Harlem International Film Festival. Andrew will be directing the film, "The Weight of Dreams," based on his original screenplay, in 2010. Andrew has served as a lecturer at various events and schools, including the American Film Institute and the B&H Event Space.

Producer - Emerson St. John received his bachelors degree in Video & Film Production from EKU, and his Business Administration degree from the United States Army Training Center in Ft. Jackson, S.C. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University. As a member of the Department of Communication, he is the Media & Technical Supervisor. Emerson also works as an actor, writer, director, and producer in television, film, theatre, & radio. Emerson has appeared in the ABC made for television film 'A Horse for Danny', on NBC in 'Real Stories of the High Patrol', on the Travel Channel in 'American Icons: The Grand Canyon', 'Passion Fruits', 'Game Show Moments Gone Banana's', and is in pre-production for two upcoming films 'Broken April', and 'Window With A View'.

Producer - John Fitch III has a M.F.A. in Film from the Savannah College of Art and Design, along with 18 years of experience in TV, Video and Film Production, Sound Design and Project Management. He has taught film and video production at Johnson C. Smith University, the Lyndon Institute, The Light Factory and Eastern Kentucky University.

Cinematographer - Chad Cogdill Chad Cogdill has worked as a freelance Cinematographer including short narrative and experimental films and music videos. He received a B.S in Media Studies at Missouri Western State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Film from the Savannah College of Art and Design. His graduate thesis film, “Ma Chere`Petite Maxyme” won best graduate student film and best Cinematography for the 2005 school year. Cogdill’s production experience includes SD and HD video as well as 16mm and 35mm film formats. He resides in Berea, Kentucky, with his wife Jen, four year-old son Dylan and six month old daughter Ellery.

Writer - Scott Coykendall is a poet and writer in New Hampshire where he lives with his wife and daughters. He received his MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University then spent several years as a professional writer in the software industry. He's currently an Associate Professor of Professional Writing at Plymouth State University.

The project is underway

I thought I would start this off with a post describing the script we're working from. The screenplay is based on an AWFUL stage play that I wrote many years ago. The play, in turn, was based on the real-life road-trip that my wife, Tab, and I took to California with my little brother, Brian, and our good friend, Wendy. At the end of that trip, Tab and I stayed to live in California for the summer (that's where our first daughter was born), Brian and Wendy returned to Missouri. They drowned in a boating accident five days after they returned.

That little summary leaves out a lot of what happened--some fantastic memories of hiking and driving and enjoying adventures along that long, long road. It also leaves out the fact that they began an affair and that we quarreled bitterly about it. Our relationship when they set out to return to Missouri was, at best, strained.

The play, like much of my poetry at the time, was an attempt for me to process that mourning, remorse for some of our actions, my guilt over my role in their deaths. Strangely enough, the screenplay, which my friend Chad Cogdill (Producer and Director of Photography for the film) has pestered me to write for a decade, changes most of the circumstantial facts of the trip (most obviously, it reroutes the trip to Kentucky rather that westward to CA). But it manages to be more honest, more true, more effective, than the fact-based play. I wrote most of it late last Fall as my sabbatical was finishing up. Since then, Andrew Kramp (our wonderful director and a fantastic collaborator), Cogdill, and I have worked on it steadily. We've made some compromises--especially in settings--that are driven by budget concerns or technical issues (who knew that filming in a moving car was so challenging?). But they're both very committed to telling the story as I envisioned it...more precisely, we've collaborated to create a script that represents our shared vision. In other words, I'm still immensely proud of it and I hope it looks as good on film as it does in my head.

- Scott Coykendall, screenwriter