Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 22, 2013.

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A short film about a college theater troupe uniting for a commemorative performance in the wake of a campus tragedy.

Ghost Light

The film opens on an empty campus left in shock after the previous day’s shooting. We follow Erin as she works through her emotions, suppressing them in an attempt to restore a sense of order to the world around her. Throughout the film, hints of the tragedy are dropped through dialogue and visual clues, but it remains in the background as the characters attempt to make sense of the situation and navigate the healing process. Erin stands strong, navigating her cast and crew through any setbacks, putting all her emotion into the play that will serve as a memorial to the community.

The film brings awareness to the emotional and psychological effects of school tragedies. We are looking at the communities affected by violent events and how they struggle to regain a sense of normalcy. In Ghost Light, the students are traumatized, but they band together to show that they will not be defeated and that they will carry on. As filmmaker’s, we hope to extend this message of inspiration to students and communities. We are telling stories--through events, locations and characters.

Backstage Location at Boston University's College of Fine Arts
Backstage Location at Boston University's College of Fine Arts

Films help us to communicate the hidden difficulties people struggle with everyday. In Ghost Light, the students are standing up to gun violence and cultures of fear. Students defy the campus lock down to show they will not be intimidated. Erin puts all her energy into the play, tries to carry on with her life, but something holds her back. Each person may deal with emotions in his or her own way, but in times of tragedy, we come to understand the importance of community.

Cast and Crew

David Charpentier:
Mr. Charpentier is a graduate student on the Directing track at Boston University. As a filmmaker, he’s interested in collaborating with actors to communicate visual, emotional experiences.  He believes that filmmaking allows us to share psychological experiences with an audience, helping us in turn to understand the point of view of others.  He has a background in Architecture and has lived with his wife in Boston for the past four years. 

Ellen McQuaid Humphreys:

Ms. McQuaid is an Acting and Theater Arts major in Boston University’s renowned Theater program. This semester, she stars in a production of Penelopiad as Helen of Troy. She has previously appeared in productions of J.B., Trojan Women and Living Out. She also has a small role in Nick Cassavetes’ Yellow, premiering at this year’s SXSW festival.  

Leah Thomas:

Ms. Thomas is a Screenwriting graduate student at BU.  Her script for Ghost Light was inspired by her own undergraduate experience as a member of the UNC Pauper Players in Chapel Hill. The script has been nominated for several awards, including a finalist in Boston University’s own Fleder-Rosenberg Fellowship.

 
Paul Schneider:
Mr. Schneider is the current chair of the Film and Television Department at Boston University and faculty advisor on Ghost Light. He has over twenty years experience as a director and producer of film, television and theater. He has produced work for NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS and the Disney Channel, including episodes of JAG, 902120, and L.A. Law. His theater work includes productions for the New York Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp, the Manhattan Theater Club and Playwrights Horizons.

Michael Callahan:

Mr. Callahan is earning his MFA in Producing at BU. In addition to Ghost Light, he is also producing two other thesis films. Mr. Callahan has worked for Gante Films Ltd. in Chicago and currently interns at Hill-Holliday in Boston. He is also an executive producer with BU’s AdLab, producing commercials for Cutting Edge Grass, Dream Home Arlington, Autism Research Foundation and the City of Somerville.


Oleg Bolotov:
Mr. Bolotov is earning his MFA in Cinematography. He has consistently displayed a talent for subtle mood throughout his pieces. He currently works as a videographer for the BU College of Communication website and freelances on projects for the School of Management.

Laura Jennings:
Ms. Jennings is talented editor with a background in Creative Writing and television. While earning her MFA at Boston University, she has worked as a corporate videographer and editor specializing in internal training. She is very interested in extracting the psychological relationship inherent in montage and storytelling through complex imagery.

Daniel Forde: 

Mr. Forde, a native of Dublin, is a Fulbright Scholar studying jazz and performance composition at Berklee School of Music. He is a talented composer and pianist with interests in songwriting and theater. Daniel recently performed at Emerson College as part of the "Writing the Film Musical" program.

Sample of an instrumental track composed by Daniel Forde for the film.

Character costume sketches courtesy Meagan Gorham
Character costume sketches courtesy Meagan Gorham

Why Donate?

Donating to Ghost Light provides you the opportunity to be involved with something special. As students at Boston University, we have accrued a wealth of practical knowledge and experience. This thesis project is not only the culmination of our work, but helps spread the message of the lasting effects of campus violence. We have access to a wonderful selection of camera, audio, lighting and grip equipment through the Film and Television and Theater Arts departments. However, we still need assistance in paying for sets and wardrobes, securing musical and recording equipment, and feeding our numerous cast and crew.

Any donations will go exclusively toward the creation of this project. Boston University, through the Department of Film and Television, is the financial sponsor of this project. As students, this is the final step toward our degree. As members of a large community campus, this is our message of inspiration.

Director's Vision: Production design for Erin's room
Director's Vision: Production design for Erin's room

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Short films are always risky endeavors as so many things can go wrong. Luckily, we have the weight of Boston University behind us. We have already casted the principle roles and secured our locations, such as Boston University’s TheatreLab808 for the interior scenes. BU’s Office of Risk Management buys insurance for the production and it’s locations. In addition, we have a faculty advisor, Paul Schneider, to review our strip boards, budget, and locations.

This thesis project is our chance to show that we can make films in a professional manner. That means we plan for everything, including the unexpected. We have backup actors and actresses. We have made plans for inclement weather and location complications. In addition, our faculty advisor oversees every step of our work, ensuring our production will run smoothly.

The greatest risk for Ghost Light is in distribution and marketing. Short films, especially student productions, have a difficult time reaching large audiences. Consider that Sundance received 8,102 short film submissions and selected only sixty five. This is our thesis film and we want people to see what we can do. Thus, we will submit our film to carefully selected festivals in the Northeast and across the U.S. After it’s festival run, the film will be available online.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    4 backers

    A special “Thank You” credit at the end of the film and an invitation to a screening in Boston. The opportunity to appear as an extra in a key scene. Travel to set not included.

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    A signed DVD copy of the film. The opportunity to appear as an extra in a key scene. A special “Thank You” credit at the end of the film and an invitation to a screening in Boston. Travel to set not included.

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    A high quality, instrumental version of the musical number in the film. The opportunity to appear as an extra during the performance sequence. A signed DVD copy of the film. A special “Thank You” credit at the end of the film and an invitation to a screening in Boston. Travel to set not included.

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    A copy of the poster design used in the film in addition to a high quality, instrumental version of the musical number in the film. The opportunity to appear as a featured extra during the performance sequence. A signed DVD copy of the film. A special “Thank You” credit at the end of the film and an invitation to a screening in Boston. Travel to set not included.

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    Producing credit to be displayed on a title card. A copy of the poster design used in the film in addition to a high quality, instrumental version of the musical number in the film. The opportunity to appear as a featured extra during the performance sequence and a character named after you. A signed DVD copy of the film and an invitation to a screening in Boston. Travel to set not included.

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    All of the above plus the opportunity for a group hug from the cast and crew, either on set or at the screening. Travel to set not included.

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- (30 days)