By Angie Herrington
On shelves at movie rental chains across the country is the new DVD release "Secret of the Cave," a film created by Southern Adventist University with the help of students and faculty.
The family-focused adventure film was shot in Ireland and is the first feature-length film produced by the university, officials said.
Mark Thomas, one of the film's producers and the university's school of visual art and design manager of productions, said the university wanted to tackle the project to give film students hands-on training.
"It's a really awesome idea the way the university had this vision to do a project that would actually give their students experience so when they graduate, they're more marketable," he said.
Southern chose to pursue "The Secret of the Cave" as its film project in spring 2004, officials said. The film is based on a 1920s children's book of the same name.
Melody George, 24, a 2006 Southern graduate who works in Burbank, Calif., as a freelance film editor, was one of about 35 students who helped in the making of the film.
She said being on Achill Island off Ireland's western coast and working as a camera assistant and editor was a memorable experience.
"It was just very valuable in terms of getting jobs out here (in California)," she said. "It was great for me to be able to put on my resume that I had worked on a feature film."
Mr. Thomas said the university chose the story of "Secret of the Cave" because it portrayed positive family values and was interesting.
The film tells the story of Roy Wallace, "a young American boy who spends his summer in Ireland and solves the mystery that captivates the entire village," according to the film's Web site.
A casting call was done in Los Angeles to find the actor who played Roy, Mr. Thomas said. Another casting call in Dublin, Ireland, was used to select most of the other actors in the film, he said.
"Secret of the Cave" in October 2006 was awarded the Crystal Heart Award from the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, he said.
Mr. Thomas said the film was one of five in a group of more than 120 films to receive the award.
"The quality of some of these other films was just incredible, so it was really an honor to be a part of that and be selected at that festival for an award," he said.
E-mail Angie Herrington at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Spring 2004 -- "Secret of the Cave" chosen by Southern as the film project to pursue
* May 2005 -- Filming begins in Ireland
* October 2006 -- Film receives Crystal Heart Award at Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis
Source: Southern Adventist University
HOW TO SEE IT
The "Secret of the Cave" DVD is available nationally at Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, Hollywood Video and RedBox and online at BarnesandNoble.com, ChristianBook.com, SilverPlatters.com, CDUniverse.com, Amazon.com and AdventistBookCenter.com.
For more information on the film, go to http://secretofthecave.com/cave.html