Allen students use film to explore ‘The Ocean Inside’

Students can walk the "Red Devil Carpet" on Friday evening for the premiere of Allen Community College's first student-produced film. Allen has expanded its theatre program to include film.


Local News

March 27, 2024 - 2:11 PM

Nautiana Goforth and Tiago Cortes are featured in a scene from “The Ocean Inside,” a film produced by Allen Community College’s Theatre and Film Department. The artistic, movement-based film is the college’s first and will premiere at 7 p.m. Friday at Allen Theater. Courtesy photo

Director Maddie Hogden hopes viewers will feel “The Ocean Inside,” a short film that is the first production offered by Allen Community College’s newly minted Theatre and Film Department. 

“It’s a movement piece,” Hogden said. “We wanted to show our struggles. Everybody goes through something but at the end of the day, we’re all here for each other.”

The college will offer a special premiere event to debut “The Ocean Inside” at 7 p.m. Friday at the Allen Theater. It’s a chance for students to dress up, walk the “Red Devil Carpet” and view the film. There’s no charge to attend and the event will include refreshments, behind-the-scenes footage and an opportunity to ask questions and talk to the creative team.

Allen’s theatre department expanded this year to include film production, department director Tricia Stogsdill said. Students learn all aspects of film production in addition to traditional theatre courses. It’s important for students to understand film production not just to expand career opportunities but also because video is integral to theatre as well, Stogsdill said. 

“I think theater will become more multimedia. Even with stage auditions, usually the first rounds are taped now,” she said. “Being able to act on camera and to do film production work makes our students so much more versatile and more prepared for their careers.”

Allen Community College students Kylie Price, Protagonist, and Mariah Stackhouse, Hope, act in “The Ocean Inside.”Courtesy photo

FOR THE 20-minute film, students have worked more than five months.

The creative team started working on the film in November, just after they wrapped a stage production. They spent months planning and creating the film, then had just one week to film. From there, they moved on to editing. The editing process continued as of this interview on Monday.

Stogsdill introduced students to “devised movement theatre,” which uses an ensemble to create a piece through improvisation. 

“It’s a really organic and unique way to approach theatre. We took it one step further by filming it,” she said. 

Students developed every aspect of the production, from the story and script to the costumes and set to the transitions between scenes, though professional cinematographers helped with the filming process.

The ocean theme developed along the way. Stogsdill noted she often hears students use ocean metaphors to describe their college experience, such as “trying to keep my head above water,” “feeling like I’m drowning” and “waves of emotions.”

Students turned those metaphors into literal representations, with protagonists facing characters such as Hope, Shame and Death. 

Austin Morris is part of the ensemble and plays the character of Shame. The experience has given him a better understanding of the challenges of filmmaking, and the confidence to tackle a new medium.

Nautiana Goforth is part of the acting ensemble and serves as assistant director.

“With film, you can do multiple takes and try different ways to express yourself. You can create different emotions and find which one works best,” she said.