William Penn Professor Recognized at Film Festival

Standing left to right: Alex Perla, Kris Perla, Adam Chown, Matt Wagner. Kneeling left to right: Owen and Olivia Wagner

Standing left to right: Alex Perla, Kris Perla, Adam Chown, Matt Wagner. Kneeling left to right: Owen and Olivia Wagner

by Jessica Willett

(OSKALOOSA, Iowa) – What started as a fun family activity turned into a red carpet walk for William Penn University (WPU) Professor, and Director of the Digital Communication program, Matt Wagner.
Producing movies is a fun hobby in the Wagner household, but things changed the summer of 2017.

“Rather than just casually making a video, I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could work with my kids and really produce something,” Wagner said. “Plus, what grade school kid doesn’t want to star in an action movie?”

Wagner’s team included his wife, Lisa, their three children and two of their children’s friends. He also had help from his friend, and WPU colleague, Adam Chown. Together, they created Enemy Territory, a comedy about a couple of friends who go on a combat adventure.

Writing the script came easy. Recording only took a few days. Editing was another story.

“I had to teach myself how to do certain special effects, like explosions. I spent two days on just one eight-second clip,” Wagner said.

The entire process took more than half a year. After a private showing for friends and family, he posted the video on his YouTube channel and assumed it was done.

“I decided on a whim to submit it to a few film festivals,” Wagner said.

The Muscatine Independent Film Festival ran November 9-11. Enemy Territory was voted third place in the viewer’s choice category. Wagner and his team also earned a distinctive achievement certificate for first-time filmmaking.

“Seeing my kids getting interviewed on the red carpet, and being on stage for the question and answer sessions meant a lot to me,” Wagner said. “Hearing the audience laugh was a great experience.”

What’s next for Wagner family productions? Enemy Territory II, of course!

“When you teach sometimes you are overwhelmed by course preparation and grading. Sometimes you forget it was a love of the discipline that inspired you to teach it,” Wagner said. “Doing something that I love with my kids is a reminder that I love video production and am fortunate I get to teach it.”

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Posted by on Nov 25 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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