Student goes to Hollywood

Mantis and Moon, an independent film company in Delta, Ohio, had its first full-length film, “Out of the Shadows,” accepted to the Hollywood DV Festival last month.

It was screened on Dec. 10 at the Raleigh Studios in Hollywood California and won the award for Best Drama/Feature.

What is even more impressive is that the movie was edited by the University’s own, Will Graver.

Graver, a senior visual communication technology major, transferred to Bowling Green in 2004 and was introduced to Cap Averill II, the creator and owner of Mantis and Moon.

“I met with Cap with the intent to simply ask about their video productions,” Graver said. “I ended up getting my first Co-op with Mantis and Moon and have worked with Cap since then.”

Editing is not the only thing that Graver has been concentrating on at Mantis and Moon productions; he has also assisted on the shooting and editing of local concerts and commercials. The intern is also the main organizer for the film festival submission process.

For Mantis and Moon’s next full-length feature-which will begin shooting later this spring-Graver has been slated to co-direct and edit the film.

“Basically I am willing to be a part of every aspect of the movie making process in order to best familiarize myself with the industry,” he said.

As for now, Graver and Mantis and Moon have been fully committed to making sure that Out of the Shadows can be seen by as many people as possible. So far, the movie has been submitted to about 30 different film festivals across the country and they are planning to submit the movie to 100 more festivals in 2006.

“Out of the Shadows” focuses on two friends and how they both deal with their failing marriages. The two characters deal with their new lives in different ways.

“One of the truly unique aspects of the picture is how it compares to nature of human life,” Graver said. “Using high definition video, we were able to capture some amazing nature shots and juxtapose them with personalities in the movie.”

Graver stressed how big of an accomplishment winning the award in Hollywood was for Mantis and Moon.

“The award is a huge deal because it puts Mantis and Moon on the map for quality independent motion pictures,” he said. “We now have recognition and are encouraged to put even more effort into the next project.”

Cap Averill II is also very pleased with the amount of success that Mantis and Moon has already received, despite its short history and smaller budgets.

“We operate on the premise that it’s all about the story,” Averill II said. “The basis of our whole movie company is to challenge ourselves on budgets less than $20,000 to compete with other movie companies with bigger budgets.”

Averill II also is not ruling out the fact that with success at film festivals, the better the chance for “Out of the Shadows” to get a distribution.

“Chances for a distribution deal are good,” he said. “Right now, the smartest thing to do is to keep submitting to film festivals and rack up more awards. To see a positive crowd reaction is what is really rewarding for me.”

The most rewarding thing for Graver is that his hard work has landed him a position to work with Mantis and Moon and to continue to do what he loves.

His hard work has not gone unnoticed by Stephan Hillerbrand, a video professor at the University.

“Will is one of the most talented, hard working and professional students and it’s been a pleasure to be able to know him,” Hillerbrand said. “I know he wants to do more directing and I think that is the perfect area for him because he truly has the ability to do it.”

And as for Graver’s future, that is exactly what he wants to do.

“It is my ultimate goal, as is with many film buffs, to one day direct my own full-length motion picture,” Graver said. “Mantis and Moon may give me that opportunity sooner than later.”