For one screenwriter, horror is a group of film students on an abandoned, snow-covered farm shooting their final video project. When they realize they aren’t alone, the group learns what it means to be truly afraid.
Six film students team up, rent a van and travel to a halloween attraction farm that’s closed for the winter to shoot a horror film. They set up their campsite to begin shooting and the terror begins, as a cold case involving a serial killer resurfaces.
In his first feature film, writer and director David Boorboor drew inspiration from the early 1880s story of the Corpse Collector, Harrison Graham, to create the storyline for “A Place in Hell.” The Philadelphia Independent Film Festival premiered the film Oct. 25 at the University of the Arts’ Levitt Theater on Broad Street near Pine.
While casting for the film, Boorboor, a 2001 Rowan University film alumnus, discovered the talent of students Brooke Storms and Caroline Elizabeth. Boorboor has previously worked with Temple students and said the university is “a rich place with a strong film department.”
Both Storms and Elizabeth auditioned for roles and starred in the film, which meant learning to balance acting and school.
Storms, a junior, and Elizabeth, a 2015 public relations alumna, met two years ago while taking the “Art of Acting” course at the Center City Campus. Boorboor first met Elizabeth at the Walking Fish Theater in Fishtown and was inspired by her performance, later creating a character based on her personality.
Elizabeth was cast as Lizzie Davis, the boom operator in the group of film students.
She wanted Storms to have the same opportunity and sent Boorboor a tape of Storms’ acting.
“The best part of the acting class was meeting Caroline,” Storms said. “She gave me this opportunity and willingly helped me learn.”
Ultimately, Storms received the role of Kait Bloom, a character with a positive outlook on life and a hatred of horror.
“My character is really in touch with nature, so I spent a lot of time outside in the grass meditating,” Storms said.
Filming began at Creamy Acres Farm in Mullica Hill, New Jersey in January 2014, the second semester of Storms’ freshman year at Temple. Storms said a friend told her, “‘You can’t take the role and quit school,’” but Storms could not pass up the opportunity.
For three weeks, the cast members spent 16 hours a day filming scenes.
“It was 10 degrees and I would film and then go back to the hotel to work on homework,” Elizabeth said.
For both Storms and Elizabeth, it was an opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Lewis Smith and Noree Victoria, two experienced actors among the cast, gave advice to the aspiring actresses.
“Everyone was so close,” Storms said. “Filmmaking is a collaborative project. Every single person matters.”
In the fast paced environment, Storms and Elizabeth learned to improve more than their acting skills.
“I learned camera functions and where I fit into the frame,” Storms said.
Without Temple, both Storms and Elizabeth said they would never have had the opportunity to star in a feature film.
“Temple is a school built to give opportunities,” Storms said.
Madison Hall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.