APU Screens Award-winning Alumni Film

by Logan Cain

The APU Cinematic Arts program hosted an Alumni Open House, screening five films produced by former students, on October 24. The featured films included “Where Are They Now?,” “June Born in May,” “Love 146,” and “Before We Meet,” alongside “Luiseño,” named “Best Student Film” at the Eighth Annual Trinity Film Festival in August. “Luiseño” competed with more than 1,000 submissions from across the country and around the world, ranging from student works to professional projects.

“Luiseño” is a period piece about the Temecula Valley massacre of 1847, an account never before depicted in film. “Luiseño” is a story of redemption. It shows that whatever happened in the past does not have to control your future,” said Corban Aspegren ’15, writer and director of photography for the film. A realistic historical film, “‘Luiseño’ garnered a $15,000 budget, the largest ever allotted to an APU senior capstone project. The ambitious production involved a cast and crew of 60. ‘Luiseño’ was a bold project, with a lot of risks,” said Aspegren. “But we learned from the challenges, and it made the film’s success even more gratifying.”

Aspegren said facing obstacles with courage proved an important skill that he learned during his time at APU. “My professors encouraged me to aim high and not let fear of failure hold me back from reaching my true potential,” he said.

Tanner Morrison ’15, director of “Luiseño,” also attributed skills he learned at APU to his success as a filmmaker, recalling that his professors taught him how to be open-minded and consider others’ perspectives. “I’ll utilize those life-lessons throughout my career,” he said.

The filmmakers relied on their faith and a strong sense of community to see the project to fruition. “We would pray at the beginning of each filming day, which put us in a productive mindset,” Morrison said. “The best thing that came from the experience was the family we built, from volunteers to core cast and crew members,” said Aspegren.

“Luiseño” helped propel these alumni to success as industry professionals. Aspegren works as a Walt Disney World entertainment stage technician in Orlando, Florida. Morrison, Trevor Satterwhite ’15, sound designer, and Tom Scott ’15, editor, founded a production company in San Dimas called ARTIFACT Film Co. Allie Lapp ’15, producer, plans to move to London in September 2016 to start a post-grad program for film and television production. Yasha Sojwal ’15, producer, is a freelance contractor and administrative assistant with several production companies in the Los Angeles area. Connor Eaton ’15, first assistant director, works for video services at SCEA PlayStation headquarters in San Mateo. Ryan Bowman ’15, producer, recently landed a job with NBC Universal in Los Angeles.

Logan Cain '18 is a public relations intern in the Office of University Relations. He is a biblical studies and humanities major in the Honors College.