UNCSA’s short film Because We Have To is right for Sprite

by Mark Burger

UNCSA’s short film Because We Have To is right for Sprite

The UNCSA School of Filmmaking’s short film Because We Have To has been selected as one of six finalists for the Sprite Films Competition.

The film, which was written and directed by School of Filmmaking sophomore Lucian Murphree and produced by senior Char-lay Douglas, was among the 135 films submitted by 23 colleges and universities nationwide and is eligible to earn a $5,000 donation for the School of Filmmaking.

The six finalist films can now be viewed on-line at and viewers can vote for their “fan favorite.” Voting ends May 15 and the winning film will receive the $5,000 donation, with the winning team of filmmakers earning a trip to the American Film Institute (AFI) film festival in November in Los Angeles.

The winning film will also be screened in select theaters around the country in August, with the Green Ribbon Panel Winner determined by a group of industry experts and professionals. Members of the winning team will also have the opportunity to work on a Sprite project.

According to Susan Ruskin, the dean of the School of Filmmaking, “this is a wonderful experience for these young filmmakers. As a student, you want to take advantage of every opportunity to have your work seen by professionals in the industry. The feedback is immeasurable.”

In addition, projects such as this encourage students to expand and hone their skills as filmmakers. “They learn to create purpose-driven stories for companies like Coca-Cola,” she said. “Those skills are in high demand, so it enhances their resumes. To be one of six chosen (films) from among 135 entries is remarkable. It speaks to the quality of instruction our students receive. We are doing many things exceptionally well.”

Because We Have To tells the story of a gifted young graffiti artist driven to express himself in unusual and creative ways. The film’s cast and crew were comprised from students in various schools at UNCSA. School of Dance freshman Ariel Blake appears in the film, UNCSA School of Design and Production students included Amy McDonald (costume designer) and Haley Richardson (makeup), with Sam Ogden (a 2011 graduate of the School of Filmmaking) serving as the mural artist.

Other School of Filmmaking students involved in the film’s production were Ayinde Anderson (second assistant camera), Will Bethel (camera production assistant), Jack Caswell (director of photography), Dustin Chandler (production assistant), Kacie Craver (art director), Jeremiah Cullen (first assistant director), Andrew Dole (marketing manager), Anthony Goodman (first assistant camera), Tyler Harmon-Townsend (gaffer), David Harris and Ryan Heefner (editors), Carol Housel-Kenney (casting director), Clayton Kagi and Sean Kelley (grips), Graham Kennedy (still photographer), Matt Kenny (location manager), Will Massengill (behindthe-scenes sound mixer), Joshua Mayo (behindthe-scenes editor and actor), Cole McCabe (behindthe-scenes videographer), James McDonough (sound mixer), Donald Monroe (camera operator), Ryan Morris (electrician), Kathryn Mullaney (set dresser), Madeliene Painter (script supervisor), Isaac Phillips-London (production assistant), Matt Roveto (best boy electric), Drew Sanders (set decorator), Scott Siracusano (gaffer), Shaun Swift (production assistant), Aaron Tebor (production assistant), Chiara von der Goltz (production designer) and Clayton Witmer (production assistant).

The six films selected as Sprite finalists will premiere at CinemaCon, the yearly gathering of cinema owners and operators worldwide, which opened Monday in Las Vegas. !