The film will have two showings in the Dixon Center on the Lee University campus, one at 7 p.m. and one at 9 p.m. Both showings are free and open to the public.
“I really want people to come out and experience this film for what it is because this was such a massive project that not only I was involved in, but so many other Lee students were involved,” film originator Nathan McKay said.
McKay began working on the project while he was a telecommunications major at Lee in April 2010.
“It’s about two different groups of young people who are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic event, and they are trying to figure out ... what is the meaning behind this event they know as ‘The Vanishing,’” he said.
Throughout the process the project has undergone many changes, including adding a student from Belmont University to compose music for the film.
“Having never done a feature before, every time we entered into the next phase of the film it was like starting over,” McKay said.
Editing of the film was a six-month process for the team. McKay said he also worked with Christopher Garmon of Regenerate Music to achieve a professional quality sound for the film. The end result was a 90-minute feature film. Finally finishing the film was McKay’s favorite part of the process.
Part of the film was shot in the Cherokee National Forest. McKay said getting permission to use this space is usually a difficult task.
“We had to get permission from the U.S. Forest Service,” McKay said. “They told me it usually takes six months to get a film permit from them, and I was very nervous because I didn’t think I would have enough time to get that film permit.”
He added, “My heart was set on filming there. It’s like a miracle they got it done in one month, full clearance, and we did it,” he added.
Filming at the location presented a challenge to the actors.
Actor Kyle Gazak said these scenes tested their stamina as they required running through the forest loaded down with heavy equipment multiple times.
Gazak joined the film in June 2010.
“He (McKay) gave the premise and broke down the script and the story, and I thought it was really interesting,” Gazak said. “There are two intertwining stories (and) the time setting.”
Gazak plays Lucas, a leader of a small group of people trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world.
“From an actor standpoint ... how cool would it be to play a character who has to raid houses almost every day just to find food and water, who can’t get near the cities because they are pretty much no man’s land (with) martial law, riots all the time ... with no clear direction of where you’re going. So, I thought that was kind of a cool character that I wanted to bring to life,” Gazak said.
Gazak said he enjoyed acting in the film because it gave him a chance to expand his experience and his skills set.
A few of the people working on the project who were not connected to Lee were some of the producers.
Evangelist Perry Stone, Pastor Mitch Maloney of North Cleveland Church of God and Pastor Timothy Teague of Victory Hill Church in Ohio were all producers for the film.
McKay said he connected with Stone after his presentation promoting the film at North Cleveland Church of God.
“I really could not have done the film without the support and encouragement of Victory Hill and North Cleveland and Perry Stone,” McKay said. “They were not just people who were on the sidelines just giving money. They were just completely instrumental in making sure the film was made.”
It was these churches that helped McKay raise his $20,000 budget.
The film is also set to premiere in Victory Hill Church.
The night will also give those who attend an opportunity to donate to the Jamie Caulk Memorial Scholarship Fund at Lee University. Caulk, who died before completion of the film, played Johnny in “The Pocketwatch.”
The event is being sponsored by the Lee service club Theta Delta Kappa.
McKay is still in discussions with Stone about possible distribution ideas though plans are not yet confirmed.