Digital Cinema student Tabitha Wheeler is spearheading a capstone film project unlike anything seen before at SOU. The project is likely to catch the eyes of movie lovers in the Ashland community and beyond, following its successful crowdfunding campaign, backing from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a passionately committed cast and crew.
Wheeler, a senior at SOU, wrote and is director and head producer of the film, “The Lost Years of Shakespeare.” She developed the script in early 2021, with the story following a woman who finds herself entwined in a mystery surrounding the cryptic death of Shakespeare. The film is set mostly in Ashland, and features landmarks such as the Ashland Springs Hotel and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It features professionally choreographed sword fights, and ties in with real historical events.
Wheeler began her career at SOU as an athlete, playing soccer. Having a long time love for filmmaking, dating back to elementary school, she chose Digital Cinema as her area of study and quickly flourished in the program. She has taken a break from soccer over the past year, and has gone full speed into her capstone project.
She began an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in March, and met her goal by the middle of April. There was an outcry of support from the Rogue Valley community, and the project quickly caught the attention of the local film community. More than $7,000 was raised through crowdfunding, exceeding Wheeler’s original goal and setting records for Digital Cinema capstone budgets.
The film is currently in production, with plans to wrap up shooting in mid-June and to begin post-production work shortly after. Wheeler and her crew plan to have a finished product by November, and to submit the project to various film festivals. They’ve had multiple location shoots, including trips up to Portland and the Oregon Coast. A shoot inside the OSF’s Elizabethan Theater is planned for this summer.
The capstone for Digital Cinema usually takes the form of a long term film project, with a full, student-run crew. Students typically spend a whole year in pre-production and research before filming even begins. The Digital Cinema capstone is intended to allow students to show their specialized skills, and get experience working on a long-term film project.
Story by Nash Bennett, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer