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UNG film crew, made up largely of students, making short film outside Clermont
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Prussia Graul of Lawrenceville, an actress in “Dead Winter,” takes a break during filming at a farm outside Clermont. - photo by Jeff Gill

A post-apocalyptic world was created on a farm outside of Clermont so that Allison Hogue could further inspire her students looking to pursue careers in the film industry.

The rural touch included chickens roaming the yard.

“Actually, we didn’t want chickens,” Hogue said. “We had to write them into the script.”

Hogue, a lecturer of film and digital media at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus, spent Sunday, March 25, with a crew wrapping up production on “Dead Winter,” a sort of zombie drama with a Deep South backdrop.

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“Dead Winter” director Jason Winn works on the set of the independent film being made largely by University of North Georgia faculty, students and graduates. - photo by Jeff Gill
“The monsters are representative of demons we all deal with,” said director Jason Winn, an independent filmmaker. “We’re trying to turn the genre on its ear a little bit. It’s more metaphorical for either addiction or divorce — the idea that you’re hanging onto something longer after it’s dead.”

Hogue said she wrote the story primarily to benefit her students, “so they could have an opportunity to learn and network with the film community.”

Winn, a part-time instructor at UNG, said, “I thought it was a great idea to give the kids a chance to implement some of the things we talk about in the classroom.

“There’s no replacement for on-set experience. If you want to make movies, you have to be on the set. You can read books all day long, but until you’re in the thick of it, you won’t ever understand it.”

"As a former film student,” Hogue said in a UNG news article, “I remember how beneficial it was to make industry connections outside of the university.”

About 60 percent of crew is made up of UNG students or recent graduates, said Hogue, who is using a $5,000 grant, donations and her money to pay for expenses.

A couple of the crew members have experience on other productions, such as the popular Netflix series “Stranger Things,” which is filmed in Georgia.

Tax incentives have made Georgia a booming hub for Hollywood movie production.

“That was one of the inspirations for why I wanted to pursue (a film career) even more,” said Pedro Vera, a UNG senior and second assistant director on “Dead Winter.”

Jordan Hood, assistant editor and digital imaging technician, who is in his last semester at UNG, said the experience has been a great “test run” for a future career in the industry.

Lily Ojeda, a sophomore, agreed.

“The camera department is where I want to end up, and I got to do that yesterday,” she said.

Hogue said she hopes to wrap up post-production by the end of the summer, then take the film on a film festival run for about 1 ½ years.

She is hoping one of the showings will take place at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

After the run, “then we can post it online and everybody can see it,” Hogue said.

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