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Filming Set to Begin on Bridgewater Producer's Second Film

Rolando Vega's first project was completed his senior year at Messiah College—where he's now collaborating on a sci-fi feature.

Rolando Vega, of Bridgewater, is set to begin filming a new project, this time a sci-fi drama. Credit: Courtesy of Rolando Vega
Rolando Vega, of Bridgewater, is set to begin filming a new project, this time a sci-fi drama. Credit: Courtesy of Rolando Vega
For his senior year project at Messiah College, in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Bridgewater film student Rolando Vega made "Palace," a film about efforts to save an old movie theater from being destroyed

The project helped bolster his ambitions to become a filmmaker, and now, Vega is teaming up with some of his former campus friends for a 20-minute sci-fi movie called "Downward," written by fellow Messiah College alum Mike Ortiz.

Filming for "Downward"— funded with $15,250 raised on Kickstarter—is set to start in Mechanicsburg, Pa., Saturday, with LA-based actor Ethan McDowell.

"We're actually very proud to be able to draw actors from all around," Vega said Thursday, ahead of a planning meeting with McDowell and Ortiz later in the day.

In addition, the project will call on numerous Messiah College alumni and students to round out the cast and production crew, the Shields Drive resident added.

Vega graduated last year, and after a couple of internships at Los Angeles production companies where he learned more about script development and movie production already enjoys full-time work in the field, as the video producer for Princeton Alliance Church, in Plainsboro.

"It's actually a great full time job," he said, adding he not only gets to work in producing films, but also enjoys perks like an office—and income. "There's a lot of kids out there with cameras trying to do the same thing."

Both "Palace" and "Downward" are aimed at Internet broadcast opportunities. Vega said "Downward" will be a 20-minute film, while "Palace," which featured the Carlisle Cinema and Performing Arts Center, in Carlisle, Pa., runs about 30 minutes.

"It's in that 'no-man's land' of short films—that what I learned," he said.

Vega said the changing landscape for filmmakers is making the Internet market more attractive, with networks like Hulu, Yahoo! and Netflix building large audiences for streamed content. Feature-length films—something over 45 minutes—won't work as well on computers as shorter films, and genres such as comedy and sci-fi, which "Downward" falls into, work very well in chapters.

"We don't know that will happen, but we want to be prepared if it does," he said.

"Downward" will tell the story of a soldier’s widow searching for her husband’s body in the Dragoon Universe with bio-engineered warriors. The concept is one Ortiz has been developing for about 10 years—he and Vega even made a short film set in Dragoon Universe in college.

"I designed the body armor for that," Vega added.

He said they hope to have production completed in time for a May premiere during a special anniversary celebration at the Carlisle.

The Kickstarter fundraising is completed, but fans can still help support the budding filmmakers—links on their Dragoon.com page offer the same incentives for donors using PayPal.

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