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Alums Create “Harbinger”

Harbinger posterFilmmakers Kieran Moreira and Andrew Martin were sitting around in the summer of 2012, charged by their boss at Drawbridge Media, a Raleigh video production company, to find content the studio could produce. They read script after script, but nothing really struck the pair. So Moreira decided to present his own idea.

“I had this one idea I called ‘Cloud Fortress,’” says Moreira, who graduated from NC State with a film studies degree in 2011. “I had this image of a boy trying to climb up to the sky.”

That nugget turned into the new short film, Harbinger, that Moreira directed and co-wrote with Martin. The independent movie will premiere at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on Centennial Campus Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The film centers around the relationship between a mother and her young son Harold, whose imagination helps him deal with the changing complexities of his reality. “We had always seen it as a fantasy based in reality,” Moreira says. “The fantasy hides the more harsh realities of the world. Harold is at a transition. He is discovering things from his past. So the fantasy is an escape, but it is a shield, too.”

Moreira and Martin, who graduated from NC State in 1999 with a textile engineering degree, learned their own realities could be harsh as well in the three years it’s taken to get the film out. They launched a campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for the production costs, and they didn’t reach their goal. And they didn’t have the luxury of focusing solely on their movie.

“There were tremendous challenges,” Martin says. “This was going to be a year or two of our lives. Even though Drawbridge was encouraging us, we still had a full slate of work from our day jobs.”

But the fact they were able to pull it off with the help of many volunteers was instrumental in accomplishing one of their main goals. They felt they could show that while movies like Iron Man 3, some of which was shot in Cary, N.C., garner a lot of attention for the film industry in North Carolina, there is a strong independent movement afoot in the state that is already producing quality work.

“Something we always wanted to do was to showcase the talents here at home,” says Paul Frateschi, the film’s director of photography and a 2009 NC State communication graduate. “A lot of those big films come in and bring in a DP [director of photography] from New York or out of state. We wanted to show what quality work we’re doing here locally. It was freelance crew people. It was the actors. We wanted to tell a North Carolina story with a North Carolina crew and cast.”

And that goal is tied to another one Martin sees as directly tied to his Wolfpack roots. “Ultimately, so much of the reason we did this was to build the community,” he says. “We would love to build the film studies program and communication department at NC State so more film can come out of there.”

This article by Chris Saunders originally appeared in NC State’s Red and White for Life blog, produced by the NC State Alumni Association.