California State University, Fullerton

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Screenwriting Student Debuts New Film

Oct. 11, 2012

Katelyn Downer, a grad student working on her masters in fine art degree in screenwriting, will see her film, "OC Hill Killers," debut at the Everybody Dies Horror Film Festival in Brea this week. It will air at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Brea Plaza 5 Cinemas.

Downer began work on her 15-minute short film as part of the Department of Radio-TV-Film's screenwriting program. Over the summer, she began working with fellow M.F.A. students, as well as professionals, to shoot the film.

"It was amazing to see what I had written become a story on the screen," said Downer. "It took months of hard work and meticulous planning, but it was all worth it. I was able to make a fun movie that horror and non-horror fans can both enjoy. At the same time, I gained real world experience of what it is like to work on the professional level."

Downer got the idea for the film when had to write a short script as an assignment for class.

"I always enjoyed 'Tales From the Crypt' and 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' as a kid and essentially each episode is just a short film," she said. "I miss having those shows on TV, so I thought, 'I should just make one for myself,' " said Downer. "I took the local urban legend of Black Star Canyon and the deranged people that are supposed to live in those hills and turned it into a version of the TV shows I loved."

"It is very exciting to see one of the students from our first M.F.A. in screenwriting class realize a project from idea to completion," said Jule Selbo, associate professor of radio-TV-film and head of the M.F.A. in screenwriting program. "Being a filmmaker — a combination of writer, director and producer is very important in today's marketplace and takes a lot of tenacity, organization and faith in oneself. Katelyn, from the first days of classes last year, made it clear that her favorite film genre was horror – and that is a fantastic genre for young filmmakers because the marketplace for it is huge.

"The fact that her film has been chosen for the festival is great. It's all very time-consuming and hard work – the M.F.A. program supports her on this and her other feature-length projects. And we are all excited to see this short film on the big screen!"

For a glimpse of what's ahead, the trailer can be seen online. More information and tickets are available at

By: Valerie Orleans, 657-278-4540

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