Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


May 23, 2014

'Excited and shocked'

Former Westwood native wins national film honors

LEXINGTON — Kelley Cantrell always loved movies. Now, she’s making them.

In fact, the 32-year-old former Westwood resident recently learned her first movie, a short film called “The Marker,” has been named a 2014 American Movie Awards finalist.

Cantrell, daughter of Larry and Teresa Cantrell, earned a bachelor’s degree from Midway College after graduating from Fairview High School in 2000.

“I was looking for a teaching job, but that was hard to find,” Cantrell said, noting she is working as a nanny. “Then, a friend suggested a take the Script to Screen course at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.”

The 16-week course teaches filmmaking, which is where “The Marker” was created while Cantrell earned her certificate. “I learned so much from it and I was really impressed,” she said. Each student wrote, produced and directed a short film. Cantrell also had a small, nonspeaking role in the film.

Cantrell finished her certificate in December 2013 and she entered her film in the competition.

“The day the announcement came out, I was very nervous,” she said. “I tried to keep my mind off of the announcement and just kept busy.

“Late that night, the nominations and winners were announced. When I saw ‘The Marker,’ I was very excited and was in shock. It wasn’t until a couple days later when I received the official email that I felt it was real. I am very honored for the recognition, and excited for the actors as well as the crew who worked on the short with me.”

Stephanie Fitch, film studies coordinator at BCTC, said she was the executive producer and provided moral support to Cantrell, encouraging her to enter the contest.

“I was extremely proud of Kelley when she won. She had worked so hard and truly worked through a lot of obstacles to complete her film,” Fitch said. “She is such a talented filmmaker and has a great passion for her craft.  I think she will do great things with her career.”

“The Marker” is about an elderly woman who is being visited at night by a masked figure. Her doctors are not sure if they can believe her, so she takes matters into her own hands.

The American Movie Awards was created in 1980 to honor excellence in filmmaking. Past winners include Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg. The competition draws entrants worldwide.

Cantrell is working on another short called "Magic Trick, with PEHG Productions. “Magic Trick,” written by Gerald Teaster, is about making choices that no one should have to make, she said. She said she hopes the film will be available for viewing by October.

Meanwhile, “The Marker” can be seen on vimeo.com and on youtube.

Cantrell’s long-term plans are to own a production company and produce independent movies.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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