Local university's film project turned feature film picks up distribution

SAN DIEGO - Call it the movie project that defied the odds. A feature film that began as a senior project at a local Catholic university has inked commercial distribution and is now available online.

In the film, entitled "Red Line," survivors of a subway tunnel collapse in Los Angeles fight for their lives along with a hidden threat.           

It is a challenging task, but the biggest challenge of all was getting the movie made in the first place.

Matthew Connors' reaction some two years ago was, "How are we going to do this? It seems impossible!"

Connors, who was then a graduate student at John Paul the Great, a small Catholic university in Scripps Ranch, was told the school would help if students wanted to raise the bar beyond a short film project.

Dominic Iocco was dean of the film and media department.

"Having a credit on a short film doesn't do much for your career, but having a credit on a substantial feature film is great if you want to be in the media industry," said Iocco, "

Industry people told him it could not be done, but Iocco was undeterred. He used faculty connections to snag a director, actors and other key positions with television and film credits.

The rest of the crew – some 60 others – was students, about half the student body.

A student wrote the screenplay. Then, students went to family, friends and school for investors and helped raised more than $200,000.

Most of the film was shot inside a small sound stage at the school. A flipped subway car and tunnel was built inside the room.

Students got a bus graveyard to donate parts. They also persuaded a demolition company to donate the rubble.

The film was shot in the summer of 2011.

"It was exciting but overwhelming at times, but the experience was invaluable," said Connors, who was 1st Assistant Director for the project. "You learn how to think outside the box and be creative because things go wrong all the time. You just don't get that unless you're in the middle of it."

Two years later, the film just became available for purchase at Amazon, iTunes and Redbox.

DVDs will be sold at Walmart and Target in October.

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