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UAlbany professor produces film on 1863 soldier in Gettysburg

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By Karolina Kierzkowska
Staff Writer
[email protected]
The University at Albany’s campus premiere of “Thirst: A Civil War Story” debuted a film that blended the artistic talents and top-notch production skills of the students and staff of the university.

The film’s producer, Audrey E. Kupferberg, Lecturer and Director of the Film Studies Minor, solicited volunteers among her film studies students at UAlbany to work on the crew alongside cinematographer Jeffrey A. Grove and other pro­fessionals.

New York Filmmaker John McCarty produced and directed the film, following his previous success entitled “Confinement.” “Confinement” was shot entirely indoors, and McCarty sought to film a movie entirely outdoors. “Thirst” was set on-location at Rensselaer historic site “Big Thunder.”

The story of “Thirst” is inspired by Stephen Crane’s novel “The Red Badge of Courage,” which tells of a young Union soldier caught in a cross­fire battle in 1863 Gettysburg. Following days of scarce resources, the soldier comes across a well, which unbe­knownst to him was guarded by enemy Confederate soldiers.

The Union volunteer befriends a fellow soldier, and the two concoct a plan to acquire water from the well without being shot.

The inspiration for the film resulted in a heart-warming chronicle of courage and friend­ship.

The two Union soldiers worked in harmony to work towards their goal for mutual benefit. They took risks and achieved their goal through dedication and a well-devised strategy.

Executive producer and direc­tor John McCarty brought his vision to life through a cast and crew of UAlbany students and associates. Actors portray­ing these characters are current UAlbany theatre majors, who have prior experience in stage­work and acting.

These actors included Derek H. Mellina, John Mac Schurr, Nick Brigadier, and others. The cast used their experience in stage work to quickly adapt to their character roles.

In addition, they sought the advice of professional re-enac­tors to accurately portray their roles.

UAlbany student Kit Goldstein Grant produced the musical score for the film. Grant has prior experience in film, as she previously worked on a silent short.

Producers John McCarty and

Professor Audrey Kupferberg contacted students within the UAlbany art sculpture program to conjure up a makeshift well for the focal point of the story­line.

Sculpture students carved a well out of a 4 by 4 foot chunk of foam, accurately replicating a realistic nineteenth century well.

The crew utilized their limited budget and resources to achieve the highest quality film possible. For example, they taped alumi­num foil to pieces of cardboard to create makeshift light reflec­tors on the set of the movie.

The crew experienced addi­tional obstacles while filming. The conditions were less than ideal—with consistent 95-degree heat and a nearby airport inter­fering with sound quality. The fields were filled with ticks and poison ivy, which caused a nega­tive reaction for many actors.

The “Thirst” team shot for a total of seven days, with about thirty set-ups across five hours each day.

The crew announced a storm date of March 27 at 8:30PM in room 126 of the Fine Arts Building, with free admission.

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