March 2017 WVFG Newsletter

Hello, Industry Friends!

What’s New with the Guild


Our Newsletter

We’re excited to be sharing our inaugural issue of the quarterly WVFG newsletter. Our goal is to share industry news, casting and crew calls, highlight member news, and of course, share what’s going on with the Guild! If you would like to contribute news, blogs, or share industry events, please email

New Website Design

Check out our new website that’s been revamped with a new design layout and navigation options, including company sponsors, document database for members, and more. Visit to see the new site and navigate through the new options!

Member Spotlight: Meet Zach Labin

zach on set 2017

My name is Zach ‘of all trades’ Labin, and I’m a West Virginian filmmaker! I grew up here, work here, and currently reside here. I’m from Morgantown and live in Charleston.

My first job in film was as a Production Assistant, and I loved it! It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but it was totally rewarding. You bust your hump to get the job done, and at the end of the day, you sleep soundly because you know you worked hard and gave it your all!

I have worked on television network shows for the History Channel, CW, and Discovery, along with all genres of film projects. I have had the privilege of working with various actors including James Franco, Dean Cain, and Jay Leno. My short film, “Appalachian Memories,” won an award at the 2015 West Virginia FIlmmaker’s Festival.

Recently, I’ve been working on a short film titled “Commando.” In the film, Joel and Claire meet at a laundry mat and have to solve the mystery of missing panties together! I fell in love with the script as soon as I read it, and if the rough cuts are any indication, it will be a laugh a minute. A great thing about this film is that it was written by, produced by, and stars ALL West Virginians.

Joining the West Virginia Filmmakers Guild has given me the opportunity to network not just with other Mountain State filmmakers, but also with legends of the industry, like John Russo and Bob Tinnell. It has also allowed me to meet award winning special effects master, Brad Kalinoski, who was responsible for all those tiny feathers in “Black Swan.”

How was the Guild able to bring in such high caliber talent?

Because all of these people have a West Virginia connection! West Virginia may not be the first state you think about when you think about film. But that may change in a few years as the Guild continues to host workshops and seminars to help build the talent pool in the state.

It is important to me, personally, to make sure the talent in rural Appalachia is brought into the spotlight, so I have been working on a podcast where I interview other creatives in the state. The podcast is part of a web project, “AFGT.” That stands for Achievers, Freaks, Geeks, and Techies. The site offers tips and tricks to creatives of all types. I hope to have the site live by June 2017.

I look forward to continued success within the industry and I hope to meet more of you soon!


Grants Update

The WVFG is thrilled to share that we were recently awarded the Charles Nailler Foundation Grant in the amount of $3000.

We recently submitted for the West Virginia Development Office Flex-e-Grant in the amount of $8500 with a match of $1500. If received, the monies would go towards industry training in ARC-designated At-Risk or Transitional counties in West Virginia.

We also submitted for the NEA FY 2017 Art Works II Grant for an Appalachia in the Media Documentary. If awarded, the Guild would receive up to $70,000.

Closed Out:
The Hollywood Hillbilly Documentary project received $20,000 from the National Endowment of the Arts in 2015.

Grant Opportunities:
We’ve also helped other projects receive grant funds, and we’d love to help you. If you have a grant of any sort that you believe you or your organization might qualify for, we are willing to help you complete and submit the grant. Contact for more info.


Board Update


We look forward to introducing you to the members of our board and what we’re up to each quarter!

Justin was the WVFG treasurer since 2014 until becoming president in June 2016. He has lived in and out of Morgantown, West Virginia for the past fourteen years as well as Los Angeles, Singapore, and Brazil to name a few. He attended WVU with a bachelor’s in Marketing and Los Angeles Film School for Directing, Editing, and Producing. Currently in the Master Screenwriting Class at ScreenwritingU. Justin’s created over twenty commercials for Comcast and has worked on multiple shorts and feature projects as director, camera, sound, lighting, editing, grip, and even acted for a few years. He has well-rounded experience in all phases of production. Over twenty years of experience in all facets of the Entertainment industry. Justin enjoys photography, art, and writing when he finds time.


Industry News


WVU Film Club president wins best director award at Sundance Film Festival

Budget plan spotlights WV Film Office, tax credits

The Guild is working with local organization to support retaining the Film Office and Film Tax Credits in WV. Please contact your local representatives to share your concern and desire for the film credits to stay in WV. Some facts about the WV Film Credits are below:
* The WV Film Office and the film investment tax credit has had a major economic impact in WV.
* From fiscal-year 2008, when it began, until 2014 (the most recent data available), the credit had generated $43 million dollars in direct expenditures within the state of West Virginia. Those expenditures include wages, hotels, restaurants, rental companies, props, etc. The aggregate amount of tax credits during this six-year period totaled $13-million.
* Cutting the WV Film Office and the state tax credits doesn’t impact just the film industry here in the state but all of the people and businesses that support it. Some feel it only effects out of state workers which is clearly not the case. To give you an idea of the impact the industry has here in West Virginia when a movie is filmed here it employs local workers for jobs such as electricians, contractors, painters, set design, wardrobe and costume, not to mention the locals that work on the film crews. Businesses that benefit from the work are caterers, car rentals, equipment rental, dry cleaners, locally based locations. Productions in WV support local businesses and workers!

Please help us support the WV Film Office and speak up to retain the WV Film Credit program!


Casting and Crew Calls


Click on the image to find out more!

JC Films begins production of the Film “Choices,” in Huntington, WV in mid March. Choices is based on the life story of Ronald James. To find out about casting, crew positions, and how to support the film, click on the image to the left.

Megan s

Find out more by clicking on the image!

Crew Call for Short Film “Remnants”

26th of Feb, and 11-12,17 and 19 of March.
Looking ONLY for 2nd AD and UPM at this time.
It’s a noir story – a short film – titled Remnants, by Eyes On Entertainment in the general Pittsburgh area.
If you have any interest, e-mail James Garvin at


Cody Knotts

Kecksburg Feature Film

Casting Notice: We will accept video auditions. Please send headshot and resume to

Production title: Kecksburg
Union / Non-Union: Non-Union
Production Type: Independent
Project length: Feature Film (92 minutes)
Project format: 16:9 HD
Posted on: Friday, February 10th, 2017
Production location: Preston County, West Virginia
Production Company: Grand Conspiracy Films LLC/Principalities of Darkness LLC with Kecksburg, LLC (to be formed)
Company website:
Director: Cody Knotts (IMDB:
Producer: Vincent Ruffalo (IMDB:
Casting Director: Emily Lapisardi
Audition Location: Preston County Community Arts, Kingwood, WV
Shooting Location: Preston County, WV
Compensation: Major roles, yes
Auditions: May of 2017 (Exact date TBA)
Call Backs: June of 2017
Shooting Starts: March 2018
Shooting Ends: April 2018
December 9th, 1965 an object comes from the sky in the small Pennsylvania town of Kecksburg. A reporter John Murphy and a local housewife Roza investigate the scene as the military and mysterious men in black try to cover up the truth. Is it Russians? Or is it Aliens?
Character BIOS
[ANNE] [GENDER: FEMALE] [AGE: 20-25] [CAUCASIAN due to story line]
Anne feels trapped by her job at the radio station and her life. Her secret love for Clutch is forbidden due to his age and race. But the events of the evening signal a chance for a real change in her life.
“Trailbreak” Tommy is the best young woodsman of Kecksburg. Loyal and honest, he discovers that his only salvation might be the time-tested skills of the woods.
[CLUTCH] [GENDER: MALE] [AGE: LATE 30’S TO 40’S] [RACE: AFRICAN-AMERICAN] Smart, determined, talented and loyal, everything should be great for Clutch. But due to his race, his heroism, his skill and the woman he loves are all denied to him. The events of December 9th might be his last hope.
Ralph argued with his mother in the morning and just wants to go home. He loves his friends, but he feels deep down that he’s not “man enough”. All he really wants is to tell his mom “I’m sorry”.
Intimated by Tommy’s skills, David tries to compensate by bullying poor little Ralph. He doesn’t mean to be a bully, he’s just hiding his own fears. He would give his life to protect Ralph and Tommy.
National Guardsman and an overbearing racist. He despises the changes that are enabling African-American’s to be treated better.
Must look similar to real life person
West Virginia’s most famous Senator. He will be a voice of reason in a time of crisis.
The famed first general of the 28th Infantry Division, former Senator and Governor of Pennsylvania. He now heads the secret organization entrusted with protecting this nation from extra territorial threats. Must look similar to the real life person.
Chaffee wants to tell off his partner, Private Adams. He endures his racism towards every black man he encounters. Chaffee finds it odd that Adams never directs it towards him though. Deep down, Chaffee just wants to do the right thing, whatever that is.
Barbara is a free spirit and a trend setter. She is a tomboy like Katherine Hepburn.
Richard is young firefighter who is terrified of what the object might be. He will do anything to live through the night.
Man in Black
Man in Black, also Priest. Knowledge of Latin a plus
ADDITIONAL ROLES (Some have one or two lines, most do not)
Aliens Young females need between the height of 48 inches to 54 inches tall (by filming)
National Guardsman (Significant screen time, some have lines, featured)
Firefighters (Significant screen time no lines, featured)
Men in Black (Featured in singular scenes, creepy appearance a plus)
Townsfolk (All ages, races, genders)


Coming Soon

Industry Workshops
WVFG Member Meeting
WVFG Blog Launch