By SARA ARTHURS
As the entertainment industry moves through awards season, there is much anticipation for the Academy Awards, which will be presented March 2.
One of the nominees, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” nominated for best original song, included two Findlay High School alumni on its camera team.
Tyler Allen, a 2004 Findlay High School graduate, was credited in the film as camera production assistant. Findlay resident Greg Kraus, a 1988 Findlay High School graduate, was a camera operator.
“Alone Yet Not Alone” is a faith-based film set in 1755 during the French and Indian War. The story follows two girls who are separated from their family during an Indian raid. The girls are taken into captivity and eventually reunited with their family.
“It was neat working on a period piece like that,” Kraus said.
Allen and Kraus both also worked on the feature film “Randomocity,” which was filmed in Findlay several years ago. Allen directed and Kraus was responsible for audio.
Allen said his work on “Alone Yet Not Alone” involved helping with monitors and getting things set up for the director and the director of photography so they could see what was being shot.
Allen has also worked on the “Law and Order” television series and has worked with magician David Copperfield. Now a resident of Atlanta, he joined the crew of “Alone Yet Not Alone” somewhat suddenly after another person had to leave. He and Kraus had both previously worked with James Suttles, the film’s director of photography. Suttles asked Allen if he could come in the next 24 hours to work with him and Kraus. His response was, “For anybody else, I don’t know. But for you guys, yes … I feel like they’re like the brothers I never had.”
So he dropped everything to join the “merry band of misfits” working on the film.
“I was in three different states in three weeks,” he said.
Allen enjoyed working on a historical movie and being in several interesting environments. One highlight was climbing up a giant rock face with “thousands of dollars of equipment” to crawl underneath a waterfall to set up the camera on the other side. The work was “completely, utterly dangerous. … It was a blast, though,” he said. “We had fun.”
Another memory was shooting at a real fort with “a lot of fake snow,” which is made up of fine particles that it isn’t healthy to breathe in. Allen has a photo of himself with a bandana covering his face looking like he’s about to commit a robbery.
Allen said “Alone Yet Not Alone” had a budget of about $7-8 million, which sounds like a lot but is low-budget for a Hollywood movie. The film was issued for limited release in September so not many people have seen it yet, Allen said, including himself.
Allen said he was “completely surprised” and “utterly shocked” upon learning the film had received an Oscar nomination.
He noted that there were many other films with great songs this year and he was surprised that “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” in particular, was not nominated.
The song that earned the nomination, also titled “Alone Yet Not Alone,” features music by Bruce Broughton and lyrics by Dennis Spiegel.
Kraus was in North Carolina working on another film in September and saw “Alone Yet Not Alone” in the theater. He heard that the film would also be released in Los Angeles around that time, which Kraus said is a requirement to be eligible for an Oscar nomination.
But with so many other films with great songs, Kraus thought at first “there’s no way” that a small, faith-based film like “Alone Yet Not Alone” would be considered for the Oscars.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Kraus said.
He is looking forward to seeing if the song is performed on Oscar night.
Kraus’ hope is that the nomination will mean “more exposure” for the film, encouraging more people to see it and exposing the work he, Allen and the rest of the crew did to a wider audience.
He said the film will likely have a wider release later this year. According to Internet Movie Database, that will happen in June.
Allen said tapping into people’s emotions is what he loves most about filmmaking. When he directed his first film, he sat in the back of the theater when it was being screened and was struck by seeing people cry at a sad scene.
“I like taking audiences on a journey that makes them look inward,” he said.
He encourages would-be filmmakers to “read a lot, as many books as you can,” and explore commentaries on DVD and Blu-Ray movies.
Kraus’ company, Cine’Foundry, provides production services and camera equipment for independent films and has offices in Findlay, North Carolina and Virginia. His work takes him all over the country but the State of Ohio is increasingly supporting the film industry so more projects are being filmed close to home, he said.
Allen and Kraus are now working on the film “The Shotgun Wedding,” a thriller in which a bride’s ex takes everyone in the church hostage on her wedding day.
“It’s basically what happens on the bride’s most beautiful day when it goes horribly wrong,” Allen said.
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