BUCKHANNON — A Buckhannon woman made her short film debut in a five-minute work that will be shown at this weekend’s West Virginia Filmmakers Festival in Sutton.
Hope Cunningham portrays a nurse in “The Unfinished Short Film,” which will be shown Sunday, Oct. 8 as part of West Virginia Screening Group from 3:15-4:30 p.m. in Elk Theater.
Cunningham said her interest in the film industry began as she was researching for her daughter.
“My daughter is wanting to do film and modeling and I didn’t know anything about that,” she said. “So, I went to a Facebook page — where sometimes they put out casting calls.”
Cunningham first did a commercial for The Greenbrier which she said helped her in getting the role in “Unfinished.”
In addition, she had to film herself doing monologues which the director Andrew Broadhurst used to select the cast.
Cunningham said she is glad to have been cast in a film with a special message.
“It moves you and it touches you,” she said. “There is that ‘aha’ moment when you realize what is going on and you get it. That’s a very good moment in the film. I wish I could see it as an audience member to experience that.”
In the short film, Cunningham plays a nurse. The Martinsburg, W.Va. scenes were filmed in a hospice in Martinsburg and Cunningham said there was a comedic moment when one of the patients mistook her for an actual nurse.
That gave Cunningham the context to utter the line, “I’m not really a nurse, I just play one on TV.”
Cunningham was then able to get a real nurse to help the patient.
Broadhurst did something special for each of the three actresses in the film by dedicating the film to someone they wanted to recognize. Cunningham had lost an aunt who was more like a mom to her and the film is dedicated in that person’s memory.
Broadhurst shot two short films previously and brainstormed “Unfinished” about two years ago.
“The film is a celebration of art, music and life,” he said. “It was just an idea that came to me when I was walking in the woods and then later in my residence. I decided I wanted to make it into a short film.”
The first half of the five-minute film was shot in Oakland, Md. in October 2016 and the second half was shot in March in Martinsburg where Broadhurst lives.
Hospice of the Panhandle allowed “Unfinished” to be filmed in one of their locations.
“It was very realistic,” he said. “I had a lot of the respect for the environment we were filming in.”
The actors and crew were very respectful in turn for the location.
“Unfinished” won the fan favorite award at the Cut to the Chase Film Festival in Shepherdstown and has been accepted into several other festivals including this weekend’s event in Sutton and the Carefest film festival in Italy.
Any proceeds from the movie are being donated to places like the Hospice of the Panhandle.
The director said that was something he wanted to do.
“We decided in the beginning that if it we did win something or we had a showing and asked for money at the door that we do donate that as well,” he said. “It’s not about making money for me.”
Broadhurst said he plans to try to attend Sunday’s film festival showing of “Unfinished.”
“”I like to talk to audience members afterwards and see what they thought,” he said. “When they see it, they are going to have a reaction. Everyone who has seen it generally has a reaction.”
And now that Cunningham knows a little bit more about what her daughter is up to, she is ready to help her daughter get into the field with some upcoming classes.
To learn more about the West Virginia Filmmakers Festival, search for it on Facebook.