CBU student group releases newest short film

Luc Stringer | Banner | Nick Kerhulas (center), the star of “In a Nutshell,” and members of Elephant Room, CBU seniors, Allen Fletcher, Nathan Rierson, Jonathan Cadenhead, and Michael Duggan, celebrate their film’s release.

Student production company Elephant Room, consisting of four close friends and senior film production majors, released “In a Nutshell,” their newest short film and second-to-last project of their college careers on Sept. 18.

Elephant Room has been working together since they were all freshman and have finished many projects together, including their junior year project “Jetpack Girl,” which won Best Actress, Best Supporting, Best Editing, and runner up for Best Picture award at the California Baptist University Film Festival. It was also officially selected for the San Bernardino Valley College International Student Film Festival.

Members of Elephant Room said their unconventional approach to working together as a team has helped them work better together and make better quality work with accountability, motivation and mutual support. This has helped them be successful within the area of film that they are currently in. Their unique approach and individual personality have made positive impressions on many already.

Their new short film “In a Nutshell” is how Elephant Room member and film production major Michael Duggan says he saw the vision and hard work they have put in since freshman pay off. 

“Early on when we started it was just us four hoping to have more opportunities and connections between all of us, but we didn’t have connections,” Duggan said. “But what has been really cool about ‘In a Nutshell’ is now, almost four years later, we do have connections, we do have a wider scope of people. A lot of the things we envisioned for our future as freshman are coming into fruition now, which is really exciting to see and hopefully will continue.”

“In a Nutshell” is the first project that Elephant Room came up with and wrote entirely together.

“This is the most Elephant Room project that there has been,” Duggan said. “It is a combination of all four of our ideas and minds together.” Michael Duggan explained the idea and the basic story of what the film is about.

“‘In a Nutshell’ is about a man named Jim who is stuck in a job that he hates and is pulled into a miraculous adventure when something sticks with him that he could not have planned for,” Duggan said. “It is a very fun film that has some really great parts as well as a message in the end.”

Nick Kerhulas, actor and lead for the character Jim in the film said that working with Elephant Room was a blessing to him.

“Working with Allen, Michael, Nathan and Johnny was the best experience I’ve had on production so far,” Kerhulas. “They were very professional and cordial. They brought that level of energy every day on set and with everyone they worked with. Everyone that helped work on the project was such a team player as well and a vital part of the film making process. When I watched our short film I noticed that the crew accomplished pretty much exactly what they intended to do. That stood out to me the most. Working on this short film felt like a blessing.”

Originally, the film was supposed to be finished and ready for release by the CBU Film Festival on Apr. 20, 2020, but then all events were canceled because of the COVID-19 epidemic. The film festival was canceled and Elephant Room decided to put the release on hold.

“It was a bummer to put it off at first,” Duggan said, “But now we are really happy it happened because it forced us to take more time and were able to dial in on some shaky parts, some re-casting, and work to get better music for the film. If it would have come out when we were planning, it wouldn’t be as good as it is now.”

Allen Fletcher, senior film production major and Elephant Room member, explained how Elephant Room had to adapt their plans and strategies because of COVID-19.

“We thought we might release it in October when CBU would have another film festival, but we figured that wouldn’t happen so we thought up a small social media campaign through the summer and set the date for September. Since we didn’t have a solid due date anymore, we decided to release it when it was fully ready and take our time.”

Elephant Room’s next project is going to be the biggest production of their college career. This project is said to be like nothing has done in the past.

Elephant Room members said they love and appreciate all the support and commitment they have been shown by their friends, family and fans. “In a Nutshell” is available to watch on YouTube and you can stay updated with news and new projects from Elephant Room on their Instagram; @elephantroomprod and on their website, elephantroomprod.com.

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