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EU filmmakers make a 12-year-old’s wish come true

May 16, 2012 | Valorie Coleman

Although Evangel University filmmakers were in the heat of a competition, they spared no effort to make a young girl’s dream come true.

The film crew — including faculty sponsor Gabriel Mays — partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation during the production of their film for this year’s Springfield and the Ozarks (SATO) 48 Hour Film Challenge.

Mays teaches media at Evangel and has produced a film for every SATO competition since it started. Last year he was awarded Best Sound Design and Best Editing.

When he was approached this year by SATO 48 to make the wish of 12-year-old Kelsie Mitchell come true, he was ready.

“This is a little girl who always wanted to be on a film set,” Mays says. “We were so honored to meet her. We told her, ‘You’re on the crew now. You’re a member.’”

The 14-member crew, including 10 students and four EU alumni, took their time in explaining the cameras and equipment to Kelsie. She was able to work the jib and slider (equipment used to pan shots) and actually take footage that was used in the movie.

Kelsie and her mother were even in the movie as extras. Mays wanted her to experience as much of the art of filmmaking as possible.

“If there was anything she wanted to do,” Mays says, “she got to do it. We can make a film any time, but if we could make her day, that was way more important.”

Kelsie has always wanted to go behind the scenes on the set of a movie or television show, and she is on a wait list with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to go to Hollywood.

In the meantime, she jumped at the chance to make a film with Evangel.

“They actually let me film a shot,” Kelsie says. “They were very friendly and explained it all to me. I didn’t understand it all, but it was fun!”

PHOTO CAPTION: Kelsie Mitchell had her wish come true thanks to Evangel University film-crew members, who had her help with their SATO48 Film Challenge production. With her are Justin Reppert, 2008 EU grad from Branson; Ben Bagwell, 2011 EU grad from Rogersville; Elijah Austin, a junior film major from South Dakota; and Gabe Mays, faculty sponsor.

— Valorie Coleman, assistant director of public relations for Evangel University

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