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Dreaming in 35mm

Chapter & Alumni News

By Drew Logsdon (Western Kentucky)

Jake Brinn and Chris Circeo, two brothers from the Eta Chi Chapter (Old Dominion) with a shared passion for film, are on the verge of completing their first short film. However, to do that they are looking to IndieGoGo, an artistic crowdfunding website, to help them preserve a fading aspect of modern filmmaking: shooting on actual film. 

Chris Circeo and Jake Brinn (Third and Seventh from left respectively) work with classmates on a casting session.

Their paths to today are as different as their career goals, but their shared love for filmmaking is what brought them together for an advanced filmmaking class in spring 2016. Chris’ original plan as a collegian was to eventually attend medical school. He graduated as a biology and psychology major last year but decided that wasn’t for him, which brought him back to Old Dominion University to pursue a degree in filmmaking. 

Meanwhile, Jake spent his first semester of college like most other students trying to find out what he wanted to major in. In his second semester he took an intro to filmmaking class where he met most of his current classmates and discovered that this was a career he wanted to pursue. “This feels right,” he remembers thinking at the time. “I feel like I’m working with people I’m going to work with later on in my career.”

In the years leading up to their current project both earned real world experience. Jake currently works part-timefor Old Dominion’s TV department and also as a videographer for the men’s basketball team. Chris interned at a local production company last semester to learn more about the technical aspects of filmmaking and film production.

These two different paths brought Jake and Chris together for their current advanced filmmaking class where the entire class works on a single film project, Carmelita, and each student serves in a specific role as part of the production. For this particular project Chris is an assistant producer and Jake is a co-director. 

Carmelita is a story about two teenagers, Calvin and Poppy, who fall in love in the 1960s. Calvin is drafted to serve in the Vietnam War, and that’s where each character takes a different journey until 2000 when Poppy decides to restore a car she worked on with Calvin in the 60s. It’s here where Poppy meets a new character, Calvin’s grandson. Jake sums up the story in one simple sentence: “It’s a drama with some twists and turns.”

What makes Carmelita so unique is that the group decided to have a different director for each time period covered in the film. One for the 1960s and one for 2000. But that’s not the only unique aspect. In an effort to capture the difference of each time period the group wants to shoot the 1960 scenes on actual 35mm film, which was the standard film format for the era. Hence the IndieGoGo campaign to raise the $3,000 needed to cover the costs associated with 35mm film such as the cameras and getting the film processed. How unique is this for modern aspiring filmmakers? No one in Jake and Chris’ class, except for their professor, has ever worked with a real film camera.

With different experiences leading them to Carmelita it’s no surprise that each has different reasons for how their membership in Sigma Nu has positively supported their pursuits. For Chris it’s his past experience as Commander for their chapter that gave him the skills to be a leader and take action purposefully. “It fostered my ability to know what I wanted in life and to go after it,” he says For Jake it’s been the support network that only a fraternity can provide: “I’ve been so busy these past two semester and despite my schedule, my chapter brothers have been supportive and willing to help me out.”

So what does the future look like for these two on their own unique journeys? Chris aspires to eventually go to New York City or Atlanta and continue to explore film production. Jake sees himself staying closer to home by working on videos for local companies and artists, with aspirations to start his own production company and eventually film a feature length film in Virginia.

Both have some parting advice for others looking to get into filmmaking from their experiences so far.

  1. It’s all about connections and getting your name out there. Meet people who want to do what you’re doing because those connections can lead to new opportunities.
  2. If you want to make movies then go out and do it. It doesn’t matter what you make, what matters is that you’re building skills from just shooting something.
  3. Don’t be afraid to say, “This is what I’m doing and this is what I’m passionate about.”
  4. Everyone loves watching movies and TV but if you want to get into the industry it takes more than sitting in your room and watching movies all day.


As of this writing their IndieGoGo campaign is only about $1,000 short of their goal with about two weeks left and it looks like they’re close to accomplishing one more goal on their way to their dreams.



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9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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