“Commander” Movie Production Moves Forward
Cinematic arts students are experiencing a special opportunity to work on Liberty’s fifth feature film project, set to be released Oct. 2 to 1,200 theaters.
The film, “Commander,” is under the direction of Stephan Schultze, the executive director of the cinematic arts program. Schultze has worked in Hollywood on several major motion pictures.
According to Schultze, the director of “Commander,” the film focuses on a portion of the book “The Trump Prophesies” written by Mark Taylor.
“It’s really not about that entire book—it’s about the portion of the book that relates to the fireman, which is really the (impetus) for the book being created in the first place,” Schultze said.
The story surrounds Mark Taylor, a Florida firefighter who struggled with PTSD.
“In his 20th year (of working with the fire department), he started seeing the effects of years of dealing with difficulty that you witness of people not making it out of the fire,” Schultze said. “This one particular time, he found a young boy that didn’t make it out—and it really just shattered him. He started developing PTSD, and in the process of figuring out how to deal with it, he realized he couldn’t be a firefighter anymore.”
After PTSD stole his confidence in his abilities, Taylor retired, but he started to seek counseling to work through the tragedies he had faced.
The storyline follows the spiritual warfare Taylor experienced through his dreams and visions. While listening to Donald Trump speak at the Republican National Convention in 2011, Taylor experienced a premonition.
“(Taylor) had this premonition that he just witnessed the future President of the United States,” Schultze said.
According to Schultze, the power of prayer is a central theme in the story.
“When you’re dealing with PTSD, I think to not recognize the spiritual battle that exists in that process of healing is a mistake,” Schultze said. “And that often ends up being in this kind of situation, about understanding forgiveness, and love and God’s peace within you.”
Although the making of “Commander” caused controversy among the students, Schultze claimed that the project is moving forward.
“Now, it’s a seamless process,” Schultze said. “Everyone’s excited for the opportunity.”
Cinematic arts students have the opportunity to work in different roles in the filmmaking process under the direction of the various department heads.
Danielle Waardenburg, a junior cinematic arts major, explained how working on the set of “Commander” has given her confidence in pursuing her passion for film. The experience has also helped her discover her options available within her field.
“The kind of work we do is what we will be doing when we graduate, so we’re able to see firsthand what it will be like in the ‘real world,’” Waardenburg said. “For me personally, working in the camera department has confirmed for me that I want to work as an assistant cameraperson.”
The hard work of the students will be displayed when the film receives a theatrical release.
“Probably less than 1 percent of movies that are made actually get a theatrical release, if that many. So it’s a great opportunity for the students who are working on a movie that’s actually going to get a theatrical release,” Schultze said.