April 11, 2022 : By Ryan Klinker - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Work by students in Liberty University’s Cinematic Arts, Zaki Gordon Center is once again hitting silver screens across the country this month with the premiere of their latest feature film, “The Mulligan” through Fathom Events on April 18-19. A complete list of theaters can be found at TheMulliganMovie.com or the Fathom Events website.
Based on the popular book by Wally Armstrong and Ken Blanchard, “The Mulligan” weaves heartwarming life lessons inspired by the game of golf into the story. The film tells the story of a father with a passion for golf who is offered the opportunity to have a “do-over” with his son (or, in golf terms, an extra stroke that’s called a “mulligan”). The cast includes Pat Boone (“Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “State Fair”), Eric Close (“Nashville,” “American Sniper,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), Tanya Christiansen (“I Still Believe,” “The Hate U Give”), and Charmin Lee (“Just Mercy,” “The 5th Wave”) with special appearances by American sportscaster Jim Nantz, sports commentator Jim Szoke, and PGA champion Tom Lehman.
“The Mulligan” is Liberty’s third feature film to hit the big screen in a national release. It is also the third film in which Liberty has partnered with ReelWorks Studios owner and executive producer Rick Eldridge.
“I love the process of working with film students, giving them a real-world opportunity to play a role in making a commercial project, and seeing them rise to the occasion in the development of their storytelling craft,” Eldridge said.
“Through the support of filmmakers like Rick Eldridge, our students gain valuable real-life work experience prior to graduating,” said Executive Director of Cinematic Arts Stephan Schultze. “Students in the cinematic arts department receive an education that reaches beyond theory into the entertainment industry. Upon graduating, they not only have the skill set for immediate employment, but they have a deeper understanding of cinema that will allow them to rise in the entertainment industry to positions of leadership.”
Throughout March of 2021, 48 juniors in the program worked on-location. Many of the scenes were shot on Currahee Golf Club in Toccoa, Ga.
Senior Emily James said her experience on the set opened her eyes to a new side of the industry as she worked in the film’s production office, the administrative hub of the whole production that is responsible for communications and records on purchases, travel, personnel, schedules, and more.
“Going into ‘The Mulligan,’ I was never quite sure where I fit into the film industry,” James said. “Working on ‘The Mulligan’ gave me the chance to discover the production office, which allowed me to combine my administrative skills with passion for filmmaking. I’ve now worked on three feature films in the production office, and plan to use those skills to make more movies.”
Senior Matthew Gates also discovered an unexpected passion for an area of the filmmaking process: location management, which is in charge of securing and preparing locations for filming.
“Before the feature, I had never considered locations management as a possible route for my career, but by the time production wrapped, I had discovered a passion for the job I hadn’t previously known was possible. ‘The Mulligan’ opened many opportunities for me I never would have had otherwise, and I am incredibly thankful for the experience.”
After its theatrical release, “The Mulligan” will be released on video on-demand later in the year.
In its 10 years, Liberty’s cinematic arts program has developed seven feature films, one television pilot, and one short film. The two-year immersion cohort for the B.S. in Film Production & Content Development allows students to concentrate solely on filmmaking. In addition to creating their own short film and business plan, students earn at least one IMDb credit on a professional film project.