For many people, the chance to live out their childhood aspirations never quite comes to fruition. The ballerina becomes a teacher. The astronaut becomes a lawyer. The rock star trades in his guitar for a briefcase.
But Jeremy Hurlburt,’04, got the chance to live out his dream. Hurlburt, along with fellow journalism and mass communication graduate Lou DiPietro, '05, wrote and produced their own feature film. “Zeus” will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Dresser Auditorium of the John J. Murphy Professional Building. It's free and open to the public.
“I’ve always been interested in filmmaking,” Hurlburt said. “I just really wanted to make a movie because I’ve always just wanted to tell stories, and film is my favorite medium for storytelling.”
After graduating from Bonaventure, Hurlburt moved to California and worked in reality television and short films. The dream of writing his own movie, though, was never far from his mind. While in Los Angeles, Hurlburt contacted DiPietro, his roommate from Bonaventure, and the two decided to write a movie.
“We both kept a blog together and we had always written together, so we decided to write a movie,” Hurlburt said.
After leaving California for Buffalo, the duo began writing the script for their feature film “Zeus.” But instead of carrying out ordinary writing sessions together, Hurlburt and DiPietro’s ideas had to span across four states.
“We actually wrote it for close to two years and the process was drawn out and elongated only because at the time, I was living in Buffalo and Lou was living in Charlotte, N.C.,” Hurlburt said.
The writing process for Hurlburt and DiPietro consisted of having a phone conversation in the beginning of the week to divvy up scenes, writing the scenes, talking again midweek and then doing rewrites.
“I felt relieved when it was done and I felt really excited,” Hurlburt said.
“Zeus” began with an inspirational person that Hurlburt knew when he was growing up – his gym teacher.
“Zeus was his nickname in real life,” Hurlburt said. “We just kind of looked at him for what an epitome of what a man should be.”
The film begins with the death of the gym teacher. Three friends reunite at his funeral and decide to do something to honor him. What they come up with is an Olympics based on games their gym teacher taught them in high school.
“(It’s) a way of coping with his death and coming to terms with their own mortality,” Hurlburt said.
In addition to an interesting plot filled with high school nostalgia, the soundtrack for the film was produced entirely by co-writer DiPietro.
“It is a phenomenal soundtrack,” Hurlburt said. “If you’re a music lover, you should come see the movie because the music is great.”
Hurlburt said his days in the Murphy building, working toward his journalism degree, helped him along with the movie writing process.
“My education through the J school definitely helped me,” Hurlburt said. “When I was researching the film, I was almost doing interviews, because when I would talk to people to get inspiration for characters, scenes or storylines, I was doing a lot of research on my high school gym teacher.”
“Zeus” has already had a few screenings, two of which have been in the Olean area. The movie has been shown twice at Jamestown Community College. The Oct. 22 screening at Bonaventure will be its fourth public screening.
“I think you should come see ‘Zeus’ if you like movies. I’ve watched it probably at least 35 times all the way through and maybe more,” Hurlburt said. “It makes me laugh every time.”
After its screening at Bonaventure, Hurlburt said the next big step for “Zeus” is to take it out of the boundaries of Olean.
“The next step for promoting ‘Zeus’ would be taking it on the road. We want to enter Zeus into as many film festivals as we can get it into,” Hurlburt said. The object of the tour would not be to make money, Hurlburt said, but rather to generate a fan base. Hurlburt said the tour hopes to include small public screenings in coffee shops and more college campuses on the East Coast.
For more information on “Zeus,” go to www.buffalomorose.com.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.