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Summer Film Institute students take on challenge of turning book into film

May 13, 2016

Each year, Stephens students in the digital filmmaking program spend an intensive week working together to produce a film.

This year as an added challenge the group is producing a film based on a novel, "Chasing AllieCat," by Rebecca Fjelland Davis.

The idea for this year’s project started with Assistant Professor Steph Borklund.

“I loved the book and had been thinking for a while about making this film," she said. "Then, I realized our amazing students should have the opportunity to take on this challenge. And I knew they would do an amazing job with it.

“Every place in the book is a real place, which creates another kind of challenge for our students; they’ll have to figure out how they can to produce similar locations from right here in Missouri even though the book takes place in Minnesota and on the mountain biking trails of Mount Kato there."

Several months ago in preparation the student filmmakers spoke with author Rebecca Davis to discuss the transition of the book into a movie. There, they discovered what a perfect fit the book was for a place like Stephens.

“I have seen too many times when a girl gets saved by a man. ...," Davis said. "I created a girl who was strong and athletic as the protagonist instead.”

About her reaction to a mostly all female crew, she said, “I love it, absolutely love it—women are the ones who will do this story justice.

“The cool, difficult, and wonderful thing is to use thought and narration without giving too much detail so others can reimagine it."

The filmmaking institute is happening this week.

You can check out progress from the set at

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