Custer grad shows film at festival
Published: Thursday, May 1st, 2014
The Black Hills Film Festival is gearing up for its fifth year of films, workshops and meet-and-greets on Wednesday, April 30. While many of the films showcase local talent, ideas and locations, the community of Custer has ties to the festival with one film slated to be shown.
The Specter of Old Main, which will show Friday, May 2, in Hill City was written, directed, edited and even starred Dylan Jost, a 2006 graduate of Custer High School.
“I did plays in school just about every year, so I hope people will remember me and come check out my film,” he said.
Jost got into movie making during his senior year at Custer High School after Brad Nupen, the former video production and drama teacher, sparked his interest.
“He prompted me along the way with what made a good movie, how to work camera angles and how to tell a story without lines,” he said. “That got me into learning how to capture everything and get the story down.”
During his senior year, he did a number of projects. After that, in everything Jost worked on, he always envisioned camera angles and how it would be on film.
“When I make a movie, I enjoy making that vision in my head a reality,” he said. “It may not always turn out like I envision. Sometimes it’s worse or sometimes it’s better, but it’s something you capture indefinitely. Plays on the stage change from night to night, but films are a lasting testament.”
The Specter of Old Main tells the story of Damon Sikes and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his two closest friends. Sikes is plagued with post-traumatic stress, strange dreams and possible hallucinations.
“Everyone really gives up on finding (his friends), so a dark figure approaches Damon, telling him he is willing to help find them,” Jost said. “Together they seek out the answers and uncover clues about a secret fraternity that may be connected.”
The idea for The Specter of Old Main came while Jost was on the University of South Dakota’s (USD) campus, where he was attending school.
“A rain storm came through and there was an eerie low line of fog over the campus,” he said. “I was the only one out walking around campus and I spotted a figure in the distance. It turned out to be a statue on campus, and I knew it was there, but it was creepy. So I turned that experience into the film.”
Through the film, Jost wanted to express the idea of helping one another.
“My friends in college needed help with some projects or homework, but they would push me away, so I developed Damon after them,” he said. “He’s going through tragedies and isolates himself from everyone else. He is forced into accepting help from a mysterious stranger who doesn’t have a face or name. I wanted to get across to others that people want to help. You just have to let them in.”
Over a five-year period, Jost wrote, directed, acted and edited the film. While writing the script, which started out as a short story, Jost decided to put it on film.
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