Hollywood Comes to Henninger

Magnum_Opus_PosterWhat happens when a guy from Northern Virginia with a background in Aerospace Engineering and music moves to L.A. to try out his directing chops?  He ends up directing a feature film and returns to his hometown to work on the mix with an old friend (luckily for us). So how did one of Virginia’s own become a feature film director in Hollywood?

Kevin Elliott went to Jefferson High School in Vienna where he was active in theater and the video club and then attended UVA where he studied software engineering. His first love was actually music however, and he cites Beethoven’s intensity, flow and movement through time as inspirations.  The combination of his experiences in music, theater and film led him to believe that a career as a Director would be a good fit.  He went to L.A. in July 2001 to look for work in the film industry and never left, canceling his return flight.

Through connections (and nailing an interview with the Director) he landed an Assistant Director gig.  The first day of filming was September 11, 2001, a day that quickly turned surreal for the cast and crew. He later co-produced the documentary “The Other Side: A Queer History,” a project which ultimately opened doors to feature length work. Eventually Kevin teamed up with Scott Patrick Stoddard, who became his writing partner.  He also teamed with Marc Newland, a seasoned Hollywood professional, and Amanda Bass Upson, another Virginia native who had produced with Kevin and Marc and is a whiz at financing.  Together, they put in motion what would become “Magnum Opus,” Kevin’s directorial debut.

“Magnum Opus” is a spy thriller that pits Desert Storm vet turned artist, Daniel Cliff, against US intelligence. Starring Louise Griffiths, Adam J. Harrington, Clark Johnson of “Homicide: Life on the Street” fame and Pej Vahdat, the film is centered on the struggle between liberty and patriotism and privacy and security.

When it came time to mix the film (which has an orchestral score thanks to Kevin’s love of classical music), he turned to Bob Bass, an old friend he’d worked with on a comedy pilot and who is currently a Sound Engineer at Henninger. Says Kevin, “Bob had so many creative ideas for placing, altering, and balancing audio in the film, it could only sound as beautiful as I think it does because of his talent and experience, and I learned invaluable tools and approaches that I’ll use for the rest of my (hopeful) career in film.”  Bob enjoyed the opportunity to work on a feature narrative and to reconnect with an old friend.  The rest of us here think it’s great that once in a while, Hollywood comes to Henninger.