LAKEWOOD RANCH — If anyone spotted a caveman lurking about in Summerfield Park, rest easy.
It was just a little movie magic in Lakewood Ranch.
About 30 students from the Ringling College of Art and Design on Jan. 14 set up shop in the East County to film a scene for a senior thesis project. The students brought with them a four-ton truck filled with cameras, lighting equipment, wardrobe options and other movie-making necessities to film a caveman scene for senior Lindsey Batdorf’s film, “Furry.”
Producer Stephen Reeves, whose parents live in Lakewood Ranch, discovered the wooded area behind the park during a scouting trip late last year. The foliage provided a perfect backdrop for the short film’s caveman scene.
“It (had) all the things we needed (to film),” Reeves says of Summerfield Park. “We needed bathroom facilities. We were able to rent out the pavilion, and we had access to woods.”
“The location was beautiful, and everything went really well,” she says. “We were fortunate to find (it); it was exactly what we wanted.”
“Furry” tells the tale of Ryan Wetherby, a recent college graduate who harbors an obsession with animated animals. Wetherby’s obsession includes dressing up in costume, and the story follows his struggle to introduce his oddity with the girl of his dreams.
“This came about because I had a roommate two years ago who had this tiger personality,” Batdorf says. “She drew this tiger cartoon all the time, and she was really into cartoon animals.
“I researched it and found out there was this whole sect of ‘geekdom,’ as it were, of people who loved cartoon animals,” she says. “They love dressing up like them, and I thought it would be interesting to write a story in which the protagonist was really into these cartoon animals.”
The Jan. 14 shoot in Lakewood Ranch was the only scene shot in the East County, Reeves says. Other locations include outside the Van Wezel, the Ringling campus and other spots. Filming will continue this weekend, and then Batdorf and the crew will move into the editing process.
Once complete, “Furry” will be part of Ringling’s annual screening party, which this year will take place in early May at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, where Reeves works.
For Batdorf, “Furry” is the culmination of her Ringling studies as a digital film major. She says she loves writing and directing and hopes to break into the animation genre after graduation.
Contact Michael Eng at [email protected].