VCSU acting class shoots student film with actor Josef Cannon

Apr 3rd, 2014 @ 9:27 am | Author: Greg Vanney
Student actors in Jenni Lou Russi’s Advanced Acting class at Valley City State University have been working with Josef Cannon, a former VCSU student and current film actor in Los Angeles, to shoot a student film, “Hel U,” at various locations around campus and near the Hi-Line Bridge.

Cannon will also work with students to create quick films in a VCSU Student 73 Hour Film Festival. Registration for the film festival will start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 3.

Official screening of the student films and “Hel U” will be in Theatre 320 in McFarland Hall on Sunday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to the public free of charge.

VCSU students in the Advanced Acting class—Monika Browne, Taylor Crosby, Jessica Georgeson, Alex Kielb, Ty Pratt and Mariah Smith—are acting in the horror film “Hel U,” set at Helsing University of Cryptozoology, a school that specializes in Monster Studies.

The film script was written for the students by Fargo, N.D., writer Jason Jacobson, who was given photos of class members at the beginning of the semester as a visual basis for his script.


In addition to learning techniques used in acting for the camera, the students are becoming familiar with film terminology, interpreting screenplays and the process of working on a film set. “This is the third year we’ve created a film in this class” says Russi. “We had an opportunity to bring Josef back to campus, and the students are having a great time!”

Cannon traveled to Valley City on a break from working on his web series “The Canals.” Among his recent credits are working with Jean-Claude Van Damme on Van Damme’s film “The Eagle Path.” (Screened for buyers at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, the film, reedited with new footage, is now expected to be released in the United States in 2014 as “Full Love.”)

A member of the VCSU Viking basketball, cross country and track teams in the early 1980s, Cannon is enjoying his return to Valley City. In addition to directing “Hel U,” Cannon also plays a feature role, acting alongside the students. “Theatre 320 students are very talented,” said Cannon, “and I’m looking forward to doing this film.”