Up-and-coming filmmaker releases new short film


Kendel Malcolm

Senior Ben Kohler filmed, directed, and wrote his newly released short film “CIRCULATE.”

Emma Johnston, Staff Writer

Senior Ben Kohler released his short film “CIRCULATE” on October 11. Co-written by Callahan Kunz, the idea for the film was developed between the two friends in the lunchroom last year. After two months, they had managed to cut down their originally complicated ideas into an understandable movie plot, while still upholding the abstract nature that they originally hoped for. “We tried to do something really abstract, and I think we might have pulled it off,” Kohler said.

Kohler filmed his movie at Nopeming Sanitorium, an abandoned hospital in Duluth. The site has been a large attraction for movie-makers like Kohler since it was closed and abandoned in 2002. “Usually there’s a big fee to film there, but I sent them a message, and they said since I was under eighteen and they liked the project that I could do it for free,” Kohler said.

The movie “CIRCULATE” begins with a shot of a man lying in a hospital bed, and a brief look at a document stating his name, age, and chance of survival. It follows the man as he seemingly attempts to break out of a run-down hospital. “It is a military testing program, and they take very smart people. They’re trying to figure out how much their instincts play into their actual ability to perform in the military,” Kohler said.

Kohler’s interest in making movies dates back to a fluke in class arrangement in seventh grade. “I accidentally took the media arts class at my school. I checked the box wrong on the sign up and took it all year and just loved it. There was no going back after that,” Kohler said.

Kohler’s passion for filmmaking continued through high school; he took a Film Studies class during his sophomore year and enrolled in an Advanced Film class his junior year. In addition, he joined the Knight Errant staff as a video journalist.  “Now,  I’m a TA for Mr. Backen,” Kohler said.

Besides sending “CIRCULATE” to colleges, Kohler also plans to to submit it to a few film festivals, namely EDU and Duluth Superior, and continue his filmmaking journey after graduating from BSM.  Winning would not only mean praise for the film, but also publicity for Kohler. “That’s the main thing,  just being in it is a big deal. They get thousands of applicants, and they choose probably thirty, sometimes less. Just being able to say you were there is an honor,” Kohler said.