That’s a Wrap!

“The Forgotten Child” is expected to premiere around Halloween


Paul Tointigh

Kenneth Newman, played by Rilley Merrill, is killed by Professor Dollman, played by Don Collett, during a dramatic flashback in the film.

Paul Tointigh, Managing Editor

Students, faculty, and members of the Chickasha community were able to participate in the filming of “The Forgotten Child,” a horror movie with a murder mystery-style film, with much of the film being shot on USAO’s campus.

Being an independent study, the vast portion of the film was shot from May 2 to the completion of its production on May 19. The film was shot in three weeks, with help from John Marshall, professional sound designer, and Eric Kurtz, professional lighting engineer, assisting in the production. The days of filming could be likened to a master class in film production for students. There were delays due to weather as well as scheduling, but nonetheless the production finished on time.

Taking place at Hansen college, the film follows four college students as they investigate the murder of a college student, Kenneth Newman (portrayed by Rilley Merrill, junior English major), in May 1970 for one of their class projects. The protagonists Cole (portrayed by Zachary Robinson, sophomore Theater Arts major), Stacy (portrayed by Reagan “Redji” Curry, sophomore Art major), Cailtyn (portrayed by Sierra Whitaker, sophomore Physics major), and Ashley (portrayed by Yaiza Larrauri, junior Business Management major) visit a number of places on and off campus as they slowly unravel the mystery.

“I was looking for a plausible story line that we could build around a university setting,” said David Duncan, instructor of Digital Media Technology. “Early on, I did kind of a straw poll and the majority of students really wanted something spooky so the story kind of evolved from a murder mystery into a very frightening story with a twist at the end.”

Duncan, along with Dr. J.C. Casey, professor of Communication, produced the script over the course of the Spring 2023 trimester.

Duncan said that the film was inspired by the work of Indian American M. Night Shyamalan, who is known for contemporary films with a supernatural twist.

Over the course of the film, the students who were cast as main characters learned many things about what it takes to be in front of the camera.

“I had the responsibility of memorizing lines, showing up on set, and working with production to capture the exact image needed,” Curry said. “I very much enjoyed the project and my part in it. I believed I had moments of slack and moments of glory, but in reality, it was a team effort that took a lot of collaboration.”

The production gave others an experience they thought they would have never been in before.

“The experience was definitely a new one for me.” Robinson said. “I never thought I would get the chance to work on a movie in front of the camera.”

Robinson said he was grateful that he was chosen for the role, and gave his thanks to Duncan and Dr. Casey.

“It was always a dream of mine to be an actor, even though I believed it would never come true,” Merrill said. “Looking at what it takes to make a movie production from behind the camera makes me respect the ones who worked on the big-time movies and tv shows.”

For the main cast, they enjoyed the chance to participate in this project.

“I would definitely recommend this class to others who want to learn more about film making and all the other things that are going on behind the scenes,” Whitaker said. “I would take this class again if given the chance.”

“The Forgotten Child” has entered its post-production stage, where all footage of the film will be edited and polished to prepare for its final release. The work is being done by the students currently enrolled in the post-production class, taking place during the ten-week summer period.

The film has no official release date yet, but trailers for the film are being produced and are to be released as the fall trimester draws closer.

“We are aiming for Halloween of this year,” Duncan said, in regard to the release date for the movie. “We’re hoping to be able to premiere the movie at the downtown movie theater in Chickasha to give it a ‘real movie’ feel.”


Paul Tointigh is a fourth-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.