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Students, faculty work on upcoming Pigasus Pictures film

A new film in development from Indiana-based production company Pigasus Pictures will feature behind-the-scenes work by Media School students, faculty and alumni.

Senior Mia Siffin script supervises during filming of The MisEducation of Bindu. (Courtesy photo | TJ Carroway)

Pigasus Pictures has already released one feature film, 2017’s Bloomington-based The Good Catholic, with another, Ms. White Light, eyeing release sometime this fall. The company has also released two short films, Through the Window and At Me or With Me.

The new film, The MisEducation of Bindu, is produced by IU alumni Ed Timpe, BS’05, John Armstrong, BA’02, MFA’07, and Zachary Spicer, BA’06. Independent filmmaker and Media School lecturer Craig Erpelding is a digital imaging technician for the film.

Armstrong said he met Erpelding in the fall of Erpelding’s first academic year at IU, and wanted to collaborate with him because of his production experience.

“I was just really eager to work with him as soon as possible,” Armstrong said. “This project came up, and we needed someone with his specific expertise, and we were able to just put it together.”

Junior Julia Zhu, a set decorator for the film, preps the set. (Courtesy photo | TJ Carroway)

He said Erpelding used the opportunity to engage current students and recent IU alumni in the filmmaking process too. Some of those students are involved as interns, with others working paid jobs.

“We’re happy to keep the Hoosier connections going,” Armstrong said.

The project has three students in paid positions. Senior Mia Siffin is a script supervisor, senior Dakota Taylor is a grip and junior Julia Zhu is a set decorator. Erpelding said Media School student interns occupy less fixed positions on set, giving them the chance to try out a wealth of different behind-the-scenes jobs.

“They’re spending time on the camera team and on the art team, some helping me with data management, production office work and things like that,” he said. “It’s an awesome opportunity for Media School students to be able to get a taste of every single little department and exactly what a real Hollywood-type film production looks like.”

Senior Dakota Crawford works as a grip during filming at the Broad Ripple High School building in Indianapolis. (Courtesy photo | TJ Carroway)

Spicer said Pigasus has been working to implement student interns since its very first feature film production a year and a half ago. He said each film has had up to a dozen Media School students involved, with some interns subsequently getting hired to work on later projects.

“We’re trying to create a farm system, to actually develop talent from within and retain it here in the state,” Spicer said.

Erpelding said the opportunity for students to work with production companies like Pigasus Pictures is exciting.

Siffin script supervises. She’s one of three Media School students working as paid crew members on set. (Courtesy photo | TJ Carroway)

“As a faculty member in the film production curriculum, I’m so happy and hope that we can continue to have partnerships like this,” he said. “Pigasus is a key to getting this sort of education and experience to our students.”

Taylor said working on the project has been incredible.

“My experience has been amazing,” he said. “I have climbed the ladder very quickly and am working as a dolly grip getting shots with the (director of photography).”

Dakota said the experience has also led to a future opportunity to move to LA with a core friend group of coworkers in the industry.

“Without Pigasus I wouldn’t have this chance this quick,” he said.

Crawford chats with other crew members during filming. (Courtesy photo | TJ Carroway)

Timpe, whose wife Prarthana Mohan is the film’s writer-director, said the project has been in development for four or five years now and is shaping up to be exciting. He attributed part of that to the filmmakers’ work with Mark and Jay Duplass.

The Duplass brothers, who co-own Duplass Brothers Productions, have produced such films as Creep,Tangerine and the acclaimed Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country. The brothers got involved with The MisEducation of Bindu when some of the filmmakers won a competition that earned them executive production by the Duplass brothers.

“They really helped steer us through the final stages of development,” Timpe said. “They gave us the idea that kind of revolutionized where we went with the story.”

He said the film will premiere in about a year.