The 72-acre Kane Woods Nature Area, with trails for hikers, served recently as the escape route for two American prisoners of war in a short film by 19-year-old Ryan Rust of Carnegie, who is studying filmmaking at Pittsburgh Technical Institute in North Fayette.
He also is a volunteer firefighter for the Bower Hill Volunteer Fire Department on Vanadium Road, a short distance from the Kane Woods.
“I would drive past the Kane Woods on my way to the fire department, and thought it would make a good location for the film,” he said.
Jane Sorcan, president of the Scott Conservancy, which owns and manages the nature area, said it was the first time the Kane Woods has been used as a movie location.
“Ryan came to our board meeting, asked permission to use the woods, and explained his project.
“We were very impressed," she said. "We like to help local young people with anything that has an educational benefit.”
Mr. Rust’s film, "Bridge,” is the story of a veteran struggling with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I became interested in the topic when a friend of mine suffered symptoms," he said. "I hope the film will raise awareness about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.”
His interest in filmmaking was sparked by watching his dad's old recordings of films by Steven Spielberg, including “Jaws” and “Indiana Jones.”
After graduating from Bishop Canevin High School, he pursued his love of filmmaking at Pittsburgh Technical Institute in the video-production, multimedia technologies program.
A crew of 10-15 people worked two days in the Kane Woods. The school also allowed him to shoot interior scenes at their campus studios.
One of his teachers, Alicia Cerullo, took over 900 photos of the project.
Mr. Rust is working on post-production, editing the raw footage. When he is done, he will enter the film in a worldwide competition based in Australia by the Rode Microphone Co.
He plans a premiere at PTI and will put the film on DVD and Blue Ray. He also wants to include a segment after the film with veterans talking about post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The film crew left the woods in very good condition. They had security, and put up signs so other people using the woods would know they were there,” Ms. Sorcan said.
“This is the first time we did anything like this, but we were happy to help a movie that is worthwhile,” she said.
Bob Podurgiel, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.