Fort Mill native is part of Stephen King film program

Special to the Fort Mill TimesNovember 18, 2013 

WCU Motion Picture

Western Carolina University students Blair Hoyle, left, and Mike Hill scout locations as they prepare to create a film adaptation of Stephen King’s story “Rest Stop.”

ASHLEY T. EVANS — WCU Public Relations

— On the search for creative inspiration, Fort Mill native Mike Hill will take to the dark highway streets.

Hill, a senior film and television production major at Western Carolina University, will search for the perfect rest stop for his short film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Rest Stop,” a short story in King’s “Just After Sunset” collection.

Hill began reading King’s books and watching his films at a young age.

“I’m a huge fan of King’s,” he said.

Hill was given the opportunity to do the film as part King’s Dollar Babies program, which allows aspiring filmmakers to try their hand at adapting one of King’s stories. King started the program 36 years ago as a way to inspire students. More than 100 Dollar Baby films have been completed, according to Stephen King’s website.

Dollar Baby applicants must send $1 for the right to adapt the stories to film after their proposal is accepted, giving the program its name. The films must be not-for-profit and can only be shown at film festivals or as student projects, according to King’s website.

Hill will begin filming in a few weeks, joined by fellow filmmakers Blair Hoyle, Elizabeth Dennis and Michael Bardon. The film will be directed by Patrick Abernethy, a 2009 graduate of Appalachian State University and owner of Abernethy Videography. Jason Ledford will be the director of photography.

“We are all really excited and terrified,” Hill said. “We are all serious about film and want to do well.”

Hill, a 2010 graduate of Nation Ford High School and the son of Mike Hill, a retired teacher, and Cheryl Hill, a writer and editor, said the film is about a dilemma many people can relate to. In “Rest Stop,” the main character encounters domestic abuse at a rest stop and must decide if he will act to stop it. The story will be adapted to fit a 10-minute slot.

“King gives us the material to make a film that will get people interested in us,” said Hill, whose maternal grandfather, Grady Ervin, is a former longtime Fort Mill Town Council member.

“It’s a great way to take a first step into making a professional film.”

Hill plans on traveling down I-77 to find the perfect rest stops for his backdrop. He hopes to complete the project this summer, after he graduates from Western Carolina in May.

The community can follow the film’s progress on ihffilmscharlotte.com. The team will also hold fundraisers to pay for the project.

The film will be produced by IHF Films in association with Black Forest Films. Most of the filming will take place in Charlotte during Hill’s winter break.

“We’ve been given a great opportunity and I want to make the best of it,” Hill said. “We appreciate support.”

For more information on the Dollar Babies program, go to stephenking.com/dollarbabies.php.

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