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Entirely Student-Created Film ‘The Fallen’ Brings Diversity On & Off Screen

Over the last year, there has been a movement in Hollywood that has tried to get more diversity in films. The movement has targeted onscreen roles as well as roles behind the camera. This kind of change doesn’t happen overnight though, as it starts will low-budget indie films and eventually makes its way up to the big blockbusters of Hollywood.

Here at Penn State, there was an idea that hatched into a story and eventually grew into a film. “The Fallen” is a film that was entirely created and produced by Penn State students. It also happens to feature a cast and crew where women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community make up more than 50% of the people who worked on the film.

“I think the diversity in the cast and crew is pretty insane,” Director Grant Donghia said. “I personally strive for the creative outlet that Ryan Murphy gives his production and giving people a voice – specifically to minorities.”

For context, Ryan Murphy is well-known for casting minorities in his television shows. He created tv shows such as “Glee,” “Pose,” “American Horror Story,” and “The Politician,” all of which are known for having minorities in prominent lead roles. He also started the HALF Initiative, which encourages minorities to step behind the camera.

Donghia decided to use this formula for the six people onscreen and all of the people off-screen. As with any project, however, it is hard to get everyone on the same page.

“It was hard enough scheduling our main six actors and actress over the course of the year, not to mention the five-plus people behind the camera,” Donghia said. “But we prevailed, which is something I am incredibly proud of.”

It may have taken more than two years to get the project done, however, it will finally premiere at the State Theatre later this month. The film stars Mary Katherine Cadden, Mason Hartley, Kyra Nicole Barkley, Kelly Chu, Jack Boscoe, and Allison Robinson. Donghia is currently working on a new short film called “Range” as well as a documentary.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a junior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in Secondary Education and minoring in Social Justice in Education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the tv show Survivor, and yes mom, actually doing schoolwork. If you would like to talk about sports or Survivor, the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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