Rosemary Chesney, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
Actor and producer Tyler Perry’s next major film, titled Six Triple Eight, began filming on Berry’s campus on Jan. 9 and will go until Jan. 20. This movie, starring Oprah Winfrey and Kerry Washington, tells the story of the only entirely African American women’s group to solve a major mailing crisis during World War II. With Berry being a film spot for this movie, student film majors are given unique opportunities to work directly in their chosen field.
Six Triple Eight, which will be released to Netflix at a time undetermined, centers around a group of African American women in 1943 who were sent to Europe to solve a mailing disaster where letters and packages to soldiers were unable to be sorted and sent out. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it a ‘crisis of morale.’ Berry’s Director of Public Relations Chris Kozelle is the film liaison and has been on site with the film crew every day.
“I think the story that Tyler Perry is telling is just so inspiring and untold,” Kozelle said. “I’m just so excited to be apart of it.”
Kozelle said that the film scouts initially contacted her last summer, and they agreed to work together in the fall. Berry was chosen for a film location because of the interior of the ford dining hall. The crew liked the interior of the ford dining hall because it matched the filming they did shot outside of buildings in Europe. The first week of filming on campus was mainly dedicated to filming, while the second week is dedicated to wrapping up. According to Kozelle, filming on campus has gone smoothly because all the filming has occurred inside rather than filming outside at various locations across campus.
“It’s such a neat thing for us to be a part of,” Kozelle said. “I definitely hear from students who are excited about the filming. Berry is a smaller school, so I think it’s fun for students to have these claims to fame.”
Kozelle said a big reason why Tyle Perry was able to film at Berry is because the filming occurred at an opportune time for Berry. She said she gets calls from film scouts about once a month but is unable to work with some filming producers because the filming times coincide with Berry events. However, there were no major events taking place at the ford dining hall between Jan. 9-20, so she was able to work with Tyler Perry for this movie production.
“I always first look at how the filming on campus could impact the students because we’re here first for the students,” Kozelle said.
The Six Triple Eight film production on campus allowed 10 film students to have the opportunity to work on set of a major film. Before the filming began, students were invited to email and request to work with the film crew. Although Kozelle stated that she received dozens of emails, she was only able to accept 10 students. The selected students worked with the locations film group last Friday and Saturday to assist with logistics on set and build connections with the productions company. Sophomore Peighton Williamson is one of the selected students who was able to work with the film crew.
“I’m most excited to gain more connections within the film industry and gain more experience to put on my resume,” Williamson said.
As a film major, Williamson said she aspires to be a producer and film actress. Before working with Six Triple Eight, she had an internship shadowing a scripts supervisor for the film Creed III. She said that she loved being on set for Six Triple Eight because being on set is ‘like home’ to her.
“Film has always been a passion of mine,” Williamson said. “I love creating [content] and learning about cameras. I’ve always been interested in filmmaking and love learning about it.”
Kozelle said that the main benefit of having movies and tv shows filmed on campus, in her opinion, is that it excites both current students and potential students touring Berry. Sophomore Holly Jordan said she is especially excited for Berry to be used again as a filming spot since the production of Stranger Things season four.
“Filming at Berry is a great way to showcase our beautiful campus,” Jordan said. “I think it’s also a cool advertising and publicity tool for potential students.”