The excitement of a Hollywood movie premiere hit Regent University Saturday night as the School of Communication & the Arts (SCA) debuted its first feature film, In-Lawfully Yours. The romantic comedy is the result of years of working on writing from assistant professor Sean Gaffney. More than 80 students had a hand in the project, and for them to see their work on the big screen, the milestone meant everything.
“It was amazing,” said Kim Kopeski, assistant to the director. “It brought back all of the memories of being on set and working with the students, talent and crew, just having an amazing opportunity that I never dreamed would be possible while I was still in school.”
Kopeski, a full-time student, put aside her full-time job responsibilities to assist the film’s director, Robert Kirbyson. Kopeski’s dream is to make documentaries, and says her experience with In-Lawfully Yours gave her the right perspective.
“I learned from this experience that I am on the right track in my life,” said Kopeski. “I knew this was what I wanted to do, but after being on set and watching Rob, the director, work with the talent and the crew in the way that they did, I knew I was in the right place at the right time, and it solidified what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Graduates from SCA have already achieved their dreams through their experience at Regent.
“It’s really great to be back tonight at Regent University, and see the release of a film like this, a full-length feature film, and think back on the early days when we had small classes,” said Ben Edwards, ’84 (SCA), CBN International vice president. ”In the early days, it was hard to imagine. We didn’t have the resources we do now, but all of us thought the potential was here for the university to grow and really do some great things.”
“I’m so proud of the university all of these years later,” said George Thomas, CBN News senior international correspondent. “I know this is a dream come true for the School of Communication, the MFA program, and for the entire Regent University family. To have their first feature film, full-length movie is a huge accomplishment. Part of it is the collaboration with real life experience to bring Hollywood actors, those in New York and L.A. to come and to partner; as somebody said, to be a bridge between the professional world and the academic world is terrific.”
Thomas launched his career into world-wide journalism after graduating from Regent in 1995. In his 20+ years at CBN, he’s traveled to more than 100 countries, a dream he’s had since his childhood in Africa. Saturday, he traveled just steps to see a dream the entire SCA has had for years come to fruition.
“It’s not just about getting A’s in your classes,” said Thomas. “In today’s world, it’s about experience, and that’s so a part of today’s culture and the 21st century. This is a movie that allows you to have the collaboration, and allows you to get the real life experience. You feel it, you touch it, and I am so proud of them.”
Thomas is eager to see Regent’s SCA continue its tradition of training students through real world experience in future projects.
“Regent University provided the foundation to help me to be a critical thinker, to examine the field, and to see what kind of light I could be in this world.”