By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
PHC alumnus Daniel Noa (Public Policy ’07) recently sold his first 45-minute film, Smuggler’s Ransom, to Cloud Ten Pictures, the production company for the Left Behind series. The film, a fictional espionage story set around the rescue of a young girl who was kidnapped while smuggling Bibles into communist Romania in the 1980s, will be released to DVD in 2008.
Noa completed and released the film in February 2007, and has since been seeking a distributor. Having adapted the movie from a play written in the late-eighties by Steve Losee for street evangelism, Smuggler’s projects bold Christian themes while following the Cold War exploits of Bible smuggler Carmen Consalo and American agent Bill Donley, sent to rescue her from a communist prison in Romania. It stands as the showcase among a host of film projects completed by Noa while at PHC. He also produced and acted in the shadowy “Hitman” series, popular among students as something of a cult phenomenon, intermingling themes of guns, gangsters, and espionage. Asked about his future moviemaking plans, Noa flashed a brash, boyish grin.
“What did JFK say—something about landing on the moon in a decade?” he quips. “But seriously, I want to impact the culture with film in a positive way. Specifically, I want to be able to make people question what they believe, so they can find out why they believe it.”
He and a high-school friend, Brandon Rice, who shared Executive Producer and Director credits for Smuggler’s Ransom, shot and produced in California on a $5000 operational budget. The movie employed professional actors gathered from an ad posted on Craig’s List and a few casting websites, and despite technical limitations imposed by the miniscule budget, Noa is satisfied with the finished film.
“Every project is a learning experience,” he says. “What I always tell people interested in moviemaking is that they should make movies, even if they don’t yet know how. That’s how you learn.”
This philosophy of learning through doing prompted Noa and others to create a student film club, the Streaming Media Network, during his time at Patrick Henry. The group lives on today, thriving under a new generation of directors and cinematographers-in-training.
“If I’d never gone to PHC, I might never have done film,” says Noa, who majored in Government – Public Policy. “Because I was able to find an audience, I was encouraged to continue.”
Smugglers Ransom will be released through the Cloud Ten Church Cinemas, June 6, 2008. Churches can sign up to become a part of the movie evening by visiting the Cloud Ten Pictures website at www.cloudtenpictures.com.
Smuggler’s Ransom was recently nominated as a semifinalist at the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival and as “Best-Produced Screenplay” at the Action on Film Festival in Long Beach, CA. For someone who only earned his undergraduate degree in May of 2007, it is an impressive achievement. Check out the website, www.smugglersransom.com, for more information.