Everything or Nothing

student filmmakers shoot full-length thriller in EC

Eric Larson, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Among the Antique Emporium’s many antique treasures is THIS set of vintage cameramen: UWEC students received a grant to film their suspense movie.

The fan blades on the high ceiling of the Antique Emporium spin as Ben Klema and Matt Troge stand at the front door, discussing lines and cinematography with their film crew. It’s a muggy day – almost 90 degrees plus humidity – but the young filmmakers don’t seem to mind the heat. Makeup done and wardrobe donned, two of the actors make their way through the animal heads and picturesque busts as the camera and dolly follow their every step.

“That’s good for the practice run,” Klema yells from across the store. “Let’s back it up and do it for real.” The crew retreats back to the front and waits for the director to call action.

It’s not often that a feature-length film is shot in Eau Claire; what’s even less frequent is when it’s done almost entirely by students. But thanks to a recent grant, faculty support, and a team of talented young people, the city will be the setting for the soon-to-be-released thriller, Everything or Nothing – completed lock, stock, and barrel by local talent.

So how did such a project come about? Let’s cut back to three years ago.

Klema, the film’s writer and co-director, first became interested in film while pursuing his degree in creative writing at UW-Eau Claire. English professor Allyson Loomis (who is also the faculty advisor for the film project) noticed something special about his work.

“All of his writings had a cinematic feel to them,” Loomis said. “They seemed more like sketches for screenplays than anything.”

Klema soon joined TV-10 where he met Troge, the film’s director and executive producer. The two of them instantly clicked, and together completed three short films, six music videos, and various other TV-10 projects. To top it off, the duo won two STIFFE (Student Independent Film Festival) awards for their work.

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