W.Va. filmmaker enjoys Hollywood trip

HOLLYWOOD – Parkersburg native Nathan Marshall recently received two filmmaking awards in Hollywood.

While in Southern California, Marshall also got to meet well-known filmmakers and learned there are many Christians working in the entertainment business, he said.

Marshall was one of 11 international finalists in the 48 Hour Music Video Project’s Filmapalooza in March at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Marshall qualified for the international finals by winning Best Music Video and the Audience Choice Award in Pittsburgh.

Marshall’s folk-style indie rock song “When I’m Fifty” is part of his music video that represented the Pittsburgh area.

A group from Paris won the competition with its film “Jacques Serres.” “They (the French team) produced an amazing video,” Marshall said.

Teams created an entire music video in 48 hours.

Marshall, an English and theater teacher at Brooke High School in Wellsburg, said his song depicts the melodic wonderings of a young man and his hopes for himself as he gets older.

Marshall’s video was produced by Lethal Lens Productions and was filmed at Carrie Furnace, the former home of a steel mill, in Pittsburgh and at various spots in Wellsburg. Providing the music is Essential Machine’s R.J. and Karen Dietrich of Greensburg, Pa.

“Seeing people from all over the world tap their foot to a song I created on my back porch was simply amazing,” said Marshall, who lived in Wood County until the fifth grade. He is the son of Wood County natives Harold and Linda Marshall of Wellsburg.

Marshall described himself as a filmmaker first and a musician somewhere down the line. “When I’m Fifty” was the first song he had written.

He enjoyed talking with movie directors and producers at the film festival.

One of them, Dennis Dugan, has directed Adam Sandler’s movies such as “Happy Gilmore,” “Big Daddy” “Grown Ups” and “Jack and Jill.”

“Dennis gave me a pair of socks because he told me a director should always have a change of socks, and these were his favorites,” Marshall said. “Meeting a director at the top of our field like Dennis Dugan, and realizing that he has the same struggles as me, even though he has a lot more of a budget, was gratifying,” Marshall said.

He also talked to Braxton Pope, a feature film and television producer who maintains a production deal with Lionsgate.

Marshall noted that he met a lot of great people at church in California, including producers and writers. It reaffirmed his belief that a person can be both a Christian and an entertainer.

“The biggest thing I took from this trip is that there are a lot of Christian-minded people working in the entertainment industry. Something I honestly never knew,” he said.

Marshall said he felt blessed by God to have his music video shown in Hollywood.

Marshall’s feature film directorial debut, “Let It Rip,” was selected for the West Virginia Filmmakers Film Festival last fall. The film has been selected for a special showing at 7:30 p.m. May 21 at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont’s Screen and Be Seen in Pittsburgh.