By RACHEL PARKER DICKERSON

LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER

A group of University of Central Arkansas students and alumni, with the help of other members of the community, have been shooting an independent film in Conway.

J. Casey Kucera and Miles Miller are executive producing the film, "The Space Station." Kucera has worked as a nurse for many years and has gone back to school at UCA to pursue a dream of being in the film industry. UCA film student Michael Sutterfield is the director and the writer of the script. He adapted it from a short story he wrote and approached Kucera with the idea.

"It's been a labor of love," Kucera said.

Sutterfield explained the movie is a short film, but it has a three-act structure. It is the story of a woman in her 20s who moves to New York to try to make it big as a writer. She begins dating a billionaire, and he invites her to vacation with him at his private space station.

"It's really just a tale of two people who will do anything to get what they want," Sutterfield said.

UCA graduate Gabe Mayhan is the cinematographer. On Saturday he was rigging a set as the cast and crew gathered after a long night of filming on Friday. Timothy "T.C." Jones is the sound man for the film.

Amber Edens, a nurse at Arkansas Children's Hospital, plays the female lead character.

"I've always had this dream," she said. "I started in modeling and then went to acting. I've always loved doing it. I grew up at a race track in Warren, AR, called Kartways."

She performed in a couple of commercials for the race track, and that is how she discovered a love of acting, she said.

As for working on the short film, "The Space Station," -- "Amazing," she said. "I absolutely love it. It's a lot of hard work, but this is my passion. Even the long hours, it's completely worth it. I've been impressed how, even though this is an independent film, how well things have come together, the quality of the film."

Stephen Perry is the male lead actor. He was formerly a theater and film student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and now works for Subway Development Inc. in Maumelle. He also serves in the National Guard.

"I did some Shakespeare at UALR. I really enjoy (acting)," he said. "In the National Guard I can't do much (acting) because of one weekend a month."

Kucera said the central Arkansas community has been generous in terms of donations and assistance with the film.

"Our sets are built from donated wood," he said. "A very little amount has been spent on production, but the production value is pretty amazing for a small film. We have shot a two restaurants, one in Little Rock and also at Mike's Place. We shut down a block of Capitol Avenue. MEMS brought out an ambulance."

He said he wanted to express "how blessed I feel from the community in central Arkansas, the film community, for helping us achieve what we want to achieve. We hope we can do them justice. Everything's looking great."

The film also features abstract painting, and local artists have loaned the filmmakers their paintings, Kucera said. Artists including Gene Hatfield, Elizabeth Weber and Bach Shelton have loaned pieces of artwork that is being filmed.

Sutterfield said, "There's a strong theme in the film connecting abstract paintings to the characters." The borrowed art "connects us to local artists," he said.

Asked about their hopes for the film, Kucera said, "The industry is changing, with the Internet and all different venues for people to sell films. We're looking at a worldwide festival release. The dream of every filmmaker is to go to Sundance, Cannes, Los Angeles Film Festival, South by Southwest, and of course, the Academy Awards," which has a short film category now.

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at rachel.dickerson@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)