Over the past year or two we’ve seen some amazing short films coming out of Red Eye, capstone projects, and our advanced A/V courses. While all of this has been happening, media arts junior Joey Pasbrig has been quietly (or not so quietly) directing his latest feature film, Starstrike. After a year of writing and about a year of production, Joey screened the movie on campus on December 10 and premiered it on Youtube shortly after. This was an exciting and well-attended screening, as Bethany students made up the majority of the crew and many of them also appeared in the film. Starstrike is an ambitious action movie that presents beautiful Minnesota locations, stunning cinematography, and impressive visual effects. If you like Stranger Things, you probably want to give it a try! Here’s the trailer:

Joey’s ambition here is truly commendable. His feature films (yes, there are more of them and they’re connected) are passion projects. He completes them entirely outside our media arts coursework, which requires coordinating complex schedules and balancing the production tasks with his other responsibilities at school and work. While he has a lot of willing friends and colleagues, he also had to recast characters for various reasons including character compatibility and scheduling conflicts. Post-production may have been easier logistically, as Joey edited the movie and completed the VFX himself.

If you’ve ever met Joey, you know he’s an energetic guy. He loves his drone, he loves lighting, he loves working with people. If you’ve seen his movies, you know he also loves action scenes…

“Action scenes are where I enter what some of us call ‘flow state.’ The stress disappears for me and I enter the scene, and usually the fight scenes take the shortest amount of time. I grew up making fight scenes with my brother, so I’ve gotten a little better at directing and choreographing them. We actually had an accident while filming the biggest fight scene. My lead was injured when he took an elbow to the face, breaking his nose.”
– Joey Pasbrig

To be perfectly honest with you, we often tell Joey to make more shorts…and we have reasons! One of those reasons is that shorts are easier to promote and distribute. But Starstrike has surpassed our expectations for a feature on Youtube, already passing 5,000 views. With many of our student artists active on Youtube, we asked him how he did this.

“With a large and motivated cast and crew, it’s a lot easier to have multiple people promoting the film. Brett de Kooker, my lead, routinely posts to his Snapchat story to update them with the film, even now that it’s complete. Additionally, I’ve been promoting my Instagram behind the scenes reels, and boosted one of them to over 14k views! Putting in the work, putting in the money, and being able to ask people to promote it has been a useful tool in getting to a higher view count!”
– Joey Pasbrig

Let’s wrap this up with the actual movie, which is embedded below for you to watch in full (and currently ad free!). If you have the time and inclination, his earlier features are available on this Crushed Crystal Studios films playlist. It’s awesome to see how much they’ve improved! Congrats on your premiere, Joey! We’re excited to see what you do next.