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UI film student helps produce new TV series pilot

BY MICHELLE NGO | JANUARY 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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Since his days as a high-school sports broadcasting producer in La Grange, Ill., Eric Anfield, a cinematography student and a senior at the University of Iowa, has wanted to make and edit film.
The desire became stronger than before last year. He sold his favorite guitar in order to fund his production.

Now, his dream is coming true with the help of his mentor, Joseph Grandy Heath, a local actor and director, whom he met three years ago through a mutual friend in his Delta Chi fraternity. While they have worked together on numerous projects, they recently wrapped shooting a television pilot for “Hotel P” at the Lodge Hotel in Bettendorf.

The “Hotel P” pilot, which took a week to shoot, focuses on a character named Thomas (Keith Harris), who awakens in Hotel P — or Purgatory — to discover that he is dead. Thomas must then figure out how to move on to either Heaven or Hell to avoid an eternity trapped in Hotel P.

“It’s basically ‘Lost,’ shot in The Shining, mixed with some elements of ‘Scrubs,’ ” Anfield said.
Anfield and Heath plan to pitch the “Hotel P” pilot to such networks as HBO or as a Netflix Original Series once postproduction finishes.

Before “Hotel P,” Anfield assisted Heath on several other short films, including “Good Grief” and “Field Freak.”

“We’re constantly texting or calling each other trying to bounce ideas off each other,” Heath said. “We talk about project ideas that may happen 15 years from now.”

Anfield says he carries a small notebook and voice recorder around with him in case a new idea comes. In fact, Anfield came up with the idea for a comedic short film while sitting in one of his film-theory courses. He then sold his favorite Fender guitar to Heath to pay for the production.

While Anfield spends a lot of his time working for Heath’s production company, Stonecold Buffalo Co., he is also a full-time student at the UI and holds a job. With so much on his plate, Anfield said, he is extremely happy when he gets one night of the week off.

Misty Blank, the makeup artist and costume designer for “Hotel P,” said she was impressed by Anfield’s hard work and drive on set.

“He was running around doing stuff for everyone like a crazy person,” she said. “With his determination, I have no doubt his future will involve film in some aspect.”

In the future, Anfield hopes his career will lead him to Los Angeles, where he can work on film projects and then drive to the beach.  But until then, he hopes he can bring the film industry to Iowa City, because he has met a lot of committed and dedicated people in the city in the past few years through Heath.

“I’m always wanting to create something that has never been done and is memorable,” Anfield said. “I would honestly do my job for free, but eventually I want to make enough money to buy my guitar back.”


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