“I was surrounded by support at every step in the process, but some were hesitant,” Gaynor recalls. “They told me that there were too many moving parts, too much time needed on set, and that it couldn’t be done. But, because of the collection of brilliant people involved and my belief in this idea, we premiered my debut feature film.’
Some of Gaynor’s peers were his partners in producing and marketing his films.
"Matt's a relentless worker and has had countless sleepness nights working on this film so that evryone could see it before he graduated," says Hayden Snook '18, who served as Gaynor's producer. "I'm so proud of him."
“We really care about the town we made the documentary about, and it was so moving to hear the experiences of the local people who were involved.”Matthew Gaynor ’18, Integrated Media Arts and Film Production.
Snook earned credits from the College so that he could actively serve in this position.
Students from Juniata also starred as the main characters in the film, who encounter a parallel universe and must figure out the meaning of love, philosophy, and everyday life. Coleman Rigg ’15 provided the music for the film.
By May, Gaynor was prepared to premiere another work: a documentary called Find the Pennies, which also premiered at the Clifton 5.
Find the Pennies takes its viewers on an adventure through Mifflin County history, zeroing in on a century-old Pennsylvania legend about the great train robbery of 1909. Featuring first-hand accounts and interviews, the documentary tells the storyof the robbery and the treasure that may have once laid in the mountains of the Lewistown Narrows.
“We really care about the town we made the documentary about, and it was so moving to hear the experiences of the local people who were involved,” says Gaynor.
Gaynor created the film for his senior honors thesis project. While he prefers working with fictional pieces, he branched out to try a different genre once he became passionate about the story.
“Matt’s a relentless worker and has had countless sleepless nights working on this film so that everyone could see it before he graduated.”Hayden Snook ’18, Marketing.
“I began my research by reading one article, and suddenly, I fell down a rabbit hole and learned what an amazing story it was,” Gaynor says. “Its story impacts so many generations of people.”
Gaynor himself even made an impact on the people of Mifflin County, donating proceeds of the documentary screening to the Mifflin County Railroad Fund.
He also left an impact on Dave Peoples, owner of the Clifton 5, who is looking forward to similar collaborations with the College in the future.
“I’m really glad these guys are doing this here because they could easily do it up on the Juniata College campus, but instead, they want to do it in a theater,” Peoples says. “I really like that.”