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Student receives international film award

Book Trailer Entrepreneurship senior Alex Chandler began experimenting with film when he was in high school, and has gone on to create a theatrical trailer with author Dianne Gardner. (Photo courtesy of Dianne Gardner)

Entrepreneurship senior Alex Chandler began experimenting with film when he was in high school. Little did he know that film for him would take off into something incredible.

Chandler collaborated with author Dianne Gardner created an award-winning trailer that promoted Gardner’s young adult novel, “The Dragon Shield.”

The trailer won a semifinalist award through the Moondance InternationalFilm Festival. The festival will be held in Mystic, Conn. on Sept. 26 through the 28.

When Chandler was in high school, film was just a hobby for him. He created an encouragement video for a young man at his school who was training for a triathlon but was hit by a car. The video was played at his high school’s assembly to honor the student.

Chandler also produced an anti-smoking PSA for ASU right before the school implemented the smoking ban.

Gardner knew Chandler through his mother, April Myers. Upon discovering his talent with film, Gardner asked him to promote her novel by having it come to life through a trailer.

“It is really great to see my son and Dianne take off and soar into the art world,” Myers said.

Gardner was originally an oil painter who branched out into writing. She is an author and illustrator who writes young adult fantasy novels and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as the National League of American Pen Women.

“The Dragon Shield” is ­­the secondbook in the “Ian’s Realm” saga. The saga begins with teenage Ian Wilson, who follows his father through a portal into another realm. He is abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers, is trapped in this alternate realm and learns a greater purpose for his presence there.

“It is mostly about Ian growing up and learning how to be a leader while making a lot of mistakes along the way and how he is able to prove his integrity,” Gardner said.

Chandler used pertinent excerpts from the book to film the trailer. He was primarily involved with production and post-production.

“There is a lot of work that goes into filming that you don’t see,” Chandler said.

Chandler estimates that he put more than 100 hours into creating the trailer. This includes the time in making the props, creating the script, directing, and actually filming the piece. It took approximately two days to actually film “The Dragon Shield.”

Myers said that she was a little apprehensive at first about letting her son go into film, because it was difficult for her to see it turn into an actual career.

“One of the reasons why Alex chose ASU was because of the film program, but in the end I talked him into pursuing business as his main focus because a career in film did not seem real to me,” she said.

Myers said her opinion dramatically changed, however, when he won the semifinalist award at the Moondance International Film festival.

“It made me realize that my son actually has a gift and that film wasn’t just a hobby for him," she said. "It made me want to be more supportive."

Chandler is working on turning the “The Dragon Shield” into an actual feature-length film. He is unsure of when it will be complete but is confident that it will be a success.

“Alex has a lot of drive,” Myers said. “When other kids would spend their money on junk food or a new car, Alex would save up to buy an underwater camera or other film equipment."

Reach the reporter at or follow her on Twitter @kelciegrega

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