A film worth freezing for

Caitlin Kazepis, 33, is the writer of "The Pipeline," a short film about the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The Stephens City native hopes to release the film on the festival circuit next fall. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Kazepis.

Caitlin Kazepis has plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.

Less than a month after successfully raising more than $25,000 through a Kickstarter.com crowdfunding campaign, the Sherando graduate is embarking on creating her first film.

“The Pipeline,” a short film she wrote and will star in, revolves around the construction of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s. It’s scheduled to be released on the film festival circuit next fall.

Actress Alexis Iacono plays the lead role, as the daughter of a New York Times reporter covering the pipeline being built. When he dies and she’s left with a trust fund under a mysterious name, she travels to Alaska and uncovers the truth about him and the pipeline, as well as the local Inuit and Inupiaq cultures.

“The Pipeline” also features director Michael Kallio and actor Barry Corbin, who has appeared in “No Country for Old Men” and the “Anger Management” TV series.

Kazepis, 33, originally hails from Alaska, though most of her years were spent in Stephens City.

A talented singer on her high school’s concert choir, she graduated from Sherando in 1999 and left to pursue opera at the Boston University School for the Arts. She finished her studies at Virginia Tech, where she regularly participated in vocal competitions.

At one of these competitions, held in Florida, her voice caught the ear of a judge.

That ear was John Daly’s, a producer for such films as “Hoosiers,” “Platoon” and “The Terminator.”

Daly told her to call if she ever found herself in Los Angeles, and helped land her first role in Hollywood.

“It took awhile,” said Kazepis about her first break. “Everyone else was getting married, and I was still living in an apartment with three cats. You think, poor Caitlin, and then it all comes together.”

She described “The Pipeline” as a narrative character-driven short film that will feature elements of animation. She said the film will focus on the balance between the Native American way of life in Alaska and the environmentally controversial, but economically significant, oil pipeline.

“I feel like we’re making something extremely interesting that hasn’t been done yet,” she said.

The $25,000 raised through Kickstarter will be used to cover costs for filming, festival submissions and post production.

In addition to New York City and Los Angeles, filming locations include the Alaskan cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks.

She said they will begin shooting B-roll footage of New York City scenes next month, and plan to break into principal photography in February. She said they hope to finish post production by next fall.

Next week, Kazepis will be visiting Alaska for the Anchorage International Film Festival, one of the festivals she plans to enter into next year.

She said she plans to submit the short film to the Sundance, Cannes and Telluride film festivals, among others.

If “The Pipeline” garners enough support, Kazepis said she hopes to expand the story into a feature length film.

She said she hopes to hold a local screening once the production is done.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com