Morgantown's Burkholder speaks about ‘The Suspect' experience

Kathryn Burkholder is a local resident whose talents contributed to the making of Stuart Connelly’s ‘The Suspect’ ( To read our feature on locally filmed ‘The Suspect’ here - http://www.tricountyrecord.com/article/20121126/NEWS01/121129943/local-author-connelly-makes-directorial-film-debut-with-the-suspect-). While she prefers to be behind the lens (she is a professional photographer and videographer, visit her at www.kathrynburkholder.com) Burkholder happily took on the opportunity to learn more about filmmaking through a hands-on job as a volunteer Set Dresser.

Burkholder has done similar set work ‘off and on’ for three years, most frequently for local filmmaker and family friend Daniel Speers. For Connelly’s ‘The Suspect’, she worked under the guidance of Art Department Director Eileen Dennehy.

“The art department was a small department, but with many shared roles. As a set dresser I would help create the film’s settings,” Burkholder explained. “Eileen would go to a scene and plan everything out. Then we would organize and transport everything we needed from our warehouse in Honey Brook. We would go to the location, set everything up, they would shoot, and then the next day we would break it down.”

She said that her small team included people with various useful skill sets such as graphic design, construction, and creative design.

“Everything you see in a scene there is because we put it there for a reason, down to the smallest detail. You need a well-rounded team, and you also need to be able to think outside of the box. They can ask you to do anything and you do it,” Burkholder said.

Sometimes the art department would be building things, and at other times purposefully breaking things. Often she was personally advised as to where find things that were needed for the set - the best local sources for deals for fabric or paint, or to find something obscure.

“There was a need for lot of random things,” she said with a knowing smile, not giving away any hints about the film.

Throughout her six weeks of working on the set she said really enjoyed being part of her team, especially when they were challenged to pull off something that was very tricky or difficult.

“It was a great experience. Honestly, this is not something that I would pursue as my career, but it opens a lot of doors for me and I made some good connections with good people.”