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South Hills Goes to the Movies

by Joan Andrews
South Hills Public Relations Specialist

STATE COLLEGE — The State Theatre in downtown State College opened its doors to all students and employees of South Hills School of Business & Technology on December 20, where The Mazza Foundation for Education sponsored a special showing of the documentary, “Becoming Bulletproof.” The movie was also simulcast at both the Altoona and Lewistown campuses.

This film documents the making of an original Western film called “Bulletproof”, which was shot on a western-style movie set in California. The film features actors with and without disabilities, who meet every year at Zeno Mountain Farm to write, produce, and star in original films.

Founded by two brothers and their wives, Zeno Mountain Farm’s philosophy is to create a truly inclusive community that builds genuine friendships that transcend stigma and stereotypes. For this group, their films aren’t about making a statement; “It’s all about making movies.”

Inside the whirlwind filmmaking process of mastering lines, pushing through take after take, and grappling with high expectations, “Becoming Bulletproof” chronicles the movie-making process as it personally and socially transforms all individuals involved in making the film.

A question & answer session followed the viewing of the film, where students were given the opportunity to ask questions of a guest panel comprised of Peter Halby, co-founder of Zeno Mountain Farms, along with cast members Ajani (AJ) Murray, his mother, Cynthia McFadden; Michael Heard, and his mother, Jennifer Davis.

Numerous educational and social services groups were also invited by South Hills to view the inspirational film. One retired special education instructor told the guest panel she only wished she had known earlier about the wonderful work done by the dedicated team at Zeno Mountain Farm for her to share with her students.

Watching this documentary was a moving and inspirational experience for many South Hills students who perhaps haven’t experienced interacting with individuals with special needs. South Hills’ Director, Mark Maggs, had many people in agreement with him when he stated he found himself overcome with “major allergy attacks,” resulting in teary eyes throughout the movie.

“Becoming Bulletproof” was shown prior to the holidays, and for many, it was a priceless gift that will have a lifelong impact.

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