MUNFORDVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Southern Kentucky Film Commission's internship program, intended to strengthen the area's fledgling film industry, has educated a batch of graduates from across the region and is already training a new wave of interns.

Branscombe Richmond, associate producer of "Runaway Romance," which finished shooting in June, oversaw the Southern Kentucky Film Commission Professional Internship Program.

Richmond said the program trained six interns from Warren, Edmonson and Knox counties in numerous aspects of filmmaking, adding that they worked with production assistants, assistant directors, grips and electrical and transportation personnel on the set of "Runaway Romance."

The internship program was roughly offered at the same time as production of "Runaway Romance" and allowed the interns to learn about the film industry firsthand, he said.

"You can read all the books you want but practical application is the only way to do it," he said.

The program aims to strengthen southern Kentucky's potential as a location for film shoots by training a pool of people who could serve on future productions, Richmond said.

"It's more economical to hire a local who has the skill to do a certain job," he said, adding that the cost of flying in a professional from California and putting them up in a hotel can be burdensome for a production.

Richmond, who is an advisory board member of SKFC, said he's serious about building a competitive film industry in southern Kentucky.

"We're not messing around," he said.

A new group of interns and 20 or so students from Western Kentucky University are working on the set of "Mail Order Monster," not including roughly 80 middle school-aged extras used in scenes filmed last Saturday and Sunday.

"We've got more locals working on this movie than on the other two movies," he said, referring to "Runaway Romance" and "An Uncommon Grace."

According to a release from SKFC, Jay Hall, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Film & Development, recently commended the internship program.

"If every film commission in the state did this, we could build our crew base exponentially. Not every commission is as focused," Hall said in the release. "This will give a competitive advantage."

Hart County's Jeremy Aubrey, who worked as an intern and an extra on the set of "Runaway Romance," said he's learned a lot about the industry through the program.

"It really puts into perspective how much it takes to make a movie," he said.

Aubrey said he became part of the program after his agent recommended him to Richmond for the internship program.

Before serving as an extra on "Runaway Romance," Aubrey had no experience with acting or filmmaking, he said.

During the filmmaking process, Aubrey worked with the transportation department, moving the set's base camp and trailers.

Aubrey, who has about a decade of caving experience, was also heavily involved in electrical work and lighting during part of the movie that was shot in a cave on Kentucky Down Under's property.

"They wanted me there just to keep everyone safe," he said.

Having completed his internship, Aubrey is now involved with "Mail Order Monster," playing the titular monster, he said.

"It's really neat," he said. "I've got a full costume that I wear."

When asked what the monster looks like, Aubrey said director Paulina Lagudi wanted him to keep details of the monster's appearance under wraps.

Aubrey said he plans to keep up his involvement in the area's film industry, either as an actor or in the transportation department, he said.

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com