Amyleigh Hoffine

Senior Eric Hinwood is triple threat times two as a filmmaker, writer, director, actor, model and traveler.  His first feature film Carpe Diem, which encompasses genres from dramatic comedy and adventure, was bought by Adler and Associates Entertainment Inc. distribution company with a 15-year contract. Despite his success, Hinwood remains humble.  When he talks about his accomplishments, it sounds as simple as him telling someone about his day.

As a Whittier Scholar majoring in Film Production and Business, in addition to also majoring in French and minoring in Spanish, Hinwood knows the importance of diversity in both the business and entertainment industries. He studied abroad with the Sweetbriar Program in Paris Fall 2014, which served as the site of production for his second feature-length film After the Fall, an action spy thriller about a London intelligence agency. 

Having an opportunity to create an action film was a throwback to the first film Hinwood made.  It was a film about ninjas and samurai in Japan for a history class.  “Some of my inspirations for films are Jackie Chan, James Wan, Johnny Depp and Kevin Costner, an actor and director who won best picture and best director for Dances with Wolves,” Hinwood said. 

His love of action films is long lasting as he names Catch Me If You Can as one of his favorite films.  “Since I was a little kid, I would watch that film over and over again.” 

Hinwood wanted change from creating comedies so he took a big leap in the opposite direction and was inspired to direct drama films. “I felt prepared to make an action film after working on a comedy film overseas,” Hinwood said. “Films that tug at the emotions without needing explosions have substance.” 

Most of the filming of Carpe Diem took place in London, England with scenes being shot in Rome, Madrid, Istanbul and Prague. While the film had over 60 actors and was filmed in five countries over the course of five weeks, this time around the cast of After the Fall was kept at about six to eight people. 

“I went for bigger actors and bigger names,” Hinwood said.  “We focused less on an ensemble cast and more on a hero, sidekick, villain, girlfriend kind of thing, so more compressed characters.”  Big names meant getting to work alongside an actor and stuntman from Avengers: Age of Ultron and Star Trek

Hinwood hopes to perfect his craft in the entertainment industry by pursuing acting and modeling after graduation. “I could work on my own films forever and not get anywhere, but trying to step up and improve in each area helps the other,” Hinwood said. 

Hinwood’s philosophy of academics has helped him learn the value in application-based learning as opposed to the memorization game. “For me, it’s been taking a step back and focusing on how much I can get out of the class,” Hinwood said. 

As he finishes up his senior year, Hinwood feels confident about his choices in pursuing this path. “A lot of people don’t succeed because they aren’t doing anything, but I’m working every single day to make this dream come true.”