Home Entertainment Mountain V Productions Provides Professional Film Experience for College Students

Mountain V Productions Provides Professional Film Experience for College Students

by Alex Centeno

Mountain V Productions is a film and television production company specializing in the creation of high-end, quality content delivered through the collaboration of its founders and college students, many of whom come from Montclair State University.

The company was founded in 2019 by Michael Bergendorff after having a career in business administration, sales and marketing for over 15 years. Despite no prior exposure to the film industry, his knowledge and business experience gave him the ability to develop the production company in Denmark.

In 2020, Bergendorff became a marketer and producer for Mountain V Productions. He then partnered up with Matt Barbiere, who graduated from Montclair State in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Barbiere later decided to pursue a career as an actor. It was not until he joined Mountain V Productions that he strengthened his profession in acting and producing, while simultaneously focusing his talents on writing short and feature-length screenplays.

“Partnering with Mountain V Productions has been an amazing experience,” Barbiere said. “I am so proud to work with fellow Montclair [State] students and graduates who know how to collaborate well with respect and professionalism.”

Behind the scene photography on the production of "Gateway - Last Chance

A behind-the-scenes look on the set of “Gateway – Last Chance.”
Photo courtesy of Mountain V Productions

Together, Bergendorff and Barbiere have agreed to place a company philosophy concerning gender equality on the independent film productions coming out this year.

After their first production in the US, they have supported writer-producer-and-director students from Sarah Lawrence College by forming contracts with writers and consulting with them on thesis projects for optimizing production and reducing cost.

The company has since then expanded its network by hiring writers and editors across the US and Europe, while also growing their network for distribution agreements. Mountain V Productions gathered a crew of college graduate students, some from Montclair State, through job applications from LinkedIn and from official IMDb pages or referrals.

The company puts considerable time into pre-production for each project in order to create their content in a steady and swift manner, while still maintaining convenience for both the cast and crew.

Even during these complicated times with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mountain V perseveres in growing as a company by having made two independent short films in 2020, “Pandemic Fix” and “Gateway City – Last Chance,” both created under the safety regulations put in place by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

These short films have been submitted to various film festivals. The first film, “Pandemic Fix,” received a nomination for Best Comedy Short at the Indie Short Fest in Los Angeles and an honorable mention for Best Comedy at the New York Movie Awards.

The second film, “Gateway City – Last Chance,” has received several honorable mentions including Best Indie Short by the Florence Film Awards. The film also won two awards for Best Director at the New York Movie Awards, as well as Best Male Foreign Actor at the CKF International Film Festival.

The official poster for 'Gateway City - Last Chance' along with the award and nominations it received.

“Gateway City – Last Chance” received a multitude of nominations and awards from various festivals.
Photo courtesy of Mountain V Productions

The Hollywood Gold Awards nominated Brendan Laird, who recently graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a film degree, for Best Post Production Sound for his work as sound mixer on “Gateway City – Last Chance.”

“Mountain V Productions helped me get started on my career and helped me rekindle my passion that was wavering for a few months,” Laird said. “I am excited for the many productions that are in the horizon.”

Laird has a passion for filmmaking and appreciates Mountain V for allowing him to show his full potential.

“Since working on those projects, I have been able to find more work than I was anticipating,” Laird said.

After applying through LinkedIn, Chris Kong, a senior filmmaking major at Montclair State, has worked with Mountain V Productions as a crew member for their last two short films and is working with them on a project currently in development.

Kong has gained much production experience at Montclair State and has used it during his time as a gaffer when setting up lights for one of the company’s films, specifically for “Pandemic Fix.” He was also in charge of cinematography as director of photography for “Gateway City – Last Chance.”

“Mountain V Productions came out of the gates with a lot of passion and is really trying to hit the ground running with a lot of new projects,” Kong said. “Definitely look out for them in the future since they helped me jumpstart my career.”

Behind the scene photography for the production of 'Pandemic Fix' with the Director speaking to the DP (Chris Kong).

Chris Kong (right) served as director of photography on the production of “Pandemic Fix.”
Photo courtesy of Mountain V Productions

Mountain V has proven to be beneficial for people that work with them, as the company grants students both current students and college graduates with professional experience needed in the film industry. Crew members are also offered a percentage of the proceeds made from their feature projects.

After graduating from Montclair State in 2020 with a degree in acting, Abbey George reached out to the company through Backstage, a casting website, and starred in a film currently in development.

“It is a great opportunity to be able to find work from Mountain V in this field after graduating,” George said. “They’re definitely aiming high in the industry.”

The company has reserved plans to make more films and documentaries for 2021 and beyond. They even have another short film currently in production.

Mountain V Productions opens the door for filmmakers from Montclair State and other colleges to further pursue their passion in the art of filmmaking.

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