Alumni Spotlight-Brad Weatherholt

December 2016

Brad Weatherholt releases film "The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan's Journey"

Brad Weatherholt graduated from Lamar University in 2011 with his bachelors degree and in 2012 with his MBA. He started his business, Ministry of Cinema, shortly after and is now celebrating the release of his first film, The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan’s Journey, a documentary over the controversial prequels to the Star Wars saga.

Weatherholt attended Lamar University as a Mirabeau Scholar and spent his time actively participating in the Honors Student Association. He graduated Summa Cum Laude as an Honors College Graduate. He enjoyed his time at Lamar so much that he decided to stay for his Master’s degree, too.

Lamar University brought several important people into Weatherholt’s life and gave him the tools he needed to pursue his career.

"Lamar gave me access to the people and equipment I needed to launch my career. Almost all of my films have involved people I met at Lamar,” Weatherholt said.

Weatherholt could not choose just one most influential person that he met during his time as a student.

“It’s a tie between Kevin Dodson and O’Brien Stanley, though they share the same reason. They both were student-focused. They celebrated individuality, taking risks. And they LOVE what they do. That goes a long way if you are an eager student because at the end of the day I’m convinced a teacher can’t really teach anything unless he inspires the desire to learn from that student,” Weatherholt said.

Ministry of Cinema was launched after he graduated, but Weatherholt’s love of Star Wars was around much longer.

“I think my Star Wars interest just comes naturally with being a major nerd, and I’ve been a nerd for as long as I can remember,” Weatherholt said. “What strikes me most about Star Wars is its mythological richness. The saga is a mythology of our time and culture, following the classical tradition of other great cultural mythologies. So yeah, there are lightsabers and silly aliens, but there’s also something complex underneath the surface.”

As most Star Wars fans know, people either love the prequels or hate them; they have stirred up controversy in the fan base for years. Weatherholt, fascinated by the controversy, watched as new ideas popped up everywhere, and he got the idea to take them and make them into a documentary. The Prequels Strike Back was the result.

“People began to introduce ideas about Star Wars that I had never considered before. I had this paradigm shift of sorts, and I thought people could experience a similar change of opinion if they were presented the information in a fair way,” Weatherholt said. “The documentary aims to provide fresh perspectives from academics and fans that might have been missed over the chatter on the Internet.”

Weatherholt and Ministry of Cinema traveled the country, interviewing fans and filming what would unexpectedly become a highly anticipated, Star Wars fan-famous documentary.

“We traveled the entire country to film dozens of interviews from people all over the nation. That alone was a massive undertaking, but then we had to edit it all. That required a lot of hours spent in a dark room looking at bright screens. Thousands of hours, but it’s rewarding work,” Weatherholt said.

Despite the work load, Weatherholt did not expect the sheer level of interest and popularity The Prequels Strike Back would gain.

“It exploded on the Internet, and that was amazing. We knew we were dealing with something that people would latch on to, but we weren’t sure whether or not they would be able to see it! Once it got shared by major film blogs, everything changed,” Weatherholt said.

Since its completion, The Prequels Strike Back has celebrated its digital release and its theatrical release. The World Premiere of the movie, shown in Austin, was wildly popular, and orders for digital shipments have only just begun.

Weatherholt’s advice for students who want to pursue their own passions in film is “to just do it.”

“Just do it! A lot of people ask what’s the best way to get into the film industry. I think filmmaking is inherently an entrepreneurial endeavor, at least on the Indie scale. So, if you’re not doing grunt labor right now for a studio, you probably are going to have to take all the risks yourself. And you should. It’s worth it,” Weatherholt said.

Though he has moved on to filmmaking and a life in Austin, Weatherholt recognizes the value of staying in touch with Lamar.

“If you have spent your time well in college, you will want to continue that relationship with that university. It’s always great to sustain relationships, especially with people who were there for very formidable moments of your education,” Weatherholt said.

Weatherholt has earned his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, started a business, and made a documentary that gained worldwide attention and popularity, all in the last five years. He said he is ready now for the next step in his career, even if he is not quite certain of what comes next.

Weatherholt said his favorite thing about Lamar University is that it gives students the resources to succeed, however they want to succeed.

“Lamar is a great value,” Weatherholt said. “If you are a driven student, you will find the professors and faculty there to help you achieve your dreams.”

For more information about his film "The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan's Journey" visit their website or watch the movie trailer.

By Kaylie Smith