Small town, big dreams: Barking Vans Production Company makes movie magic in Grundy Center

Wesley Smith

(Editor’s note: Wesley Smith, a junior at Grundy Center High School, joined two other area students at the Grundy Register for a job shadow in October, and he was offered the chance to submit a story of his choice for publication. This is the result.)
Thirteen-year-olds Mike Barkhoff and Jarrod Van Hauen hatched the idea of Barking Vans when they were assigned to make a short film for one of their classes in middle school at Grundy Center, but they went above and beyond and made a complete full film.  Two years later, they started taking it seriously.
Jarrod and Mike had a Digital Media Class in high school, where they made “Bond v. Batman” in 2015.  Shortly after, they made a 2017 trailer for English 11 about a novel, Into The Wild. Then they made “Candlelight,” a horror film for the short film competition at Horror Fest. Then, in 2018, they broke through with their big hits: “$pree,” “TBD,” “Roadtrip,” and “INFINITE.”
When asked what the biggest project they had made in Grundy Center was, they all agreed it was “INFINITE.” When all of the members were asked individually what the hardest part was for them, however, their answers varied greatly.
“The hardest part for would be trying to find the right angle for everything,“ said Ashtun O’Rourke, who joined the group as a camerawoman, actor and producer.
“It has to be waiting on an artist for music,” said Barkhoff, an actor, director, screenwriter, editor and part owner along with Van Hauen.
Once the film itself is completed, actually reaching an audience is no walk in the park, either. 
Read the full story in this week's Grundy Register. Subscribe by calling (319) 824-6958 or clicking here. 

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