How a Coralville couple is pursuing dream to become feature filmmakers

In Keokuk early one June morning in 2017, college student Brittany Benedict showed up at Dollar Tree for her first day of work at her summer job.

She was greeted by Michael Huntington, one of the employees she would supervise. They had seen each other around town but never officially met.

They chatted away while stocking shelves with candy and laundry detergent — then made something of a monumental discovery.

Both dreamed of a career making movies.

Benedict and Huntington soon became a couple. Three months later, they bought a camcorder and produced a short documentary about a paranormal club in Keokuk. They laugh now to recall the amateur nature of their first film.

“It was just not great,” Huntington said. “I knew literally nothing about a camera. The white balance was off, it was grainy, the lighting was awful, and the audio was atrocious.”

A Cintree Films crew prepares to shoot a scene for their short film titled “Shut the Box” staged in a house in Newhall, Iowa. ISU theatre major Caitlin Allen has the principal role and stands before the desk, while Michael Huntington adjusts a camera and Brittany Benedict directs the action.

But they kept at it and pursued other film-making projects, including serving as videographers for family weddings. They worked hard, learned by experience and experimentation, and honed their skills.

Flash forward five years and you find the couple living in Coralville and working full time on two separate videography ventures from a small office at the North Liberty CoLab, a co-working space.

Their wedding videography business is named One22 Studios and has grown to the point where they now film about 30 weddings each year. Their office is packed with equipment — four cameras, nine specialty lenses, two computers, microphones, green screens, assorted cables, and other professional filming paraphernalia.

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