Castle AcademyA scene from "Castle Academy," a television pilot by Whitman students Kim Wetter '08 and Ben Kegan '09. The pilot was chosen for the third annual Independent Television Festival in Los Angeles.

A television pilot written, directed and produced by Whitman students Kim Wetter ’08 and Ben Kegan ’09 is part of the third annual Independent Television Festival, which runs through Thursday in Los Angeles.

“Castle Academy,” a year-long independent project supervised by Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Film Studies Robert Sickels, premiered Sunday and Monday at the festival. It was selected earlier this summer by a festival screening committee.

The 21-minute “dramedy,” as Kegan calls it, combines elements of TV serials and drama, and uses the Whitman campus for its academy setting.

“Kim and Ben’s acceptance to one of only two independent television festivals in the country is the fruition of a yearlong process that involved countless hours of work for them,” Sickels said. “That two students on a campus the size of Whitman’s were able to do this project is a testament to their immense talent and, in all likelihood, to their future success in the industry.”

Wetter and Kegan had produced documentaries for Sickels’ “Advanced Film” course and were keen for a bigger challenge. Sickels suggested the TV pilot and supervised the project from its inception.

“The television project is really perfect for us,” Wetter said. “It’s what Ben and I want to do with the rest of our lives.”

Kegan added that the working process which produced the pilot is “characteristic of students’ relationships with professors at Whitman.”

“Castle Academy” is a tale of life and times and tensions at an East Coast boarding school where social classes collide. “The story looks at the way in which everyone — students, faculty, parents — has a secret and faces pressure,” said Wetter

“It’s Charlotte Bronte meets ‘Dawson’s Creek,’” Kegan said. “It’s something that’s pleasurable but that you’re proud to watch.”

The ITV Festival, which runs daily at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theater in Los Angeles, features original, independently produced TV pilots and Web series that have not aired or posted. The festival is supported by Comcast, FX, Brightcove, Current TV and others.

To view a trailer of Wetter and Kegan’s work, visit

Keith Raether
Office of Communications
Whitman College