Photo courtesy of Deep Blue Films, Cocolalla Pictures, and Excel entertainment
UVU alum, Isaac Halasima, has written and directed a movie titled “The Last Descent.” The feature film tells the story of cave explorer John Jones and his tragic rescue attempt from Utah’s Nutty Putty Cave in 2009.
Halasima was born in Provo and attended Utah Valley University. Halasima’s film career began when he was 13 years old when he acted in a film called “Buttercream Gang 2.” By the age of 16, he was working for KSL 5’s newsroom, and by18 he was hired by the KSL team as a full-time editor.
“It has just always been a huge passion of mine,” said Halasima at a private screening of his new movie. “I watch no less than 15 movies every single week. My favorite is ‘Big Trouble in Little China.’”
During his time at UVU as a visual arts major, Halasima studied the art of story telling and established a base of knowledge for film production.
“What drew me to UVU was how the school was embracing evolving technology in TV and film,” said Halasima. “I wanted to be surrounded by instructors and fellow students that would look beyond ‘the way it’s done,’ because a new way of doing things was happening every day.”
The tragic story of John Jones and his failed rescue in the Nutty Putty Caves really struck a chord with Halasima and those around him.
“It was a story that my family and I talked about a lot. I just knew it was a story that needed to be told,” said Halasima.
Halasima assembled a cast of talented actors and crew from across the nation. While filming, the crew traveled all over the state of Utah to bring genuine landscapes and shots for the film.
“This may well be the most important story I tell for the rest of my life,” said Chadwick Hopson, the lead actor playing the role of John Jones. “I will never stop being grateful to Isaac and John’s family, the rest of the cast and crew and, most importantly, John himself for the opportunity.”
In an interview, Halasima expressed his appreciation for being able to work with the cast and especially for the Jones family’s willingness to help him produce an accurate and realistic account of the events.
In a joint statement released to the press, the Jones family said, “The heroic acts of the men and women who worked tirelessly to free [John] will never be forgotten. We hope that those who view the movie are inspired to live and love selflessly and are comforted knowing that hope can be found in the wake of tragedy.”
“The Last Descent” is slated to play throughout Utah and Arizona in select theaters starting Sept. 16.