Ball State alumni and Versa Media co-founders Kenneth Stevenson and Andrew Bennett plan to push the boundaries of science fiction storytelling as they debut their episodic television series, “Cerebral,” on the international stage this summer. 

“Cerebral” is reminiscent of old-school science fiction classics, such as Twilight Zone and the X-Files, with its supernatural atmosphere and awareness of societal issues. 

However, “Cerebral” differentiates itself with episodes that focus on the human psyche and mental illness. 

“Mental illness and mentality in general is a spectrum we feel is going to continuously be expanded upon as far as our understanding,” Stevenson said. “We have always found that topic interesting, so it’s been a fine line between trying to figure out how not to exploit it, but to be respectful of it and show it in an honest way.”

“Cerebral’s” origins began right at Ball State where Stevenson and Bennett met and became friends.  

“I was a freshman at Ball State, and I remember there was a professor that taught TCOM 101, and I remember the professor starting the class by saying, ‘Everybody look to the right, and everybody look to your left,’” Bennett said. “‘The person sitting on your left and your right could quite possibly be your biggest collaborator.’” 

Stevenson and Bennett’s passion for film at the time drove the future collaborators together into clubs such as Cardinal Filmworks and Frog Baby Film Festival. 

The two filmmakers eventually began their own unsanctioned club on campus to work on films outside of the organizations they were involved in. 

The idea for “Cerebral” grew out of a film they shot together in Muncie, and the club eventually became the production company Versa Media when Stevenson and Bennett graduated from Ball State. 

Most of the media company is still comprised of Ball State alumni, and “Cerebral” is now ready for a larger audience. 

The pilot episode of the show, “Skookum,” was one of only 13 drama pilots to be selected as a finalist, and premier in June at the SeriesFest film festival in Denver, Colorado.

Now, Stevenson and Bennett are looking for a distributor who has a like-minded vision for the future direction of the show. 

Overall, Stevenson and Bennett are “grateful for the opportunities” Ball State gave them because it prepared them to go after their dreams.

“Going to Ball State was such an important decision and so many factors led to where we are today,” Stevenson said. “We’re grateful for that and hopefully we can give back and make this school proud through our actions.”

Contact Adam Pannel with comments at arpannel@bsu.edu.