Preview: Short Film Club Fall 2017 Premiere

The University of North Texas Short Film Club will be premiering four short films including; One More Night, Pumpkin Police, Tipless, and I Stand Alone on Saturday in the Lyceum Theatre. These films were selected to be official SFC productions after the organization listened to 37 pitches in one day in early September. The Dentonite caught up with filmmakers from two of the featured productions.

Inside Look: I Stand Alone

I Stand Alone is about a character named April who is freshly starting out as a comedian against the wishes of her family. April wants to pursue her dreams in stand-up comedy, but her family wants wants her to become an accountant.  It's a personal struggle against the external force of what her family wants against her own desires.

“This short film was inspired by my personal experience when I first started doing Stand Up Comedy,” Tony Casillas, writer of I Stand Alone said. “I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of an artist first getting started because we see a lot of movies about comedy and its after they have had some success. I wanted to show audiences what it’s like when you are a new comic in the scene.”

Casillas said the best part of working on this film for him has been seeing Denton's comedy and Film community coming together.

“This film brought together the best aspects of Denton, at least, in my opinion,” Severson, also an emerging comedian, said. “The UNT Short Film Club, the local comedy scene, and the amazing businesses who were not only kind enough to let us shoot at their establishments but were 100% onboard with what we were making.” Those establishments include Killer's Tacos, Andy's Bar, and Denton County Brewing Company.

Working with the people is the most rewarding part according to Kenneth Severson, director of I Stand Alone. Severson said that viewers can look forward to seeing truly stunning cinematography and a kick-ass soundtrack by Sam Decker(vocalist/guitarist of Nakamara and DOMA) with music from Pearl Jam and The Single Issues. 

“Overall, I wanted this film to be a love letter to Denton, Texas or whatever small liberal arts town you were at in college. Whatever that magical place is where you discover who you truly are,” Severson said. “That's ostensibly what the film is about for me because, honestly, that's what Denton is for me. This is where I met the people who inspire me. Where I whole-heartedly dedicated myself to film and stand-up. And, most of all, where I finally found myself.”

Severson said that he has enjoyed hammering out this piece of work with Casillas sometimes until 3 a.m. with blood-shot eyes, while Casillas believes working with Severson as his writing partner for this has made the process easier.
“We had a great time writing this script together. I think together we took my idea and we made it the best that it could be,” Casillas said.

Viewers can look forward to I Stand Alone with the cinematography work of Sunny T. Perera and the leading lady Carson Cobb. 

Inside Look: Pumpkin Police

Pumpkin Police is a comedy mockumentary about two police officers that just hate pumpkins. They are pumpkin-hating police officers who develop a mission to eradicate pumpkins. Not some pumpkins---all pumpkins…that have been left out after Halloween. It isn’t just a hate anymore, now it is also a mission to destroy the humble left over Halloween pumpkin population. 

Writer Connor Copeland said viewers should come in expecting absurdity and characters doing ridiculous things.

“To watch the story come to life was incredibly surreal, I still can’t quite believe that it happened,” Copeland said. “This short film would not have been as good were it not for Haley Harmon’s vision for the story, and many other people’s advice that I was given throughout the process of writing the final script.” 

Haley Harmon, the director for Pumpkin Police, said viewers can look forward to the humor of lead actors Joey Johnson and Mike Benavides (Mikey B) who are also working comedians. She further described the film as something lighthearted that the audience can just have fun watching.

“I loved working with my cast and crew every day,” Harmon said. “They were all great. Every single one of them brought an energy to set that allowed us to make something funny and we were all very productive because of that.”

Harmon said they even added things that were not originally planned as the characters developed through some improv that occurred while filming.

“There’s a scene that was added that’s just B-roll of Mikey B running around in a backyard with the GoPro taped to his chest,” Harmon said, “ It wasn’t planned but it turned out really funny and I’m excited for people to see it.”

Looking into the experiences of Pumpkin Police both writer Copeland and director Harmon enjoyed the collaborative work of the people who made this whole piece come together. 

“Directing an official for the first time is an honor in itself considering I was picked from an entire club of talented filmmakers,” Harmon said. “But the most rewarding part for me was working with my actors and my cinematographer.”

Tipless and One More Night

In One More Night, Eliza battles with anxiety as she navigates feelings of nostalgia and her relationship with Charlie.

In Tipless, a pizza delivery man becomes unhinged after failing to receive a tip for his hard work.

The Official Premiere

The official premiere for the UNT Short Film Club screening will be Saturday, December 2 in the Lyceum Theatre from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with four screenings followed by a question and answer session to follow. For more info, follow the SFC Facebook event.

Cast and crew will be attending and take part in a Q&A session for each film. There will be special behind-the-scenes footage for each production. Here is a list of the films. 

One More Night
written by Mary Chavez
directed by Peyton Fowler
Link to trailer

written by Truman Kohler-Katz
directed by Ciara Boniface
Link to trailer

Pumpkin Police
Written by Connor Copeland
Directed by Haley Harmon
Link to trailer

I Stand Alone
Written by Tony Casillas
Directed by Kenneth Severson
Link to trailer

Header image photographed by R. Chandler Stroede - courtesy of I Stand Alone
Header image layout designed by Mateo Granados