Summer Film Production
Want to make a feature film? You can do just that through the SMU Summer Film Production!
What It Is
SMU students produce their own feature film on a biannual (every two years) cycle. Check out these behind the scenes vids, shot and cut by SMU students:
It's a chance to work with professional gear on a long-form project and really get a taste of what it's like to do production as a full-time job – instead of just shooting a day or two on a weekend, this is a full-blown, full-time, two-week shoot, often on location.
This is NOT an “interning for faculty” or “watch and learn from the professionals” project – the entire production is planned and crewed by SMUers. In particular, ALL crew heads (director, producers, cinematographer, production designer, editor, sound mixer, AD, gaffer, etc.) are current SMU students or recent alumni.
With shoots in alternate summers (hence "Summer Film Production"), if you’re at SMU for four years you’ll be around for at least two shoots.
Don't wait to wait for the summer to get involved? No problem! Despite what the name might imply, there's ALWAYS a “Summer Film Production” (or SFP) going on in one phase or another. Though the shoots happen over the summer, each SFP involves a year of prep ahead of time and a year of post-production afterwards sandwiching the shoot. So you can always find ways to get involved with the SFP - whether or not you take part in the summer shoot.
For updates, follow @SMUSummerFilm on Twitter; if you have questions or want more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, which has answers to just about everything else you'd want to know about the SFP. And if you still can't find what you're looking for, contact us at SMUSummerFilm@gmail.com and we'll get back to you.
(By the way, YES, accepted students who will be starting at SMU in the fall are welcome to join the SFP as soon as they’ve committed to SMU, including submitting scripts, helping with pre- and post-production, or even crewing on the shoot itself!)
2015-17 Summer Film Production
***Script options have now been selected!***
After review of all submissions, the script selection committee has selected three options as possibilities for the 2015-17 SFP:
"Eli" by Jayson Salomon
"Elsewhere, Texas" by McHenry Taylor
"The Borders of Mercy" by Sean McSweyn
The next step is selection of a directing/producing team; students interested in potentially submitting an application should contact SMUSummerFilm@gmail.com to get the selected scripts to review. Director/producer team applications will be due October 30, 2015; details on applications and the selection process are in the SFP FAQs.
Potential teams are strongly encouraged to talk with the SFP faculty advisor or other Film & Media Arts faculty for advice on their application.
Legacy (original working title Delirium) (2013-15 SFP, premiered May 2015, currently in festival submissions)
(Feature, psychological thriller)
original story: Esther Tshibangu (SMU Film B.A. 2013)
additional writing: Cydney Cox (SMU Film, B.A. 2014) and Daniel Tomlinson (SMU Film B.A. 2014)
director: Rachel Wilson (SMU Film, B.A. 2014)
producers: Geenah Krisht (SMU Film, B.A. 2015) and Cydney Cox (SMU Film, B.A. 2014)
Tagline: "Blood spilt by the family stays in the family."
Principal photography occurred in May/June 2014 (production photos available here), and the project premiered in May 2015.
All the Wrong Friends (2011-13 SFP)
(Feature, dark comedy / suspense)
All the Wrong Friends was an ambitious pilot project for what would become the Summer Film Production, aiming to shoot 120 pages in 12 days as proof that SMU students could shoot a low-budget feature in two weeks. Thirty-one hardy filmmakers and actors headed up north to the Texas/Oklahoma border for a 10-day location shoot (the last two days were shot around Dallas) and managed to wrap it all up half a day early. The pilot program was a success, and though post-production ran long (due in large part to it being put on hold while the Summer Film Production program was launched), it will finally be hitting festivals in 2016.
WATCH: Behind-the-scenes of the 2011-13 Summer Film Production, All the Wrong Friends
(ATWF trailer coming soon!)
The Dread Factory (2010-12 SFP)
(40-minute short, supernatural horror film)
The Dread Factory was made almost on a whim; at the time, SMU happened to own an abandoned bread factory that was about to be demolished, and a group of Meadows students decided to shoot a horror film in the creepy old building before it was torn down. In a quick four-month span, they came up with a story, wrote a script, found a cast and crew, and shot the movie. The process was so much fun that many of those involved (and many who weren't, but heard about it and wished they had been) decided to shoot something again the next summer – and from this dream was born the idea for the SMU Summer Film Production program. Thus though The Dread Factory was shot as a one-off project, we affectionately consider it the inaugural SFP.