Summer Film Production
Want to make a feature film or TV series pilot? You can do just that through the SMU Summer Film Production!
What It Is
SMU students produce their own feature film or TV pilot 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!)
Elsewhere, Texas (2015-17 SFP, currently in post-production for a May 2017 premiere)
(Feature, post-apocalyptic Western)
writer/director: McHenry Taylor (SMU Film, B.A. expected Dec. 2016)
producers: Trevor Thrall (SMU Film, B.A. 2016) and Natalie Khraish (SMU Film, B.A. expected 2018)
Principal photography on Elsewhere, TX took place in June 2016, and the movie is now in post-production. If you're interested in getting involved, contact the producers at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow the film on Twitter (@ElsewhereTXFilm) for updates.
Check out the first trailer for Elsewhere, TX here:
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 (SFP pilot program, shot 2011, currently playing in festivals)
(Feature, thriller / 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 premiered to the cast and crew in spring 2016.
The film made its festival debut in July 2016 at the Indy Film Fest and has screened at a number of festivals since then, including winning Best in Category Thriller at the Hot Springs International Horror Film Festival and being nominated for Best Thriller and Best Actress at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival.
For the latest on screenings and news, visit the film's website here.
ALSO WATCH: Behind-the-scenes of All the Wrong Friends
The Dread Factory (2010-11 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.