Simpson University Student’s Film Selected for Local Film Festival
For Immediate Release
A short film by Simpson University nursing student Sean Smith made the cut as an official selection for this year’s Firereel Film Festival at the Cascade Theatre in Redding.
“Doors,” a 13-minute, 7-second film about a young woman running from an unseen adversary, was one of 31 films selected from 169 submissions for the May festival, organizers said.
Smith, 33, of Redding originally wrote and directed “Doors”—his first cinematic effort—for Simpson University’s annual Exposure film festival in November 2014.
“My wife knows I’ve always wanted to shoot a film, and when she saw an announcement about Exposure, she encouraged me to give it a shot,” he said. “We only had four weeks to do it. We came up with the story in an afternoon, gathered friends to help with lighting and sound, and called a former high school classmate about being our actress.”
“Doors” has the feel of a horror film, which took exposure of another kind for Smith. “Since I’m not a horror film fan, and really didn’t know how to film in a way that would cause the viewer to become anxious, I binged on horror films for three to four days,” he said. “Needless to say, my wife and I haven’t watched a horror film since.”
There was no time to put together a script and storyboard—typical steps in the filmmaking process—and filming took place over a weekend, followed by seven days of editing.
“I now have a deep respect for people who edit videos for a living,” Smith said. “The process is not easy.”
“Doors” won awards for Best Drama, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, and Crowd Favorite at the Exposure festival, and Smith was encouraged to submit it to the 4-year-old Firereel Film Festival, which draws up to 1,200 attendees.
“It was very exciting to learn our film was one of the official selections,” Smith said. The film, which showed on the big screen May 1, received positive comments from judges about its quality and narrative strength.
“One was from a seasoned veteran in the Los Angeles film industry,” Smith said. “His comments were worth more than any award we could have received.” “Doors” follows a woman who locks herself inside her house to escape whatever is after her. She feels safe until she realizes she left a basement window open, and the unseen enemy is now in the house. The film is an analogy of addiction, highlighting both the internal and external struggles of those who are afflicted.
The plot is personal for Smith. “I have a lot of friends and even a few family members who are struggling with addiction of some sort,” he said. “I have seen how addiction first destroys friendships, then family, and eventually the individual.”
Smith and his wife, Molly, are both second-semester nursing students at Simpson University. They hope to shoot another film this summer.
“Doors” can be viewed online at youtube.com/watch?v=VdJ-ZWhycvM.
“Maybe someone will stumble upon it, and it will help them understand the struggles of their family members or friends,” Smith said.
Photo by Tracey Hedge of Firefly Mobile Studios / Sean Smith and his wife, Molly, grace the “red carpet” at the Firereel Film Festival on May 1, 2015, at the Cascade Theatre in Redding.
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: SU Public Relations