Coming Soon to a Festival Near You: SUU Students Win Film Festival in Southern Utah

A student group from Southern Utah University won first place in the Little Hollywood Shootout on Friday, a film festival based in Kanab, Utah. Their film will screen at SUU’s Festival of Excellence on Wednesday, March 31.

The Little Hollywood Shootout is an annual event that gives filmmakers the chance to create a five-minute movie in 48 hours in the town of Kanab with its red rock landscape.

SUU’s team, students in an advanced production class headed by Professor Jon Smith, filmed  their movie in Kanab on March 24 and edited through the night on Thursday to have their film submitted by the next day.

The short film is a suspense thriller, titled “Camera Obscura.” It was inspired by Terry’s Camera Exchange, a camera store in Kanab owned by Linda Alderman who played the main character in the story.

“I’ve always had this idea turning around in my head of what film I could produce or write that would capture somebody’s soul,” Smith said. “And then I was here in Kanab shooting another documentary and I came across this wonderful set with antique cameras. And then I met Linda… and everything fell into place to tell the story of an antique camera that captures someone’s soul.”

Smith wrote and produced the film, but it was entirely directed, filmed and edited by students in his class.

“It’s a real intense experience,” he added. “It gives students the opportunity to be on location and really do hands-on filmmaking.”

There were plenty of technical difficulties in both the filming and editing processes, but most members of the class expressed pride in having created something beyond what most had independently experienced.

“I would say it was a learning experience,” Rhys Kaiser, the audio supervisor, said laughing.  “Though some of the learning could have been avoided, had some remembering actually happened.”

Those wishing to see the film can attend the Festival of Excellence at SUU for a screening of both the film and behind the scenes footage, as well as a discussion of the film’s making.

More information on the Festival of Excellence can be found here.


Story by McKayla Olsen
Photos provided by SUU Communications Department