Film festival gives students a chance to participate and watch

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    For the past four years, the Lone Star Film Festival has celebrated the talent and achievements of new filmmakers. This year, TCU students will be included in that celebration.

    The 5th Annual Lonestar Film Festival will take place in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, and will feature both new and classic films. One of the new films that will be screened this year, “Searching for Sonny”, has its roots in both the Fort Worth and TCU communities, said Paige Perry, a senior photography major. The film was set and filmed in locations around Fort Worth, and many students and alumni worked on the film.

    “There’s so much love for Fort Worth in this film,” Perry said.

    “Searching for Sonny” tells the story of a group of old friends who find themselves at the center of a murder mystery. Strangely, the circumstances of the murder are very similar to a play the group worked on in high school. The film was the official selection of the 2011 Austin Film Festival, where it premiered on October 22nd. The film’s production company, Red Productions, is owned and operated by two former TCU alums, Greg Beauchamp and Red Sanders, said Perry. The film’s director, Andrew Disney, is not a TCU alumnus, but grew up in Fort Worth. Many of the locations seen in the film were places where Disney spent time in the past, including Trinity Valley School, where he went to high school.

    Perry worked on “Searching for Sonny” in the film’s art department, and also assisted with the post-production process. She said she was involved with the film throughout the two months it took to make, and gained valuable work experience.

    “We worked with a lot of professionals, and we made good connections.” Perry said.

    Paul Heyduck, a senior film, television and digital media major, also worked on the film. He was a stand-in for lead actor Jason Dohring and also worked within the camera department. He said it was the first real movie he’d ever participated in, and learned from the gruelling 12-hour work days.

    “I learned a lot on the set, and film is something you can really only learn by doing,” Heyduck said.

    Richard Allen, a professor of film, television and digital media said that “Searching for Sonny” was a great opportunity for his students to learn the skills needed to succeed in the film business. He also praised the producers and directors of the film for making such an experience possible.

    “They’re TCU grads interested in hiring current TCU students. They’re remembering their roots and TCU,” he said.

    Allen said he thought students should attend the festival for several reasons. Students could see the hard work their peers put into “Searching for Sonny”, as well as a number of other films. Because the festival is being held in Fort Worth, students could see new independent films before they are distributed to theaters in Dallas. In addition, Allen said you never know who you might meet at a film festival.

    “I was once at a screening of a Martin Sheen film, and I looked over to see Martin Sheen sitting only a few seats away from me. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at a film festival.” he said.

    What: 5th Annual Lone Star Film Festival
    When: Nov. 9-13
    Where: Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth
    www.lonestarfilmsociety.com, www.searchingforsonny.com
    Box Office: 817-882-8129