Recent graduates Makenzie Kent, Ian Kunsey and Hannah Sobieski had their film selected for three film festivals this fall.
“Alone,” a short film written, directed and produced by 2019 Elon graduates Makenzie Kent, Ian Kunsey and Hannah Sobieski, has garnered several accolades during the fall film festival season.
In addition to being selected for three film festivals, “Alone” – a film about a young man who travels to an isolated cabin following a failed relationship – won Best Student Short Film at the Charlotte Film Festival in September.
The 10-minute film was produced as part of a class assignment for Assistant Professor Youssef Osman’s Producing for the Screen course. According to the film’s creators, the trio had worked together on two previous projects in the course and knew they wanted to collaborate again.
Sobieski served as director, with Kent and Kunsey taking on the roles of production designer and director of photography, respectively. All three produced and wrote the film.
“The film is about a man named Jessie who goes to his aunt’s isolated cabin in the woods to escape a recent breakup,” Kunsey said. “But things go awry when he hears a mysterious knock at the door.”
The idea was inspired by both the horror and romantic comedy genres. In the end, the trio settled on the chosen plot because they had the perfect filming location – a cabin outside Asheville owned by Kent’s grandmother.
“A common issue with student films can be finding a great location,” Kent said. “Finding places that look really great can either take a lot of creativity or a lot of money. So, I knew I had to take advantage of the location I had at my grandma’s cabin before I graduated.”
The group filmed the entirety of the project in one weekend, from about 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. each night. The location, though perfect for the story, inherently led to a multitude of challenges.
“Because we were so far from Elon, we needed to prep perfectly,” Kent said. “We had to think of everything beforehand and absolutely could not forget a single prop or piece of equipment and production had to go perfectly because we couldn’t go back for reshoots.”
Regardless of the obstacles, the group had strong chemistry which allowed for their creativity and talent to flourish.
“The environment we all created together was very relaxed and open to ideas and communication,” Sobieski said. “The one thing needed on set, in my experience from school, is the ability to talk through your thoughts and problems to create a solution for the team as a whole, and I think that’s something we did really well.”
All three individuals cite this project as being one of their favorite experiences at Elon.
“Making this film was one my favorite experiences as a student in the School of Communications,” Kunsey said. “I felt as though it was a culmination of everything I learned in my classes, my experience as vice president of Cinelon, and my involvement in productions outside of class.”
Since graduating, all three are continuing their work in film, television and video production. Kent is in Los Angeles working as a production assistant, most recently as a set production assistant for a HBO show. Kunsey is in Alexandria, Virginia, working for D.C. United as a digital video producer. Sobieski is in New York City working as a production assistant on a TBS television series.
They are proud of the result of their hard work and look forward to seeing what the future holds.
“I’m so lucky to have these incredible filmmakers and people on my team,” Sobieski said. “They constantly remind me that in this cutthroat industry, with high risk comes high reward. It will be worth it in the end.”
In addition to the Charlotte Film Festival, “Alone” was screened this fall at the Indigo Moon Film Festival in Fayetteville and the Carolina Film Festival in Rock Hill, South Carolina.