SUU Professor eats worms, falls in cold water for film class

Published: March 22, 2016 | Author: Jon Smith | Read Time: 2 minutes

students receive intense on-location film production experienceSUU video production students won second place, a unique sandstone trophy and a prize of $750 in the Little Hollywood Shootout film festival in Kanab, Utah on March 16 to 18, 2016. They produced a film showing their professor eating live worms, live larvae and biting into a raw fish for a short class film. Most important, the students received intense on-location film production experience.

Jon Smith, SUU Communication Professor, performed the segments as part of a short film he wrote for the COMM 4760 Advanced Production class. The film, “Homespun,” was produced for the Little Hollywood Shootout, a quick turn-around film festival located in Kanab that requires filmmakers to shoot at locations in Kane County and edit a complete five-minute movie in 48 hours. A longer version will be edited for other screenings and contests.

“Homespun,” set in 1900, features James (Jon Smith) as a man trapped in the winter mountains after losing his horse and breaking his leg. Unlike similar lone wilderness survivor movies based on revenge like Jeremiah Johnson or the more recent, Revenant, the survival motivation for Homespun is based on love of home and family. The main character ingeniously uses his wife’s scarf in many different ways to build or repair what he needs to survive. He fashions a crutch, splints his broken leg, melts snow for drinking water, builds a trap, catches a flint and steel spark and bandages his injuries. The scarf is a metaphor for his family’s love as it sustains him.

Shot on location during the day and night on Cedar Mountain near Navajo Lake and Duck Creek and in Dry Canyon north of Kanab, the nine students and professor ate, slept and worked in a rented RV during the event.

A second film, “Homespun – the Making of”, produced by Mariah Larsen and Salome tells the behind the scenes story of making the film. It won fourth place and $250 out the total seven competitors.

Photo: Professor of Communication Jon Smith acts in scenes for "Homespun" as his COMM 4760 films the project. Photo courtesy of Damon Day.

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