A short coming-of-age film made by two Bowdoin seniors has recently won best picture at the 2012 National Undergraduate Film Festival of Columbia University. The movie, Dear Hunters, has also been accepted into the upcoming Seattle International Film Festival, and if it does well there, could be an Oscar contender.
Eric Binswanger ’12 and David Shuck ’12, along with Brown University student Zack Bornstein, made the movie last year while they were studying abroad in a film school in Prague.
The movie is performed entirely by Czech actors, only one of whom spoke English. “David had to learn Czech,” Binswanger says. Shuck clarifies: “We know how to say, “˜Action!’ and, “˜One more take please.'”
The 10-minute film is about an eight-year-old boy who yearns to go hunting with his parents. When he’s at last brought along, he falls asleep in the car and wakes up to discover his mother and father missing. When he goes out looking for them, he discovers some unsettling truths about his parents.
“It’s disturbing,” Shuck says. “It’s a dark comedy,” Binswanger adds.
Dear Hunters will be shown May 27 in Seattle, and Shuck says he’s planning to fly out to the festival after commencement, on May 26, to attend the screening and award ceremony.
Both Shuck and Binswanger are history majors and film studies minors, and have been making movies since high school. They’ve been making movies together since meeting their first year at Bowdoin. (Binswanger is from Philadelphia and Shuck grew up in Littleton, Colo.)
Binswanger credits his liberal arts education and history studies with giving him “a breadth of knowledge to make a more compelling story,” pointing out that Dear Hunters is doing better than many movies made by students in film schools.
After graduating from Bowdoin, the two plan to move to Los Angeles to break into the movie business. “We want to make a career of it,” Bingswanger says, who explains that he’s drawn to filmmaking because it incorporates all the arts – visual, musical and even sculptural, through the editing process – allowing a filmmaker to be expansively creative.
Shuck says, “[Making movies is] a way you can communicate a complete thought to someone else. You’re creating your own reality.”