When the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival opens this month, a Pittsburgh independent film will be among the cinematic entries.
The short film “Dot” was selected from an international field of short films. It will be shown May 14-24 at an international showcase known as the Short Film Corner, says Scott Sullivan, Pittsburgh filmmaker and producer.
“Dot” is a 30-minute, dark comedy about a 16-year-old girl with a severe case of obsessive compulsive disorder, so severe that it turns her into a serial killer.
Point Park University film students Garrett Kennel and David Light directed the film. Sullivan produced the film along with Meg Kuntz, also of PPU.
“Dot” was shot entirely in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities from the South Hills to the North Hills, Carnegie Science Center and a local diner in Emsworth.
So how did the aspiring filmmakers find their way to Cannes? A well-timed connection was instrumental in providing up the opportunity, says Sullivan.
Garrett Kennel landed a prestigious internship last year with the American Pavilion, an American organization affiliated with Cannes. The internship offered Kennel the opportunity to screen one of his films there.
“It was crazy that he got the internship. That changed everything for us,” said Sullivan. “We still had a lot of shooting and post production work to do.”
Working feverishly to make the deadline, the crew shifted into high gear and worked long hours.
“I cannot begin to thank those who worked tirelessly to make it happen,” Sullivan says. “Everyone worked inhumanely hard.”
While Kennel will be the only member of the film crew attending Cannes, the team is optimistic the festival will “open doors that lead to other doors,” says Sullivan.
The best part about Cannes is it proves that Pittsburgh is a place where independent projects like this can happen, he adds.
“This is not our one way ticket to Los Angeles,” says Sullivan. “We take ourselves seriously as a film town and have so many talented people here. We want to see a (thriving) independent film industry in Pittsburgh.”
Screenings of “Dot” will be announced later this year since Cannes rules prohibit showing the film for now.
The film was independently produced through financing, crowd funding and an award from The Sprout Fund.