critical acclaim at festival
short film about
a soda can is creating a buzz
(October 2005) CRESTWOOD, Ky. Sean Wathen is seeing his
dream of filmmaking become a reality. However, the Crestwood native
admitted it does not seem real to him. I still dont feel
like a filmmaker. People respond positively to what I do and always
ask what Ive done. Now I can say Ive been in a festival.
has begun work on his next film, Red.
His short production, Can, debuted at the
Bluegrass Independent Film Festival on Sept. 9-11 at the Oldham County
Can is a 20-minute dark comedy about a soda can that struggles
with the human emotions of love and jealousy. The empty can, brought
to life by a lightning strike, sets out to find the woman who drank
him and is ultimately faced with disappointment and rejection.
The idea was born when Wathen was standing in a mini-mart to make a
purchase. While admiring all the items in the store, he thought it would
be easy to make a film starring an inanimate object. The bigger challenge,
he quickly realized, was making an audience care for that faceless object.
We sent Can into the Bluegrass Festival for fun. It
was really meant to show family and then go on the shelf. I was shocked
it was chosen.
The crew flew in from Florida and California for the occasion. Being
in the Bluegrass Festival was a big deal. We really enjoyed ourselves.
Some people came up to me and said, Oh, youre the
Can guy! I loved your movie! It was a great feeling,
said Wathen, 23. I think it will all sink in when Ive spent
more and really put my whole heart into it.
It was no surprise that Wathen would become a filmmaker. As early as
grade school, Wathen and his friends created elaborate story lines for
their toys that graduated into live action play with full costumes and
sets. Filmmaking began when a friend inherited a video camera.
Ive heard his friends say he is a perfectionist, said
his mother, Ruth Wathen. Everything has to be just perfect. Hell
do it again and again until it is.
Wathens parents, Mike and Ruth Wathen, have encouraged his dreams.
Theyve been very supportive, Wathen said. His mother
laughed as she remembered the time he confided he wanted to be a filmmaker.
Their first response was candid. Can you make any money at that?
Wathen added, Weve always tried to encourage our boys. They
were so enthusiastic about their creativity. Were very proud.
Wathen has studied film at four schools since graduating in 2000 from
St. Xavier in Louisville, Ky. He graduated in June with an associates
degree in filmmaking from Fullsail Real World Education outside Orlando,
Fla. He plans to return this fall for a bachelors degree.
Wathen said he feels fortunate to have formed relationships at Fullsail
with other students who are busy creating and producing. At school,
there is a lot of talk, but no one does it. Im really lucky to
have found the ones that do.
One such friendship has been with friend and co-
director Mark Dennebaum from Pittsburg, Pa. The two have created films
together since they were placed on the same film project in school.
Working together has been a success because they think so much alike.
Whenever I need advice for an ending or whatever, hes there
with a great idea and vice-versa, said Wathen.
Wathen and Dennebaum have participated in 48-hour film festivals in
Florida but said being invited to the Bluegrass Film Festival was much
more important. According to Wathen, there is no pre-judging. A crew
signs up to be involved in those smaller festivals.
Jay Broder, Bluegrass Independent Film Festival director, previewed
Wathens submission months ago when he and several judges selected
it and 69 others to screen. Broder received more than 200 online entries
from all over the world and admitted he did not know Wathen was from
Crestwood until the weekend of the Festival.
It was really interesting to discover he was from around here,
said Broder, who also serves as the president of the Oldham County Arts
Association, which planned the film festival.
Broder said Wathen and his crew exhibited much talent. His creativeness
and the quality of his work came across to the audience. Very, very
He added, Sean is a budding filmmaker, and Im sure there
are big things to come in his life.
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