It’s a heady experience, screening your senior thesis before an international assemblage halfway around the world, but Filmmaking grad Brendan Anduze, ’18, is up for it.
“Donuts,” Bren’s entry in the Global Universities Students Film Festival (GUSFF), will flicker across the screen in Hong Kong on November 7. Accepted in the Experimental Film category, “Donuts” will join submissions from 56 institutions in more than a dozen countries, competing for 17 awards across a host of genres and categories. Previously limited to students from Chinese universities, the festival will welcome international students for the first time in its 15-year history. Thanks to financial support from the festival for travel and accommodations, Bren will take his team of fellow Woodbury grads: Tino Dimperio, first assistant director, Ryan Johnson, director of photography, and Lake Petersen, art director.
“It’s really humbling to have a film representing my country and my school,” Bren, now a production assistant at Warner Bros., says. “I’m excited to see what kind of stories the other filmmakers have told and what their approach to telling them is.” “Donuts” follows an unnamed suited figure to an isolated, late night donut shop where he’s hosted (and tested) by the equally mysterious owner, Sam.
“This is the first festival to include a live screening of my film, as opposed to just online,” he says. He considered acceptance a long shot since “Donuts” runs in excess of 20 minutes – hefty for the student film circuit.
“My theory is that since a Baptist university sponsors the festival, they may have taken a liking to the religious symbolism used in the film,” Bren says. “That’s funny because most of the visuals are specifically based on Catholicism. And while I like to use religious imagery to evoke certain themes and tones, my movie doesn’t preach any religious ideology. It’s not necessarily blasphemous, either, although scenes of bloody projectile vomiting and a burning church may suggest otherwise. Or maybe that just piqued their curiosity.”
Right now, marketing and distribution aren’t in the cards. “I just want to have fun,” he says. “I’ll continue to submit my film to other festivals while it’s still eligible, and hope this event can help ‘Donuts’ receive some more attention, to keep it moving. As long as someone in the audience has a good time watching it, then I’m satisfied — even if that person is just me.”
Bren recently joined the on-air promotion team for the CW branch of Warner Bros., a position he landed in part through the help of Carina Daniele, another Woodbury alumnus.
That’s his day job, anyway. “I’m currently writing two feature-length scripts and just preparing for whatever comes my way next,” he says.
In the works: partnering with several other alumni on assembling a production company dedicated to short-form content, a necessary step before eventually attempting a feature. Longer-term, his sights are set on becoming a feature writer-director. He says, “I’m working to save money for the right opportunity to make my first one, ideally with the same ambitious and talented people I’ve had the benefit of working with already.”
For now, GUSFF beckons. “We’re excited just to be in Hong Kong for the experience,” Bren says. “We’ll be attending festival events throughout the week but will definitely be exploring the city and eating as much as we can in our free time.”