OLu's Rising Stars: Triumph at the Old Towne Film Festival

Some of Orange Lutheran’s own are making their mark in the film industry as current seniors Jamison Early and Austin DeSousa, along with Lancer alumnus Logan Kishi ’23, were honored earlier this fall as winners at the inaugural Old Towne Film Festival in the Best Horror Film category for their work in See Me More.


Kishi, who wrote the film, as well as acted and directed, was also selected as the festival’s Best Director. DeSousa was the film’s director of photography, and Early was the key makeup artist on the project. The storyline of See Me More is focused on a teen as he grapples with a series of emotions after experiencing a tragic event.


The film was developed through the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP), where teams in more than 100 cities around the world gather to write, shoot and edit an entire short film in the span of just two days. The team of Lancers had worked together before on other short films through 48HFP, and with all three looking to pursue careers in the film industry, they decided to continue their collaboration.


“We knew we worked well together,” said Kishi. “We all knew we wanted to go to film school and needed to build up our resumes. It’s a really fun experience that we all enjoyed doing.”


Kishi is no stranger to the industry. With a love for storytelling before he could write, the Lancer alum has been working in Hollywood for a number of years doing television commercials and voiceover work. Now in his freshman year at Biola University’s Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts, he is looking to turn that passion for storytelling into a reality.


“I've always had that love for stories through film and through the media,” said Kishi. “It's really exciting that every time we make something, every step that we take together, it's pushing us more towards that dream of making films for people to be inspired by.”


While at OLu, Kishi was involved in the school’s theatre arts programs, performing in nearly every production offered during his four years on campus. He also participated in the OLu Missions program where he met DeSousa while the two attended the Appalachia service trip. They formed a friendship and bonded over their love for film.


DeSousa’s journey behind the camera began his freshman year at OLu while in a video production class. He added photography classes to his resume, and after meeting Kishi, joined him to work on a film project. 


“That's where it all started,” said DeSousa. “I [wanted] to go into film because of all that experience from the OLu classes…The Mission program, as well, had me create videos for a lot of the trips. So that's what brought up my skills.”


Kishi also knew Early, who had discovered a love for makeup and was asked by OLu Director of Dramatic Arts, Chelsey Everhart, to join the theatre tech crew and provide makeup for the school’s 2021 production of The Addams Family. She now serves as OLu’s student head of makeup tech and has been involved in several shows, including the school’s recent production of Mary Poppins.


“My sophomore year, I joined OLu’s theater tech crew for wardrobe and costuming…and that really pushed me forward in my enjoyment of helping behind the scenes,” said Early. “I realized maybe this is what I actually like to do and want to continue on with as I grow up.”2-2

Once they completed See Me More through 48HFP, they submitted the film to a number of film festivals, including the Old Town Film Festival, where they competed against more than 30 films. And their success was a bit unexpected.


“I was surprised,” said Early. “There were so many good films there. I just thought it was really cool that we could get recognized as teenagers surrounded by a bunch of adults.”


“I've seen the quality has gone up every single film we’ve done,” added DeSousa. “So it's like you can see the improvement on everyone’s part, which is really cool.”


See Me More has also been entered into the Frights and Fears Horror Film Festival and the Southern Gothic Film Festival. The three have meshed so well when it comes to developing film projects, they are pursuing additional opportunities through 48HFP, a structure that has pushed and challenged them as they develop their craft.

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“I love the 48 concept because it forces you to almost live with your mistakes,” said DeSousa. “And instead of trying to perfect this one film forever, you can kind of move on and improve it on your next film.”


“It's just one of those things where it's a good learning experience, but also I feel like it was successful,” added Early, who used the 48-hour format as an opportunity to try new products and develop new methods. “I love to keep doing it…because it's just really fun.”


DeSousa recently received acceptance to Biola University where he will join Kishi at the school’s Snyder School of Cinema & Media Arts. Early is hopeful for acceptance to Chapman University’s prestigious Dodge College of Film & Media Arts.


No matter where their film journeys take them, the three Lancers are grateful to have crossed paths through the various program offerings and opportunities while at OLu and will no doubt continue their friendship as they pursue their dreams.


“I think the community that it builds is really overlooked,” said Kishi. “In film, you’re under pressure, and you kind of build this sort of bond through that…I’m really thankful for that.”

Topics from this blog: Alumni Stories