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Dwelling-Drexel Students First Feature Film

August 3, 2016

In August, a group of recent Drexel graduates, alumni, and current students shot their first feature film, DWELLING, in Bozrah, Connecticut. The film tells the story of Reid (Amy Frances Wright), a recent college graduate staying with her sister for the summer while preparing to start Law school. After years of having her family make decisions for her, Reid meets Dan (David Hobbs), a nomadic artist who challenges her to decide what she wants for herself. Casey Hays (’16) adapted the story by Michaela Murray (’16), allowing them to take advantage of resources in Michaela’s hometown of Bozrah. 

The project began in the fall of 2015, when several members of the senior class decided they wanted to make a feature before dispersing across the country. They met weekly with Film and Video program director Tom Quinn to conceive a feasible project to produce. By November, the team began to take shape, with Producers, Michaela and Charmaine Cavan (who will also be editing); Director, Casey Hays; and Cinematographer, Alexa Carroll. Jacob Wetzel joined as Production Designer, Beth Bender as Art Director and Darby Irrgang became Camera Operator.    

As the class of ‘16 juggled pre-production and their own senior projects, they continued meeting on a weekly basis. They began an extensive casting process while also traveling to Connecticut for additional scouting and camera tests. They rented a home in Connecticut for the month of August and paid for it by subletting their Philadelphia apartments. As graduation approached, they brought on Gaffer, Ian Ross (’15); AD, Melissa Tunstall (TPMM, ’17); Sound Recordist, Louis Tonga (’19); Grip, Max Slusky (’19); and DIT/Assistant Editor, Sean Higgins (’19). Aside from the F35 camera body, all equipment was provided by Drexel’s Department of Cinema and Television. 

Principal photography took place at fifteen locations over twenty-four days in the month of August. After the second week of shooting, Quinn visited the crew to review dailies and talk through their plan. “It was a proud moment for everyone in our department. Over the past twenty years I’ve known students who dreamt of shooting a feature immediately after graduation, but never saw one realized. To watch newly graduated Drexel students working with freshmen and alumni to realize their ambitions – it was incredible.”    

The cast and crew of DWELLING are currently prepping a week of additional photography in November before the start of post-production.  You can follow along at or on Instagram @dwellingfilm.