Sunday, October 3, 2021

A Superhero Loses His Powers

This is when you know the premise of your short film has strong potential.

Saint Bernard, screening this weekend at Cheyenne's Midnight Fest West event, was made for $6,000 by locally based writer-director Anthony Syracuse. At one point in the creative process, he was traveling in Ohio and working regularly on the script at a hotel.

As he tells the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, some construction workers within range of the outdoor area where he would fine-tune Saint Bernard on his laptop couldn't help but notice him and finally struck up a conversation, asking what he was working on:

"They got so interested that that night I had eight construction workers that I had never met before all doing a read-through of my script," Syracuse said. "All around this electric fire outside of the hotel, we were reading while I was directing them and taking notes... then they all bought plane tickets to come and see the movie."


Saint Bernard tells the story of an unassuming superhero, Jeremy - a.k.a. Letter man (Just Woolsey) - who loses his powers and is forced, as a result, to go into therapy. It opens with him in session and intermingles the story with various flashbacks. The 26-minute comedy-drama can be seen here.

Cinematographer Matthew Stacey first met Syracuse in 2016 at the Cheyenne Youth Film Festival, where he had a movie in competition. So the local trajectory of this project courses deeply through the veins of the local arts scene in this Wyoming city. Last year, Syracuse recruited Stacey to help him make a Netflix special, but unfortunately, that program did not come to fruition.

Adding to the quirky local flavor of Saint Bernard is the fact that another character is played by Dominic Rufran, a one-time wide receiver at the University of Wyoming who now trains other athletes at that position for training academy Jenkins Elite. Syracuse is currently pursuing a degree in English at that same university. Last but not least, Syracuse listened often of the Lincoln Lutz song "Saint Bernard" while working on his short film script. It was obviously a key element in the whole process and makes an appearance as well in the final product.

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