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  • Writer's pictureAugust Sorenson

Alums in Indie Film


Photo Credits: Ash McNair – IMDb, James Kautz – IMDb, Morgan Ruaidhrí O’Sullivan – IMDb, Louis Mustillo – IMDb, Lindsay Mushett – lindsaymushett.com, Sally Kirkland – Golden Globes, Sophie Max – IMDb

Ash McNair:

Alum Ash McNair recently brought two short films to the fore: Class and The Book of Light. Both produced by Hank Azaria and David Krumholtz, the shorts feature elements of comedy to shed light on hard-hitting, relevant themes to our contemporary moment. A feature-length adaptation of The Book of Light is currently underway, with the short serving as a proof of concept. Academy alums dot both films. Catch a glimpse of Class here, and The Book of Light with the following link.


Ash believes in putting process, the work, first, saying: “The best part of filmmaking is the collaboration with my colleagues, most of them also Academy alumni. We get to create together, play together, laugh together…there is truly no greater gift than the magic of that process—the outcome is almost secondary.”


James Kautz & Morgan Ruaidhrí O’Sullivan, Frankie:

Two alums, James Kautz and Morgan Ruaidhrí O’Sullivan, helm the production of Frankie, the debut short film from Red Seed Films.


Filmed in New York City, Frankie is a raw and resonant tale of the universal struggle for acceptance. Morgan stars as the lead, Frankie, who crashes their ex-partner’s men-only 12-step meeting, determined to be heard...no matter the cost. The creative team sought to inspire audiences to reexamine questions, and conversations, surrounding gender, masculinity, trauma, and recovery. The considerable press, which includes dozens of interviews with cast and crew, confirm this.


While delving into themes surrounding the film, Kautz mentions of his own life: “We had denied our true selves in an effort to remain safe,” with Frankie, Kautz seeks to overcome this.

Bobcat Moretti featuring Louis Mustillo, Lindsay Mushett, and Sally Kirkland

Catch Bobcat Moretti featuring three Academy alums Louis Mustillo, Lindsay Mushett, and Sally Kirkland.


The film follows an obese MS patient who takes up his late Father's sport of boxing to overcome personal tragedy and find inner peace. Bobcat Moretti was filmed over the course of ten months, allowing the lead actor to lose 154-pounds and fully embody the role.


Actress Sally Kirkland says of the film: “It’ll inspire you, it’ll open your heart… I had a blast doing it.”


Catch the full promo here.


Sophie Max

A 2017 graduate, Sophie Max’s work continues to impress us. Whether it’s her writing credits, to the countless roles she lands, there never seems to be a shortage of work for the many hyphenated artist. Unafraid of politically-charged topics, Max’s work consistently uplifts the stories of underrepresented communities.


Namely, The Whole Truth, a short written by and starring Max, was produced by a cast and crew consisting entirely of female and non-binary identifying artists. Max says of the short: “It’s also been very important to feel like we’re telling the stories in an authentic way, and making sure that a set is a safe place.”

Find an Academy Pages interview with Sophie Max here.

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