SHU Alum Premiere’s Film At TCL Chinese Theatre

Sacred Heart University (SHU) alum Eric Patrick Cameron ‘23 is set to debut his senior project, “The Space Western of the Southwest,” at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb. 28.

Cameron earned his bachelor’s degree in film and television media studies from the School of Communication, Media and the Arts (SCMA) at SHU. Cameron’s decision to attend SHU had much to do with the study abroad program in Dingle, Ireland.

Cameron’s piece is a short film based on the untold stories from the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” production in Dingle, and how a big movie impacted a little town. Cameron revealed that the inspiration for his film was planted during his semester in Dingle.

“The Last Jedi” shot its first scene 10 years ago and Cameron’s film recognizes the impact of “Star Wars” on the town, intertwining behind-the-scenes tales and Cameron’s cultural experience in present-day Dingle.

“I knew I was going to make a movie,” Cameron said. “Being a ‘Star Wars’ fan, I knew the town had been a filming location for the new sequels.”

Part of the creative process was determining how Cameron would bring the untold stories to light, while also touching on his journey.

“Thematically, the film started as a way to showcase the impact ‘Star Wars’ had on the people of Dingle, but as the overall story evolved, the film became a story about passion, perseverance, and tenacity,” said Cameron.

Cameron knew from a young age that he wanted to make movies, whether that meant acting, directing, etc. The memories of being at Walt Disney World during his childhood contributed to his ongoing passion for movies.

“To have my film screen at the real Chinese Theatre is daunting,” said Cameron. “I’m so honored and so excited. I can’t wait to share the film with everyone there.”

Cameron’s creative process came with a set of challenges, including restructuring the film. Cameron was able to interview one of the most in-demand filmmakers in Hollywood, Rian Johnson, who helped Cameron fill in a missing piece to his story.

“The entire film was essentially edited in three months—so working on that tight of a deadline was definitely a challenge,” said Cameron.

Cameron submitted “The Space Western of the Southwest” to 36 festivals and was accepted into three. Part of the process of being a filmmaker is facing some rejection and despite his rejection, Cameron kept going.

“We as artists can’t focus on how many people consume our art and what people think of it—we just need to worry about creating,” said Cameron. “If you never quit, you might just make it.”

One of Cameron’s most rewarding parts of his journey was being able to show his film to people. The first time a public audience ever saw the film was at the Féile na Bealtaine Arts Festival in Dingle on April 30, 2023. Cameron and his friends handed out flyers hours before the premiere to try and get people to attend, however, Cameron later realized that the show had completely sold out online.

The film premiered in Boston a few months later. Alum Paul Richard Keegan ‘23, Cameron’s composer for the film and friend, attended the premiere with him with an audience of 200+ Star Wars fans. About 100 of those people asked them to sign posters before or after the show.

Keegan is one of the many people who have helped contribute to Cameron’s journey. Some professors that Cameron recognized from the SCMA program are Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, Prof. Gregory Golda, and Prof. Todd Barnes.

“Their instruction and support during my time at SHU was invaluable,” said Cameron.

Gottlieb, an SCMA professor at SHU, was happy to talk about his experience with Cameron and comment on Cameron’s successes since graduating from SHU.

“Eric has a very valuable combination of talent, energy, and ambition,” said Gottlieb. “It was clear to me from the first moment I met him that he was not at SHU to go along for a ride but to be a driver, and he has done that very well.”

After graduating from SHU, Cameron moved on to study for his master’s degree at NYU. He has been making movies for the past 13 years, and each one has been longer than the last with “Space Western” being the longest at 35 minutes. His goal to make movies did not end with his degree, as he now has landed himself a premiere at such a renowned location.

“It is one of my great joys as a teacher to see students find what they want to do and then actually go do it,” said Gottlieb.

Cameron’s experience at SHU and SHU in Dingle has contributed to his creative vision, process, and execution. His time in Dingle marks not merely a chapter but the pivotal genesis of a narrative poised to resonate with audiences worldwide.

“SHU in Dingle was the reason I chose to attend SHU for my undergrad, and I wouldn’t trade in that experience,” said Cameron. “My time abroad was genuinely the greatest time in my life, so I just wanted to share that deep love, appreciation, and admiration for this town and its people.”

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