ISU student creates independent film
Written by WZND Newsroom on February 17, 2023
NORMAL, Ill. – It’s all about marquees and headlines for one Illinois State University student who followed his childhood dream.
Television production major and ISU senior Ben Meenan, along with other cast and crew members, put their minds together to create a full feature-length movie.
The film titled SUNDAY* is set in a world where there is no sun. More precisely, the sun has not risen in 50 or maybe even 100 years, only rising every seven years on the seventh day of the seventh month.
Meenan and the crew of SUNDAY* have been hard at work for the last few years creating their film. As all movie productions do, SUNDAY* had its fair share of creative challenges.
“This film has been taking two to three years to make,” said Meenan. “With our schedules, it has been a difficult process…Once we were able to get the cast together, we all were able to film on the fly. One of our main characters goes to NYU (New York University), so we only had him for a week. We had to film every scene with him within that week’s time frame.
As a student, Meenan hasn’t gotten the same liberties as most movie productions would. The crew of SUNDAY* has constantly been belittled due to others perceptions that they aren’t taking their roles seriously.
“We don’t like when people say ‘you know this is just a student project.’ It’s not a student project, this is an independent film we’ve been working on,” stated Meenan.
SUNDAY* is set in a world with no sun. Of course, a Hollywood movie would have the budget to pay for a soundstage, being able to manipulate every element of filmmaking to make it dark all the time. Meenan and his crew had to do things the hard way.
“We would film from roughly 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day,” Meenan said. “It was rough at first, I had to get a few energy drinks in me to stay awake. We just went with the flow and that’s what works best for all of us.”
After everything is said and done, SUNDAY* is a project made by dreamers. Meenan, alongside Director Adam Ahmed have known each other since childhood and making a movie together was always the goal to strive for.
“This has been a dream for a while for me, and for a lot of people on the crew,” stated Meenan. “The Director, Adam Ahmed, I’ve known him my whole life. We’ve been friends since we were a year old. We had backyards that faced each other in South Bend, Indiana. We would shoot funny little videos that slowly turned into short films that slowly turned into this whole project… It’s definitely surreal right now for all of us that we are able to show people that this is what we want to do. We want to have our own unique style. We want to show that lower class and middle class people can facilitate a movie like this.