A member of the SIUE community had his films selected for the upcoming St. Louis Film Festival, a prominent film showcase in the Midwest.

Rahul Menon, an SIUE alumnus from Delhi, India, recently found out one of his short films, titled “The Final Act,” was selected to be screened at the 2020 Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase.

According to the Cinema St. Louis website, the 2020 Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase “screens works that were shot in the St. Louis region or were written, directed, or produced by St. Louis-area residents or by filmmakers with strong local ties who are now working elsewhere.” 

Menon said he has been involved with the St. Louis Film Festival since he attended SIUE while earning a graduate degree in media management. 

“A couple years ago when I came to the U.S. and started studying [at SIUE], the film festival was one of the big, dominant ones I heard of, so I decided to volunteer,” Menon said. “I usually volunteered there as an usher and program handler. It genuinely feels great to have my films selected.”

]For “The Final Act,” Menon took on roles as the writer, director and producer. 

“As I was producing ‘The Final Act,’ I understood it’s always good to aspire to have the best output and lay down a benchmark for yourself,” Menon said. “But it’s also extremely important to be realistic, especially with the budget. The budget shouldn’t be aspirational; it should encompass everything that one will actually spend on their film and not what one hopes to spend.”

Graduate theater student Ryan Burns, of Edwardsville, played one of the leads in Menon’s “The Final Act.” 

“I had always seen Rahul beforehand because I was a mass communications minor,” Burns said. “He worked in the camera shop area. It was just small, casual conversation. Next thing you know, I’m talking to my friend who works in the scene shop and he told me Rahul asked him to do this film and he needs to find another guy, and he asked me if I wanted to participate. I said, ‘Sure, why not?’”

Burns said he had a great experience working with Menon while filming “The Final Act.”

“[Rahul] is a tedious worker,” Burns said. “He wants everything to look right in the right spot. He’s very creative. When we sat down to read the script, we got really in depth on conversation, with inner thoughts and what these characters want. He really is a great director and is so young, which is even crazier. For my first experience, he did a darn good job.”

SIUE alumnus Jonathan Johnson, of Florissant, Missouri, was the audio and sound designer on “The Final Act.” 

Similar to Burns, Johnson said he had a great experience working with Menon.

“Working with Rahul was a lot of fun and also a giant learning experience,” Johnson said. “As a student in mass communications, you learn how to do audio, how to run cameras, things like that. I ran audio for Rahul and just knowing we were working on that big of a project together meant paying a lot more attention and being much more careful. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work.” 

On Friday, July 10, Menon’s films will be featured in a complete lineup during a virtual version of the St. Louis Film Festival. 

Because of COVID-19, the film festival will be showcased virtually in November.

Visit the St. Louis Film Festival website for more information regarding the showcase and selected films.

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