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Senior Thesis Film Accepted to Cannes

Andrew N. Wesman ‘10, a senior Visual and Environmental Studies concentrator in Cabot, will showcase his film "Shelley" at the Cannes Film Festival.
Andrew N. Wesman ‘10, a senior Visual and Environmental Studies concentrator in Cabot, will showcase his film "Shelley" at the Cannes Film Festival.
By Elizabeth D. Pyjov, Contributing Writer

A senior thesis film directed by Andrew N. Wesman ’10 has been chosen as an official selection by the Festival de Cannes, one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the world.

Wesman’s film “Shelley” is one of thirteen films picked from a total of 1600 entries from film school students all over the world. “Shelley” is also only one of two films to represent the United States in the student short films category.

Wesman, who is the first Harvard student to have his film accepted to the Cannes Festival, said he began writing the script for “Shelley” last spring. Shooting for the film began in early June of last year at a house in Cape Cod with eight crew members—including seniors Alexander J. Berman ’10 and Samuel H. Lemberg ’10.

Wesman said that he found out about his selection for Cannes over spring break while on a road trip with his friend and the film’s producer, Pomona senior Ian T. Carr.

“[We were] overlooking this beautiful vista in Utah at Zion National Park,” he said. “It just popped up on my iPhone.”

Wesman added that he felt “honored” and “ecstatic,” and that the whole crew was “really, really happy.”

The 21-minute long “Shelley” concerns a controversial subject—a girl who kills her parents—but is not a gory film.

Wesman’s senior thesis adviser, Assistant Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies Amie Siegel, praised his cinematographic choices.

“[The film is] a sometimes poetic, at other times chilling rendering of the teen psyche—a risky and admirable decision,” she said. “[Wesman] reaches beyond normal or habitual story-telling.”

Submitting the “Shelley” film to Cannes was not in Wesman’s original plans.

“I was making ‘Shelley’ just to do the best possible job on my thesis,” he said. “I had a pretty finished version of the film by February, and I decided on the last possible day, ‘Hey, why not try and apply to Cannes?’

Wesman nearly decided against sending his film in because the post office was closed for a holiday.

“I had to pay an exorbitant amount to send it,” he added. “I was just going to say ‘nah it’s not worth it,’ but then my girlfriend said ‘oh, just send it in’ and I did.”

Wesman will leave for France to attend the Cannes Festival on May 17. His film will be screened at Harvard on April 30, May 1, and May 6.

When describing his experiences in the past few months, Wesman said, “It’s been pretty overwhelming, but I feel confident going to the festival.”

When asked about his future plans in the film industry, Wesman, who will be attending film school in Los Angeles next year, said he wants to keep directing narrative films.

“It’s been a passion since I was nine years old,” Wesman said.

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