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One of the mottos of the film department at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul is: “If something doesn’t go wrong, you didn’t do it right.” Because of that saying, the film department is always prepared for something to go wrong during the process of making a film. Little did the Northwestern Productions team working on the Five16 Film Festival opener know just how true this saying could be. 

The cover photo for the Five16 Film Festival’s Facebook page

It started with the script. With the theme of “ambition” in mind, the productions team brainstormed a short showing childhood dreams turning into adult realities. Though warned about working with child actors, the team went with the idea anyway. Hopeful that they would find who they wanted, a lack of interest and attention span ended with having only one of the three child roles filled with two weeks left until filming.  

A screenshot from an Opener team Zoom meeting while some are in quarantine.

Though the failed auditions shook the team, they did prepare for worse. Unfortunately, worse happened. The director, Cade Stinson, caught Covid just days before the scheduled shoot, forcing him and about half of the other key creative roles into quarantine. After that, the team decided it was best to hold off production until March. 

“It was a hard decision to make, but ultimately it was the right one. When we finally do get to film, it will end up being a much better product.”

Cade Stinson – Northwestern Productions Exec Staff

To see the opener in its finished form, it will be shown at the Five16 Film Festival. Get your tickets at starting February 7.