Art by Aliza Dwyer
Photo Courtesy of Cody Curtis

In a world where we are currently unable to go to Target without wearing a face mask, it’s hard to believe that an entire short film was made during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. However, if anyone was determined to do it, it was August Thornton and his amazing cast and crew. Together they worked hard to put together the short film Nostalgia this summer. This was Thornton’s first film he had ever made. After working on something experimental in March, right after USM students were asked to leave campus, and he thought to himself maybe he and his friends could make something else.

Scene Clip Courtesy of Peter Bussiere

Getting the cast and crew wasn’t that hard. A lot of the Nostalgia cast no longer had summer plans as the majority of the nation was shut down for the summer. From no theatre festivals/shows, all the way to losing their summer jobs, almost every college student faced the dilemma of a boring summer. That’s why, when given the opportunity to make his first “official” short film, Thornton and his friends began immediately.

Nostalgia, a post-apocalyptic story about a scavenger who collects memorabilia from the past to survive in the world, was created from Thornton’s love of pop culture and driven by what’s going on in the world today.

Scene Clip Courtesy of Peter Bussiere

“What’s going on right now, nobody cares about the past. All we’re thinking and talking about is Covid, and what’s going on in the world,” Thornton said, reminding us that we should, “look back on other stuff that makes us happy and makes us settle down, to kind of relax a bit and just enjoy life and the stuff that helps us enjoy life.”

Probably the most fascinating part of the film was the process of making it. The pandemic shut down all types of film making, from Hollywood to Broadway, so how did August and his crew handle creating their movie during the pandemic?

“We took all of the precautions necessary,” Thornton said. He talked about how they had plenty of hand sanitizer on set, everyone was welcome to wear a mask and encouraged to social distance if wanted. Only five people between the cast and crew did not reside in Franklin County which helped bring the risk down of spreading the virus across Maine.

When writing the script in early May, Thornton only met up with a fellow scriptwriter and wrote between their two houses. All rehearsals for the film were done over Zoom during June. The entire cast and crew were only together for two days in July to film. Editing was done from the editors’ homes from late July to the end of August. Filming was also done almost fully outside, on land donated to Thornton and his crew by residents of Jay, Maine.

Thornton’s favorite part about the filming process was the set. Even with Covid-19 precautions in place, it was still, “One of the best sets I’ve been on,” he said. He loved getting a chance to work with all of his friends and just have a good time for once this summer. “This movie isn’t going up against any Oscars, it’s for enjoyment during this dark time,” says Thornton, really pushing that this was a starting point for many more films to come.

Photo Courtesy of Cody Curits

Nostalgia is out to watch now on YouTube on his producer Peter Bussiere’s page.

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