By Lydia Simmons, Arts and Culture Editor
In 2020 when a pandemic struck the world many people had to change their plans and goals to adjust to the new way of living. For USM alum Cody Curtis he refused to allow anything get in the way of reaching his goal of creating a feature film shining a light on mental health struggles. From pre production to post production to the festival circuit, which it is currently circling, Curtis’s feature film Suffocation has been an ongoing project for two years. A labor of love which to Curtis has been worth every minute.
Filming under COVID-19 restrictions had it’s stresses for the entire Suffocation team but through following the necessary guidelines and safety precautions they were able to carry out production without a hitch. After filming the editing process took from the beginning of November 2020 to the beginning of May 2021. Though the editing process did prove difficult at times, at the end of it Curtis said, “At the end of the day it was completely worth it because we came out with a product that we were actually pretty proud of.”
When asked about his overall feelings of how the film turned out Cutis shared, “With any film project there are always going to be things, whether it’s a film project or theater, there are always going to be things that you wish you could have improved on. And though I do have those in my mind I am very happy with how the film came across in terms of the message I was trying to teach.”
The film was well received by audiences overall, with some people who had concerns giving advice on how to improve in the future, something that Curtis is going to take into account in his future film projects. As for the festival circuit Suffocation is now an award winning film, earning a best feature film award and Curtis taking home the best director award at the The Hollywood International Golden Age Film Festival. Curtis says on winning the awards, “I’ve always seen awards as like the tiniest of bonuses because what has always been most important to me has been telling a story and telling that story to the best of your ability and if awards come from that, fantastic, but for me they have never been the most important thing. But it does feel good that the film has gotten some recognition.”
The Suffocation project overall was a great success. When talking about the major takeaways from the experience Curtis said, “The biggest takeaway from the whole project for me would be that no matter how much I would like to do everything by myself I do need to rely on people more.” In future projects he plans to bring on more people to help out in different ways to keep production running smoothly and reduce some of the stress that can come with creating a film.
Curtis has multiple upcoming projects that he is involved in, all three of them being short films. He served as assistant director and producer for his friend Alex Cole’s project, Grace which is now in the post-production phase. He is directing two other short films, one that he wrote himself and another that Cole wrote. One of them, Remission, is set to come out in November and the second, Up in Smoke is set for December. There will be an event held to premiere all three short films in beginning to mid January 2022.
You can donate to help fundraise for the upcoming film Remission at the link below: