Film Alums First Feature Film Sold Out At Upcoming Film Festival

September 8, 2021
A person sitting in a dark movie theater

A senior thesis project turns into more than just a short film.

John Coates and Steven Spencer (Entertainment Arts ‘20) wrote and directed a thesis film titled “Uncle,” which will be screened in a sold-out double feature at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan on Friday, Sept. 10 in the 2021 Royal Starr Film Festival. 

“Uncle” follows two children left alone after their parents abandon them, but it was short-lived because soon after, two strangers arrive calling themselves their “Uncles.” 

The making of the film came to be after taking inspiration from two places—Coates’ girlfriend’s nightmare and “Mother!” a 2017 psychological horror film.

The film was the pair’s senior thesis project and they wanted to do something unique compared to previous projects they’ve worked on.

We wanted to address political topics, and we chose to do so through cryptic and abstract metaphors,” Coates said. “This allows the viewer to come up with their own interpretation of what the film means, and it’s been really interesting to see how varied those interpretations have been.”

“Uncle” was originally a short film, but grew to be a feature film—by industry standards—with a running time of 51 minutes. COVID-19 interrupted their final semester at CCS, so the two have been working on the film for over a year since their graduation.

The pair also founded their own media production company—Making Shapes—with the vision to aid the film community by making industry-standard content accessible.