5 questions with… student filmmaker Rebekah Camp

Rebekah Camp sitting in a director's chairRebekah Camp was a first-year student in a creative writing class when news broke of Ariel Castro’s arrest in the abductions of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus.

Camp had just been tasked with an intriguing prompt: Write something from the mind of a serial killer.

Building off the breaking news, Camp started writing a short story, Cold Coffee.

“[The assignment] kind of followed me around for a couple of years and wouldn’t let me stop writing it,” she said.

So she didn’t.

Instead, Camp pressed forward, developing a story of a man who keeps a woman trapped in his basement—all told from the man’s warped perspective.

“It ended up being one of my favorite things that I’ve ever written,” Camp said.

Rebekah Camp with another filmmaker in a garden
Rebekah Camp (far right) works on a shoot at the New York Film Academy.

This past summer, while attending a filmmaking workshop at the New York Film Academy in New York City, Camp spun the story into a script.

Today, her short story is now a short film that’s making its debut at this weekend’s Short. Sweet. Film Fest in Cleveland, which was created by Mike Suglio (CWR ’09, MGT ’12) and former Case Western Reserve student Alex Pavloff in 2012 to showcase amateur  filmmakers from around the world. The festival, now in its fourth year, is staffed entirely by CWRU students and alumni.

As a senior on a film studies track, Camp has spent plenty of time analyzing films, but she hadn’t had the opportunity or resources to actually create a film. Because Camp was new to filmmaking, production didn’t come without its challenges.

“I was stumbling through all of this,” Camp said.

She managed to find an actor in an online ad (because she had no idea how else to discover talent), who then offered up his basement for the shoot location. Then she had to make sure the actors were comfortable and safe throughout the entire process—not an easy task when handling such a sadistic topic—while at the same time producing a quality film.

“I’m still kind of in shock of how well it went,” Camp said.

Upon returning to campus, Camp decided to enter Cold Coffee into the Short. Sweet. Film Festival—albeit nervously, knowing how high standards are for acceptance. But Camp’s film fit the bill—it was selected from 155 films submitted for one of the 90 final slots—and will be shown today (March 4) from 9:43 to 9:49 p.m. at the Alex Theater at Metropolitan at the 9. Get the full film fest schedule at shortsweetfilmfest.com/festival-schedule-2016/.

Through the production of Cold Coffee, Camp gained experience she undoubtedly will use moving forward as an aspiring professional filmmaker.

“I really want to work in film. While I was in New York, I realized I love doing every part of this and I would be happy doing anything,” she said. “I can hold the camera for you. I can adjust your focus. I can do your lighting. I don’t care what I’m doing as long as I’m involved in filmmaking. This is what I want to do.”

Before you start making your plans to see the film tonight (tickets are $20 for a single day and $40 for the whole festival and are available online), make sure to read Camp’s responses to this week’s five questions.

1. What is your proudest accomplishment?

As of right now, it’s this film festival. Ask me in a couple months and it will be graduating.

2. If you could do anything you wanted for a day, what would you do?

I would get a bunch of free camera equipment and filmmaking stuff, and I’d go find Joss Whedon and we’d hang out.

3. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?

Kristen Stewart—no contest. She’s intelligent, sarcastic, and she gets accused of only having one facial expression or being angry all the time, but she really doesn’t care.

4. If you could go back in time and tell your childhood self something, what would you say?

It gets better—it really does. The world is so much bigger than they’re ever going to tell you it is, and you’re going to find your place in it and you’re going to be OK.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?

Definitely how open [people on campus] are to different sexualities and gender expressions, and the availability of resources for the LGBT community. I didn’t realize how important that was going to be to me until I got here, but it’s so important.