Filmmaker Conor Soucy ’19 brings Hollywood to campus.
Reflecting on his experiences in Stonehill College’s Digital Media Production (DMP) program, Conor Soucy ’19 fondly recalls filming in Donahue Hall, the sprawling mansion-turned-office building that once housed Easton’s famous Ames family.
“As a student, I made an Armani spec commercial there with some of my friends,” he said. “I’ve always remembered that space and wanted to film something else there. It’s gorgeous and it’s got a nice scale to it. It has a sense of mystery. It feels lived-in, so there’s not a lot that needs to be done in terms of set decoration. It’s like it was built to be filmed in.”
Now a full-time editor living in Los Angeles, California, Soucy’s journey as a filmmaker came full circle earlier this month as he returned to Donahue Hall to shoot scenes for Whisper, his self-produced short film about a man lured to a mysterious island by a malevolent force.
“The sequence we filmed features the main character waking up in a beautiful estate after getting hit on the head,” Soucy said. “I don’t want to reveal anything else. People will have to watch the movie to find out more.”
Though the spoiler-averse filmmaker is keeping a tight lid on the project’s plot, he did note other works that helped inspire the tone of Whisper.
“I really wanted to make a subjective film like Vertigo, Chinatown or Rosemary’s Baby,” he said. “In those movies, you’re sitting with one character most of the time, sharing their perspective, seeing everything they see.”
Soucy and his crew spent two days working in Donahue Hall. Ben Grant served as director of photography. A graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, he has worked for brands like Instagram, Goya, Harvard University and the Boston Celtics.
“Ben is a rising star in the cinematography world and has been involved with this project since the beginning,” Soucy said. “Outside of our work together, we’re good friends. We’re both going to be groomsman in each other’s weddings.”
Braintree, Massachusetts, resident Katie Evers ’23, a health science major with a psychology and digital media production double minor, served as a production assistant on the shoot. She was responsible for taking behind-the-scenes photos and helping maintain continuity of visual elements between each take filmed.
“I also had the chance to chat with Conor about his experiences in the film industry and his path after graduation,” Evers said. “It was great learning how he got into this field.”
Soucy welcomed the Stonehill senior into the fold because he had such a positive experience in the DMP program. He is thankful to the faculty, specifically Professor Katie Elia-Shannon ’04 and Professor Ron Leone, for helping guide him toward a career in film.
“I’ve wanted to be a filmmaker since I was a kid, but never thought it was possible,” Soucy said. “Katie showed me I was wrong. And Ron was such a great support to me when I completed an internship at Skydance Media in Los Angeles as a student. That experience helped open so many doors for me.”
Though Soucy graduated years ago, Elia-Shannon and Leone continue to support their former student. They helped arrange for him to film at Donahue Hall.
“Once a Skyhawk, always a Skyhawk,” Elia-Shannon said. “As a Stonehill graduate who has filmed projects of her own on this campus, I was excited to help pay it forward to Conor. I wish him the best of luck as he continues working on this film.”
Striking a similar chord, Leone notes that he is delighted that one of Stonehill’s own is making such big moves in his career.
“Nothing makes us happier than seeing students who completed the Digital Media Production program put the lessons learned at Stonehill to work,” he said. “We’re happy to do whatever we can to support his artistic endeavors.”