Two students lead an independent film project


Two students, Nolen Hayes ’23 and Max Bunzel ’22, write, direct and produce a short film, currently called the Hapox film.

After entering a horror short at an informal 24-hour student film festival hosted by the Film Club last year, Hayes and Bunzel were inspired to turn those ideas into a larger project.

“From there, we took the ideas that we had had while filming and creating the story in such a short time and decided that we kind of wanted to do something more serious or more involved, and we “We developed the script a bit more, and started to find other ways to approach the story. And right now, we just finished the script, and we’re looking to cast characters for the updated version” , Bunzel said.

Their writing process began even before a short film “treatment” their idea, but as they came up with new ideas, the project continued to grow. While their final script was ultimately 100 pages, Hayes and Bunzel recently decided to stick with an abridged 20-minute short. The name “Hapox” is a tribute to the original short, as it was the name on the first draft of the first script.

“Hapox” comes from the word “hapax”, which is a linguistic term for a word or phrase that appears only once in a literary work.

“The story is about a detective in Philadelphia, who gets fired from the police, and he’s looking for another job as a cop, and he gets a job in a small rural town in Pennsylvania. And at first things seem pretty well and well, and the police just seem very incompetent there. But slowly and surely, he uncovered a crime and a conspiracy regarding this local police, who covered up a crime in the small town and got away with it. And then he kind of gets to the bottom of that,” Hayes said.

Currently holding casting calls for open auditions, they plan to complete casting and writing by the end of February, allowing them to begin filming in March. Considering filming and editing, Hayes and Bunzel plan to have a finished product by the end of the semester for a screening at the Campus Theater downtown.

“I’m very excited to start filming. And really the whole process, honestly. Editing a movie is just as much fun as shooting a movie. Even more important, no doubt. So editing, I I’m really looking forward to it. Casting: We did some casting last weekend, we still have a lot to do, but even the auditions were really cool. I’m really excited for every step of the process,” Hayes said.

“Also, the post-production process, we plan to submit it to festivals, student festivals across the country. And hopefully if we do something good, it might help our careers after college,” Bunzel said.

It’s going to be a very “Bucknell” production, they say. In addition to the directors, other Bison are involved as production assistants and actors, and the majority of filming will take place on campus or in the Lewisburg area. In addition to other filmmaking experiences, both Hayes and Bunzel are involved in the campus film and media studies program.

“We did a production course with Eric Faden last semester, where we shot a pilot, and it was pretty much up to us getting the equipment, deciding what camera moves we want to do,” Bunzel said.

Faden holds the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair in the Humanities and an English teacher. The group also mentioned Daniel Nienhuis, the department’s video production specialist.

“With guidance from Eric Faden [and] Daniel Nienhuis, we kind of learned a lot about the ins and outs of production. And I really think this course, out of all the courses I’ve taken at Bucknell, is what’s really going to help me move forward with this production,” Bunzel said.

Hayes and Bunzel plan to enter the short in various film festivals, including one hosted by the University every two years called the Bucknell Intercollegiate Film Festival (BIFF). BIFF is open to all undergraduate and graduate students attending any school in Pennsylvania. While the 2020s have been held online due to COVID-19, this year they plan to hold it in person downtown at the Campus Theater in the spring.

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