Sam Holdren, a 28-year-old Temple University film and media arts graduate student in the MFA program, is establishing a name for himself in the film industry.
Holdren, the writer and director of the short comedy film “Audition,” has won several awards for his latest project including Best Student Short Film and Best Regional Film at the 2007 Bluegrass Independent Film Festival. The 20-minute movie will be screened at the Delaware Valley Film Festival Nov. 2.
Holdren attained his Bachelor of Arts in English: Professional Writing with a Theatre Arts minor from West Virginia University (formerly known as West Virginia College) in May 2002. He also has a Bachelor of Science in communications in May 2001.
He has directed two other award-winning short films; “Unexpected Aphrodisiacs” in 2001 and “Blah” in 2002.
His current film stars Todd Waters, who plays William H. Ashe, a 30-year-old “momma’s boy” with the emotional maturity of a teenager. Ashe is consumed with becoming a famous actor and believes whole-heartedly in superstitious “signs,” a practice he picked up from his mother.
Throughout the film, Ashe overcomes obstacles and rejection with inextinguishable hope for the future. He redeems his immature behavior with his innocence and unmistakably good intentions.
“I wanted the challenge of taking a character that could be very unlikable … who could potentially offend the audience, and hopefully illicit some empathy for him,” he said.
Making a comedy that actually has an impact on the audience is a difficult task, Holdren said. The casting of Ashe’s character was a key ingredient in the film’s success and Waters impressed Holdren during his audition for the role.
Holdren recalls that when Waters came in to audition, “I couldn’t help but smile. He had the energy in his eyes that I wanted for William Ashe,” Holdren said, adding that Water had that a soft, “Baby Huey” look.
Holdren stressed the importance of matching an actor’s personalities to their roles, opening up room for the character to evolve naturally.
Despite a brief role in the film, another notable actor in “Audition” was Brian Yeshion, a Temple student who was shot and killed in his North Philadelphia apartment in June 2005.
In “Audition”, Yeshion plays the role of a college student who Ashe approaches in the bar of The Windsor Hotel. A photo of Yeshion is shown during the credits of the film in memorial.
Although Holdren did not work personally with him, he said members of his crew described Yeshion, a communications major, as a nice guy, who had ambition for himself.
Holdren said he felt it was important to honor the time that Yeshion dedicated to “Audition”, however small.
“He was part of the puzzle,” Holdren said.
As for other aspiring filmmakers at Temple, Holdren said it’s important to “let go and let people into the process.”
“When it’s all done, you have people to share it with,” he said.
He advocated the importance of teamwork, and explained that he avoided acting as a “jack of all trades” when working on “Audition”
The “Audition” production team included some of Holdren’s friends and colleagues from Temple. Holdren also enlisted the help of undergraduate film and media arts students, many of whom he taught in the past.
Filmmakers and actors from Holdren’s hometown of Charleston, W.Va.., also contributed to the project, as Holdren traveled to back home to shoot the final scene of the movie.
“I consider this movie “Audition” as my audition too,” Holdren said. “This is my warm up. It’s not going to be the last thing I ever do.”
For more information on Sam Holdren and “Audition” go to www.auditionmoviesite.com.
Emily Gleason can be reached at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org