NYU Student To Hold Benefit To Help Fund Thesis Film In OC

NYU Student To Hold Benefit To Help Fund Thesis Film In OC

OCEAN CITY – A coming-of-age short film written and directed by a resort native will begin production in Ocean City in the coming months.

On May 31, filmmaker Emmi Shockley and her team will begin production for her newest short film, “J-1,” a New York University (NYU) thesis film set in Ocean City.

Shockley, a senior at the university’s Tisch School of the Arts, said the film will reflect her experiences growing up and working in the resort town.

“This story came about from my own experiences, working every summer at Shenanigan’s and working with these J-1 students,” she said.

In this coming-of-age film, Olivia, a restless young local, falls for an Irish J-1 student named Mac while working her summer job at a crab house. The film joins the couple on their last night together in Ocean City as Olivia begins to struggle with her decision to leave everything she has ever known and move to Dublin with Mac.

“I feel like I had the story of a J-1 summer relationship,” she said, “and so many people I’ve worked with have also had that experience of forming a relationship and figuring out what to do with those feelings when the summer comes to an end.”

Shockley said production on “J-1” will begin on May 31 and will last approximately two weeks. Filming will take place at the Crab Bag on 130th Street and at several locations in downtown Ocean City.

“When I decided on shooting in a crab house, the Crab Bag was an obvious decision …,” she said. “It’s filled with all of these things that are so specific to Maryland, and it’s also run by people I trust and that are so generous.”

Shockley said she has cast herself to play the role of Olivia in her upcoming film, but she said efforts are ongoing to cast the Irish male lead.

“We’ve been searching high and low for Irish, early-20s, non-actors even …,” she said. “I’m optimistic even though we haven’t found him yet. Our casting search is still active.”

Once filming is complete, Shockley said “J-1” will spend several months in post-production before it is submitted to NYU’s First Run Film Festival.

“The class of 2019 submits their films and if they’re chosen they get screened in this competition in New York,” she said. “It’s an open festival and the finalists of that festival are flown out to [Los Angeles] for industry screenings and meetings. It’s pretty competitive, and it’s a great end goal.”

Shockley said she also hopes to submit the film to several film festivals throughout Maryland.

“We’ll see how it ends up and what kind of festivals we can shoot for,” she said.

To make the production of “J-1” a reality, Shockley said she will host a fundraiser at the Crab Bag on March 15 from 6-9 p.m.

“We are having it on St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” she said, “which is appropriate given the Irish influences in the film.”

Shockley said there will be a suggested donation at the door, but those who donate $20 will receive a voucher to Ocean City Laser Tag at Game World. The fundraiser will include live music, free appetizers, happy-hour drink specials, games and unique silent auction items, including a photo shoot with a local photographer and gifts from local establishments.

“Fifty percent of the proceeds of the silent auction will go towards the funding of the film, and the other 50 percent will be given to the Art League of Ocean City as a way to give back,” she said. “They are such great supporters of filmmaking in Ocean City.”

Shockley is no stranger to acting, writing and directing. In 2014, she was cast as Red Miracle’s love interest in the independent film “Ping Pong Summer.” And the next year, she formed Ombrophilous Films with her brother Tate Shockley.

In 2016, Shockley wrote and directed a short film “We Regret to Inform You,” which was selected as a finalist at the international level of the Campus Movie Fest competition and screened at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Shockley, a Worcester Prep alumna, is now a senior at NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, where she focuses on screenwriting, directing and independent producing. Her most recent short film, “Don’t Be a Baby,” won Audience Choice, Best Directing, Best Lead Actress and Best Editing awards at the university’s New Visions & Voices showcase in November.

Shockley will return to Ocean City this weekend to promote “J-1,” and “Don’t Be a Baby,” which will be screened at the Ocean City Film Festival on Saturday.

“We would love to see loads of people there,” she said.

For more information on “J-1,” or any of Shockley’s works, visit emmishockley.com. An Indiegogo website for the upcoming short film will go live on Friday for those who wish to donate.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.