Sioux Falls native and 2003 O’Gorman High School graduate Dylan Thomson is in France this week attending the Cannes Film Festival to promote his own recent work.
After completing his undergraduate degree at St. John’s University in Minnesota in 2007, Thomson attended the Screen Academy Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland, and it was there he worked on dozens of short films with peers. Although all of their work has been submitted to film festivals worldwide, “Cold Calling” (screen image of film above) was the first to be accepted at the Cannes Short Film Corner. Two months after receiving the exciting news that they’re film was accepted, and participating in a crowd-funding venture that helped pay for his trip, Thomson packed his bags and left for France on Tuesday.
"It’s been a whirlwind for sure," he says. "I’m still awestruck, even as I talk to you."
"Cold Calling" is actually the third installment of a trilogy he and his peers made about a hitman. In this installment, a door-to-door salesman knocks on the hitman’s door wanting to sell cleaning products.
Even though, as a student in Edinburgh, Thomson was assigned short film projects, “Cold Calling” was actually done for fun over a mere weekend because space and equipment was available for use. “We were incredibly happy with how this turned out, from the actors to the lighting to even the comedy,” Thomson says.
Thomson will attend Cannes events to promote his film through May 22. As much as he would like to sightsee and enjoy the French Riviera, it’s going to be a lot of work and little play at Cannes. The main goal for filmmakers is to network as much as possible and get their film into a group screening, so viewers can sit and watch multiple shorts in one time. “I’m going to be pulling 20-hour days, and it’s going to be hard to turn off the networking side of me, but it’s just part of the job,” he says.
All films shown this week will be available to Cannes attendees via a digital library, so anyone that Thomson does network with can watch “Cold Calling” at any time.
"A successful week would be getting our film into a bigger screening, that would be a big milestone for us," but, "a million opportunities could happen."
Like running into Ryan Gosling? Thomson says the actor’s latest full-length feature film will be screened at Cannes, and he would love a chance to catch bigger, red-carpet events like that, but lower-key events sound appealing, too. For example, there will be a big outdoor screen on the beach throughout the week, including hundreds of wooden chairs in the sand for fans to enjoy old films that have been shown at Cannes in the past, like Hitchcock movies.
"It’s amazing to have an opportunity to enjoy the history and legacy of the film festival."
Upon his return from France, Thomson will co-write a short for a 48-hour film festival as well as participate in Ryan Strandjord’s Director’s Workshop Feedback Film Challenge in June, where he’ll attempt to make a short film in one month. He’ll also finish up submitting another film to the South Dakota Film Festival in Aberdeen, so his home state can celebrate the work he’s done. “I would love for my friends and family to see what I’ve been working on all these years.”
We would, too! Congrats to Dylan on all his success, and best of luck in France.
Thomson currently lives in Minneapolis. Read more about his work here.