Two years ago alum Trevor Stevens (BFA.FP ’15) and team set out to make their first feature film, one that suited their off the wall sensibility while also poking fun at popular film tropes. Rock Steady Row was that film and had its world premiere at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival.

“We didn’t make this film to get rich or anything, we made it because it was a story we wanted to tell,” Stevens explains. Their focus with this project was to get the wheels turning and to learn what it takes to make a feature-length film. Being one of over 6,000 films submitted to Slamdance, competition for audience attention was high.

The film’s producer and current Dodge College student, Gia Rigoli (BFA.CRPR ’18), explained the group’s promotional strategy for the film while in Park City, Utah. “We printed around 500 posters, and twice a day we would go up and down main street with staple guns, stapling them everywhere.” The Rock Steady Row team, about 30 in total, had their work cut out for them as they were competing with professional marketing teams and 200 other films screening in competition. After a long week filled with tireless promotion and excitement though, the team brought home two awards for their film: Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and grand jury prize for narrative feature.

Stevens credits the success of the film to his cast and crew, “We are very family based, in that, we do our best work with people that we trust. We composed our team from Chapman, 90 percent of the entire cast and crew were all Chapman alumni or current students.”

While the team didn’t set out to win big at this festival, the success inspired the already close group to think about future projects. “We definitely want to get going on something, hopefully, this summer, whether it’s a short or a feature,” adds Rigoli.

For more about Rock Steady Row visit their website.