This fall, Wilton resident Sebastian Hunt made his debut as a freshman at Ithaca College, but the season also marked the teen’s emergence as a talented filmmaker. The 19-year-old recently wrote and directed Served, a seven-minute mockumentary that tells the story of Ted Russo, an eccentric chef whose career did not turn out the way he expected.
Hunt has been interested in film from a very young age; he wrote film reviews for GOOD Morning Wilton while still in high school. Served is Hunt’s fourth film but is by far the one that has garnered the most recognition.
While he has created comedic films in the past, this was his first foray into the faux-documentary or mockumentary format, which is characterized by talking-head interviews, characters interacting with the camera and often has no soundtrack.
Hunt credited the U.K. version of The Office as his inspiration to explore this type of film.
“I’ve always found the mockumentary format to be very interesting and thought it had a lot of potential for the story I was telling,” Hunt said. In Served, he utilized a style similar to that used in The Office. He also echoed the bleak sense of humor found in the British sitcom.
This film was shot in Wilton over the course of two days this past summer. One location was Wilton High School, which Hunt said was very accommodating. “Definitely one of the benefits of living in a small town,” he added. He won’t reveal the other shot location for fear of giving away the movie’s secret plot twist. “We’ve worked really hard to keep it under wraps,” he said.
Hunt’s crew consisted of two other Wilton residents: current WHS students David Unruh as his director of photography and Joe Eustace as sound engineer.
He cast the movie with 12 main actors after an overwhelming response through the online casting-call platform backstage.com. Hunt was very pleased with the turnout of interested parties and felt the actors he chose for the film were very strong — including a familiar face or two that Wilton residents might also recognize in some of the roles. Hunt acknowledged the importance of extras to add to a movie’s believability. “I’ve learned that these tertiary roles really make the movie,” he said.
Between costumes and site locations fees, and a budget approaching $1,200, Served was Hunt’s biggest film to date, but it is already reaping the rewards. So far, it has been accepted to five well-known film festivals and begun racking up the awards. Although Hunt is a student, he did not submit under student categories because this film was made outside of the school environment.
He carefully selected which festivals to submit to, a process that can be time-consuming and expensive. “We really wanted to submit to festivals that had been around for a good couple of years and had an established footing in the industry,” Hunt said.
Served debuted at the London Seasonal Short Film Festival in November where it earned the Silver Medal for Comedy Short and then went on to win Most Original Concept at the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival. It also won Best Narrative Comedy Short at the Jersey Shore Film Festival, which Hunt was excited to be able to attend in person, and was an awards finalist for Best Mockumentary at the Portland Comedy Film Festival.
Served has also been accepted to the New Haven International Film Festival which will hopefully take place soon. “We hope that showing our film at these festivals will add cache to the film and really open doors for us,” he said.
Hunt is strongly considering submitting Served to upcoming Spring 2022 festivals. “Our motto was let’s see how it does and it’s been doing quite well so we are thinking we’ll submit again next season,” he said.
Keeping up with the social media and website for the film has kept Hunt busy, but he’s enjoying the ride. As for what’s next, Hunt said with a smile, “I always have something on the backburner.”