Coming soon to theaters: 18-year-old Windom filmmaker set to premiere ‘Sundog’ next week
WORTHINGTON — Ethan Clerc is not your typical high-schooler.
At the age of 18, Clerc has already created two feature-length films, applied to New York University’s film school, raised thousands of dollars on Kickstarter, spent countless hours editing films frame by frame and even blown up a car. When he’s not making feature-length films, he’s captaining the Windom Cross Country team, working for the City of Windom filming meetings, filming sports for live television through Crew 22 — or designing his personal clothing brand TEEWIN.
Oh, and he’s almost done with his third film. Clerc’s new film, “Sundog,” is slated to premiere Jan. 9 in Windom.
“I have the final draft of the movie done now,” Clerc said. “Now I’m just working on going through the film frame-by-frame and re-introducing different colors into the movie.”
Clerc’s interest for movies began around 2010, when he used a camera belonging to his dad — Rick Clerc — to make short videos with. Moviemaking soon developed into a passion.
“My dad has always been a big inspiration for my films — he helps come up with a lot of the ideas,” he said.
After his premiere of “Mousetrap 2” last November, Clerc immediately got to work on his next film.
“I had just gotten done making ‘Mousetrap 2’ and I knew that I needed to make another one before I graduated,” Clerc said. “So the idea for ‘Sundog’ is a cat-and-mouse chase movie that revolves around a government agent who gets into some trouble he really needs to get out of.”
As with his past two films, Clerc turned to the popular crowd funding website Kickstarter to help raise the money needed to make the film.
“I told my dad that for this movie we were going to have to triple our money from the last Kickstarter, which was about $1,500,” Clerc explained. “My dad, just like the last two movies, told me there was no way I’d raise the money. I told him if I didn’t raise enough money, I wouldn’t do the film — all or nothing.”
When it came down to the last two days before the campaign was over and $1500 of support was still needed, a generous donor came to save the film.
“I ended up running into a generous man named Howie Davis,” Clerc said. “He was handing out scholarships. So I went up to him and told him my situation, and after talking to him for a few minutes, he shook my hand and gave me the money I needed right then.
“I’m very gracious to him for doing that,” he added. “I can’t thank him enough.”
Now that Clerc had the money he needed, it was time to get to work.
“We’d spend at least two hours a day filming during the summer, and some days we’d go all day — 10 hours or so,” he explained.
The cast and crew even shot a few scenes in Chicago, where they spent four days filming throughout the city.
“We filmed a big fight scene in an alleyway in Chicago, and someone actually dies in that scene,” Clerc said.
“In the film the cast dumps the body behind a dumpster, and we had people back-track and watch us from the street,” he continued, laughing.
The main actors in the film are Greg Lunn, Kyle Antes and Colin Clerc, and a new actress to the group is Faith Willard. Crew members include Matt Theesfeld (assistant director), Alex Woizesche and — of course, Clerc’s father.
Clerc hopes to continue his passion of moviemaking by attending New York University’s film school after graduating from Windom High School.
“I visited the campus earlier this year,” he said. “I actually just sent in my application on Monday, and I should hear back from them sometime in February.”
“Sundog” will premiere Jan. 9 at the Business Arts and Recreation Center (BARC) in Windom.
“We actually sold out the theater in Windom for “‘Mousetrap 2,”’ Clerc noted. “We had to turn people away at the door because there just wasn’t enough room. So we decided to move this premiere to the BARC because it sits 650, which is more than the theatre, and we are hoping to sell it out.”
Advance tickets are for sale at the BARC, and Clerc said people may contact him personally to reserve seats.
Clerc is thankful to the Windom community, his friends and family and everyone who was involved for their support.
“I just want to thank everyone in Windom. Everyone who donated, acted, worked with us, the local businesses — I just can’t thank them enough,” he said. “I’ll never forget their support, and where I came from.”
A trailer for “Sundog” can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoUlLB_d9fk.