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UT 436 Film

 Welcome, Sam 

Running Time: 24 minutes

Production Co: 436 Cinemas

Directed By: Nina Gallagher & Nick Turner

Written By: Katie Preston, Mark Gosney and Michael Dibiase

Produced By: Julia Dergunov, Jacob Dunn, Heather Coker Hawkins, Michael Hoisington and Nick Turner

Edited by: Zach Pugh, Alexandra Anderson and Jacob Dunn

Cinematography: Michael Santoro (DP), Caleb Coleman, Kyle Breeden and Katie Seal

Meet the Cast

Amberlin McCormick: Haley Brand

My name is Amberlin and I am a first-year graduate acting student here and UTK from Raleigh, North Carolina. Fun fact about the film: I am actually an improviser on the team Involuntary Sports Party. I had such a great time with the cast and crew that I couldn’t pick a favorite on-set moment. The environment felt like my friends from back home and has encouraged me to explore my skills behind the camera more. 

Taylor Stiles: Sam Harmon

I attend UT as an arts and science major with a concentration in acting and am currently a junior. I am from Longmont, Colorado, I enjoy hiking, camping, and snowboarding in my spare time. My favorite on-set moment was the cafeteria scene because I got to eat pizza the whole time they shot the scene. I had a great time being on set with the crew and other actors and am happy to have been a part of this short film.  

Leonard Freeny: Alex Thompson

I am from Cleveland, OH. I graduated from Pellissippi State Community College with an Associates Degree (Associates in Science) in 2019. I originally started off as a rapper. At age 13, I’ve written and produced two albums and was opening acts for major well-known artists. Since then, I’ve been around in the entertainment industry. I consider myself to be ambitious, talented, and humble. My favorite on-set moment was when myself and “Sam” started (play) arguing in from of everyone to get in character and everyone thought we were serious.

Kevin Cannon: The Man

Senior (in the way that gets me discounts) from Louisville, KY. Found out I rock a Bowler-Ascot combo. My favorite moment is when I found out the Director had a twin sister. Up to that moment, I thought you were messing with me. 

About Us

This film started out as an email to various students in the cinema studies, theatre, art, and other departments at the University of Tennessee last fall. Since then, fifteen students came together to jointly write, produce, edit, and market a short film. We all have a range of experience and expertise that has led us throughout the process to finally make something for the public. 

We thank our actors for working within our learning curve and joint schedules, our friends and families for supporting us during a hectic time, and each other for filling in the holes within our realm of knowledge. A special thanks goes out to our professor, Heather Coker Hawkins, as the person who brought us all together to learn about and create our short film, Welcome, Sam!


A young college student discovers pictures of them self online depicting different versions of their life. Horrified, they go on a journey that explores their self identity.

College student, Sam Harmon, is distant and left out by his friends Alex and Brenden. While he is walking alone, a mysterious man gives him a pamphlet with only Sam’s name and a URL. When Sam investigates the URL, he discovers a website with voyeuristic pictures of him, his friends, and people he’s never met. He tries to reach out to Alex, who ignores him. The website is gone the next day.

On his way to class Sam recognizes a girl from the website’s pictures: Haley is promoting for her improv group. She convinces Sam to attend. Sam brushes off Alex and Brenden and comes out of his shell at the improv show. At her apartment afterwards, Haley offers that Sam should join the group, but Sam is evasive. When he tries the website again, Sam discovers that the photos of Alex and Brenden are gone.

The next day, Sam runs into the mysterious man again. Sam interrogates him but only gets cryptic comments in return. Alex confronts Sam in his apartment and insults Sam’s new friends in the improv group. Sam accuses Alex of using him and not caring. Alex leaves. Sam discovers once again that he is unable to access the website. He joins Haley and their friends at improv practice.

Get in Touch

1715 Volunteer Blvd.
213 Art + Architecture Bldg
Knoxville, TN 37996-2410

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