"Sharks Don't Bite" is a short film about two young girls who live dreadful lives. The two decide to follow one of their mother's travel journals and run away to Jamaica. On their journey, the two girls question their decision to leave, learn how to depend on each other, and ultimately face their own lives.

Director's vision

"Sharks Don't Bite" is a story that is worth telling. The key element that separates the story of "Sharks Don't Bite" with that of other runaway stories is the idea of dependence. Most runaway stories result in the characters realizing that they belong at home. But in this film, they realize that their home is in each other, and that they don't belong anywhere else. This film challenges the cliche that all young girls are weak and helpless, and instead depicts them as tough. They are capable and independent women who, throughout the course of the film, learn who they are, and how to trust in each other. It is the goal of my team and I to bring this theme to the center of the screen and show that Mamie and Tiff are strong and capable, and set them up as strong role models for young women, and society. This fresh perspective combined with beautiful environments will combine to create the most beautiful and intimate story that we possibly can.

Meet the Filmmakers

Elijah Watson Director/Co-Producer Benjamin Hartzell Director of Photography/Co-Producer
Elijah Watson is a senior Film and New Media major at the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film, and has known he wanted to be a filmmaker since he was a young child. When he was ten years old, Elijah decided to create his own remake of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That endeavor resulted in two things: a horrendous home movie, and a fiery passion for filmmaking. Since that moment, Elijah has dedicated almost the entirety of his life to perfecting his craft. He is driven by personal stories that can be told in creative and intimate ways. He works with his friends and colleagues to produce about five short films every year, and is constantly trying improve upon his craft in order to create the best stories that he possibly can. Benjamin Hartzell is a senior Film and New Media major at the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film, and he learned that he wanted to become a Director of Photography freshman year of high school. Ben loved the idea of influencing people's emotions with just the lighting and the framing of images. This led to a never ceasing curiosity and practice in the cinematic language. He has been working professionally in the film/video industry since he was 16 and has completed several internships in that field. He spent 3 months in Seattle, Washington last summer working with some of the best commercial production companies on the west coast. Ben loves the story of Sharks Don't Bite and is confident that his crew and he can tell that story with utmost excellence.

Student Film?

This film is apart of the filmmakers undergraduate capstone for their degree at the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film. The capstone film is the culmination of all their education at the school. The filmmakers have a great deal of experience and knowledge that they have obtained outside of the classroom. They both have been working on industry productions for several years all across United states. They both have completed internships with prominent people in the film making industry and have been taught by some great filmmakers. While this is a student film, the goal of the film is treat it like any professional who has been doing it for the past 20 years would.

Total Collaborative Filmography

Elijah Watson / Ben Hartzell
Forgetting Tomorrow The Controller Winner of Best Sync Film at Nebby Film Festival I Am The Messenger Series Up River Winner of Best Cinematography at Nebby Film Festival Passage to Persephone Growing Pains Water Closet Smoke Short Film Short Film 3 Short Films Short Film Web Series Short Film Short Film Short Film Co-producers, Director / DP Producer / Director Co-Producers, Director / DP Producer / Director Producer / DP Co-Producers, Director / DP Producer / Director Co-Producers, DP/ Director 2015 2016 2016 2016 2016 2017 2017 2017

Meet the production Designer