True story. A man’s beloved pet dies. He preserves it in a freezer until a proper burial can be arranged. His family holds an elaborate backyard ceremony for the deceased. If you’re Salt Lake Community College film student Keenan Panti, that’s material for a short movie, one that recently debuted at the Salt Lake City Main Library.
During a Q & A after his short movie Freezer Burn, an audience member asked if the film was based on director Panti’s own family. “No, this is based on a very close friend and his childhood experiences,” Panti said. “He’s got plenty more stories that I’m looking to make into short films for as long as he will let me exploit him.” Panti also showed the audience a short film he produced in a day at his own home.
Freezer Burn cast and crew answer questions after the film's debut.
The movie, starring professional actors, is billed as a “family comedy,” focusing on the difficulty of dealing with the loss of life. The life, in this case, is Dad’s prized pet poodle. It’s up to 10-year-old Dillon to hold together the hodgepodge of personalities he calls family. The film was shot in 2016 on location in Salt Lake City and at SLCC’s 3,000 square-foot sound stage in the Center for Arts & Media. Channing Lowe and Jon Clark were among the SLCC faculty members who helped on the project.
Panti shot Freezer Burn on SLCC’s shoestring budget, using college resources for equipment, lighting, set design and materials and a crew made up of fellow film production students at SLCC. He hopes the film will have legs beyond SLCC and online. “I wanted it to feel more like a throwback family, summer comedy. So, things are bright, happy and cheery, and it does kind of end on a sweeter note,” he said. “I’m really proud of what we have and I’m excited to get this out in the festival circuit.”
Below are photos from the filming of Freezer Burn on location at a home in Salt Lake City and in the sound stage at SLCC.