Halcyon Days is a short film written and directed by 21-year-old, independent filmmaker Sophie Penn. With immense teamwork between Sophie and her two best friends, Arora McCargar and Maria Raad, the trio was able to crowdfund over 20,000 dollars in only 30 days to make Halcyon Days. Arora worked as the producer of the flick while Maria worked as the director of photography. Each of them have very unique skill sets, backgrounds, and cultures which created a natural synergy between them to make this project happen. The three met while attending Syracuse University’s film VPA and Newhouse programs, and the trio will be returning shortly to finish out their degrees.
Based in West Texas, the movie is a little slice of life, with the creators inviting viewers to let themselves fall back into adolescent naiveté and idealism. A coming-of-age drama, Halcyon Days follows two young teenagers, Stella and Rye (played by real-life acting couple Kylen Chen and Paul Grant), who meet online and quickly fall in love. When a dramatic incident happens between Stella and her parents, she and Rye make the impulsive decision to run away and escape their home lives. The two embark on a three-day escapade across West Texas with the aim of starting a new life together. However, tensions rise when Rye begins displaying unstable tendencies, and Stella begins to second guess everything. An unconventional romance, Halcyon Days explores the implications of love in this dark fiction on young relationships.
I am lucky enough to be best pals with all THREE of the wonderful filmmakers behind this project, so I sat down with them in late November to discuss all things Halcyon Days and a little bit more… Sophie, Arora, and Maria are pioneers in their field and are carving a way for all young, female filmmakers by showing that if you work hard enough and stay present, you truly can accomplish anything… Additionally, during the shooting of the film (which wrapped December 6th), I got the pleasure of housing crew members and my best friends Robby Shaffer and Charlie Hane… So I wanted to quickly shout out those talented gents and say that seeing them throughout the 4 days they were on set made me realize how HARD it actually is to make a movie. It’s high-stress and takes acute mental toughness and resilience, so that was really cool to get a sneak peek of… Check out Happen Twice’s Q&A with Sophie, Arora, and Maria below and learn more about the movie and how to watch it here!