Death To Prom

Two best friends make the best of going to high school by dreaming up fashion magazine photo shoots, and bribing their siblings to model for them.  René indulges his fantasies and loves designing clothes. Frankie lives for her camera and punk rock. They both fall for Sasha, the shy soccer player with a soft spot for poems by Pushkin. When the three of them are caught between competing invitations to prom, their high-fashion drama could destroy their friendships along with the entire prom.

  • Matthew Stenerson
    Director
  • Jeremy Wilker
    Director
  • Matthew Stenerson
    Writer
  • Matthew Stenerson
    Producer
  • Jeremy Wilker
    Producer
    TRIUMPH67
  • Ricardo Vazquez
    Key Cast
  • Hina Khan
    Key Cast
  • Andrew Keives
    Key Cast
  • Johêr Coleman
    Key Cast
    Earth Girls Are Easy, Head of the Class
  • Catherine Hansen
    Key Cast
    Profile of a Killer
  • Sam Noble
    Key Cast
  • Tony Czech
    Key Cast
    Holiday Beach, Profile of a Killer
  • Adelaide Johanson
    Key Cast
  • Dale Pfeilsticker
    Key Cast
  • Ross Destiche
    Key Cast
    The Control Group
  • Kirsten Gregerson
    Key Cast
    Profile of a Killer, Kumiko The Treasure Hunter, Lambent Fuse, Stuck Between Stations
  • John Potter
    Key Cast
    Glee
  • Jeremy Wilker
    Cinematographer
    TRIUMPH67, The Negative, Typeface
  • Christopher Straub
    Wardrobe
    Project Runway
  • Project Type:
    Feature
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Romance, Teen, Gay, LGBT
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 34 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 1, 2013
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.35:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Flyway Film Festival
    Pepin, Wisconsin
    October 18, 2013
    North American Premiere
  • Sound Unseen
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    November 16, 2013
  • Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    November 9, 2013
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival
    Minneapolis, MN
    April 6, 2014
  • Midwest Music Festival
    Winona, MN
    April 26, 2014
Director Biography - Matthew Stenerson, Jeremy Wilker

Matt Stenerson, writer/producer
Matt Stenerson’s screen­plays Death to Prom and Junk Drawer were final­ists in the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship and the Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Screenplay Competition. In 2012 Matt won the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowship for Death To Prom and was a final­ist in the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. This is his direc­to­r­ial debut.

Jeremy Wilker, cinematographer/producer
Jeremy Wilker shot on the award-winning Kartemquin doc­u­men­tary TYPEFACE. His first fea­ture film project (as producer/cinematographer/editor), TRIUMPH67, received an Honorable Mention at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival 2011 and was an offi­cial selec­tion of the Mizna Arab Film Festival and the Chicago Palestine Film Festival 2011. He has also won sev­eral awards for his short form work. This is his direc­to­r­ial debut.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Six Questions with director/screenwriter Matt Stenerson

Q: Were there any films or filmmakers that inspired Death to Prom?
The biggest influence was obviously John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink. When I sat down, I thought: I want to write a Pretty in Pink/Breakfast Club/Some Kind of Wonderful, but with a gay character. I loved John Hughes movies while growing up and still love them. I always felt like Duckie (from Pretty in Pink) and Watts (from Some Kind of Wonderful) were really gay characters. I felt I could really identify with them, but they still wound up with someone of the opposite sex at the end of the movie. I’m a little in love with lover’s triangles, so I was also inspired by films with that kind of conflict, such as The Wings of the Dove, Cabaret, Almost Famous, and (of course) Pretty in Pink.

Q: What motivated you to write Death to Prom?
I wanted to write a movie where sexuality and ethnicity weren’t really an issue. I wanted the issues to be more about friendships, similarities between people, first crushes, creativity and individuality. I feel like the young people of today are moving on and the adults are the ones who are hanging onto old ideas and boundaries when it comes to gay or race issues. I also really wanted to show the unique bond between gay guys and straight girls. So many movies gloss over that unique bond.

Q: Death to Prom has a unique look. What led you to this aesthetic?
I was inspired from everyone from Alexander McQueen to Pedro Almodovar. The biggest thing I wanted for Death to Prom, was for it to be colorful. I feel like I see teens wearing thrift store clothes just because they’re a great color or pattern. I picked wardrobe from Goodwill and Salvation Army that I loved, but am “too reserved” to wear. In a way, I’m living out my obnoxious fashion dreams through the characters.

Q: Are there any real-life elements in Death to Prom?
Death to Prom is most definitely all fiction, but some of my close friends inspired a lot of fun lines, looks, and ideas. The Rene character was mostly based on a friend I met when I lived in Austin, Texas. His irrational commitment to fashion was insane and fun. One fall, he traded in a silver car for a gold one to match his Halloween outfit. He lived (and still lives) for fashion, color, design and fun. He once described wanting a fish aquarium where the rocks would be white, the plastic underwater trees would be white, and he’d “get the fish in white.” He’s a rarity in New York, (where he lives now) but was a SUPER rarity in the middle of Texas!

Q: What was your prom experience like?
I actually had a pretty mellow prom experience. I was totally exhausted because my friends and I all camped out the night before in Afton, MN and never went to sleep. None of us drank anything, we just sat around the fire laughing all night. We went down to the St. Croix River to watch the sun come up, it was a perfect night. My prom date was a really good friend, but I felt bad, because I was a sleepy boring zombie by the time of the dance.

Q: What is happening with the film now?
The film is out in the world. Check Amazon, Hulu, VHX, SnagFilms, Vimeo, IndieReign and others.