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ISU student stars in dystopian climate change film at Normal Theater

 Ben Meenan stars in SUNDAY*, which will be presented at the Normal Theater at 10 p.m. Friday, April 21.
Ben Meenan
Ben Meenan stars in SUNDAY*, which will be presented at at 10 p.m. Friday, April 21, the Normal Theater.

Every seven years, a darkened world holds its breath the night before the sun finally rises. That's the plot behind a feature length film an Illinois State University student has helped produce.

The movie SUNDAY* will be presented at 10 p.m. Friday at the Normal Theater. The main character in the dystopian, coming-of-age stoner thriller is an anxious teenager named Leo who fumbles his attempt to ask his crush about seeing the sunrise and later is badly hurt in a car accident with his friends.

ISU mass media major Ben Meenan helped produce SUNDAY* and he plays Leo. Meenan said the film brings to light Leo's illusions about his world, his friendships and himself.

“Our culture and our society kind of forgets to be thankful (for) the little things in life, like the environment and the sun,” Meenan said in a WGLT Sound Ideas interview.

Meenan said a staff of about 30 people helped make the movie, led by lifelong friend and director Adam Ahmed. Meenan said he and Ahmed have been working on this film since 2021.

Meenan said the two friends used to make short, funny videos that turned into short films until Ahmed asked him if he wanted to make movies.

“I was like, ‘Yeah dude, of course. I want to act. This is my dream,'" Meenan recalled. “So we just got starting to work.”

The filming took place in Normal and Bloomington, Indiana, Meenan said. After the filming, the editing process took six to nine months to complete.

Meenan stated the biggest inspiration for the film was “just thinking about the world and the environment we live in right now. And with climate change coming into further discussions within our current world, we kind of just thought of this dystopian idea which can relate to our world in itself.”

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Emily Bollinger is a photography intern at WGLT. She is also a student at Illinois State University.
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