ABOUT THE FILM
“In the Spring of 2018, I pitched Wander as a senior thesis project to a panel of professors as a part of the new senior film process. Wander was one of 170 projects pitched and one of 36 films that was greenlit. I initially wanted to tell a story about a small moment that would show small steps towards growth for a character. The idea for Wander came from my great-grandmother. As a child, my great-grandmother tried to pet a duck only to be chased away, creating the tale she proceeded to tell for the rest of her life. It was a story that stuck with me because she always enjoyed telling it as a very comedic event.
I think a lot of kids end up at some point making a dog snap at them or get chased by a mother duck because they simply don’t know any better. That sort of “snap back” from something a kid loves and from an action that they may not consider harmful, can often be one of the first times a child has to consider how another creature would like to be treated. I decided to create a story about a child learning empathy towards animals and encountering the impact that her actions could have. Nia, our main character, is an energetic kid who loves nature but goes about her day without considering her impact on it. Wander has just that small spark for Nia about her effect on the world and the realization that she needs to consider others.
Our crew was original assigned seven female artists, but we have been fortunate enough to have grown to a team of over sixteen talented artists helping to make this film a reality. I started this project knowing some of the crew, but I’ve been incredibly lucky to gain such a great group of people to work with and be around for the long hours we have worked on this project. Everyone had to step up, learn new things, and work beyond their specializations for this project to succeed. This crew has gone above and beyond for a year to create a short film and senior capstone project of which we can be very proud.”
-Erin O’ Neal, Director
Wander tells the story of a curious, young girl, Nia, as she explores a forest path in search of new discoveries. Nia is an energetic, ten-year-old who loves nature. Even though she loves animals of all kinds, she is oblivious to the destructive, but unintentional, impact she has on any she comes across. As she marvels at the woods around her, she creates havoc for the creatures she loves most until she comes across a family of wild ducks. In an attempt to pet one of the ducklings, Nia is forced to find a newfound courage and respect for the animals she cares for.