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College of Arts and Sciences

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USC’s feature film “Hero” to premier in theaters and on streaming platforms

What’s new: A feature film produced by University of South Carolina students and faculty has made its way to the silver screen. 

The Department of Theatre and Dance produced the film “Hero” in 2022, and the feature premiered this spring at independent film festivals across the east coast. This fall, it will make its way to theaters and streaming platforms.

two men smiling in front of a banner board
Dustin Whitehead (Director) and Myles Isreal (Writer)

Why it matters: The film is a product of The Get on Set Initiative, supported by USC, the South Carolina Film Commission and Local

Cinema Studios. The program provides students with internships and hands-on experiences on professional film sets, allowing them to gain valuable industry experience. The initiative also creates economic opportunity for the state and university by bringing yearly film productions to SC.

The College of Arts and Sciences provides additional support through the McCausland Innovation Fund to keep Get on Set going. 

“At the heart of filmmaking is the art of gathering people,” says USC faculty member Dustin Whitehead, producer and director of “Hero” and co-founder of Local Cinema Studios. “Ultimately, the Get on Set Initiative will continue to create new partnerships, creative work and skill-building opportunities for students that amplify collaborations within the film industry in South Carolina, the Southeast and beyond.”

What it’s about: USC faculty, staff, students and alumni collaborated to film “Hero” in Columbia, S.C., in just one summer. The coming-of-age story follows Tre, a university student whose world is turned upside down when his ex-girlfriend reveals she is pregnant with his child. Whitehead, assistant professor of film and media performance, produced and directed the film, while students and recent graduates filled roles as actors and crew members.  


What’s next: Hero is slated to screen in theaters in November. It will also be available on streaming platforms, with more details forthcoming this fall. 

Meanwhile, Whitehead and his crew of students and faculty from USC and seven other universities in the southeast have begun production on the next Get on Set film. This summer’s project is called The Grand Strand, written and directed by Luke Lowder. The movie centers around Levi, a 14-year-old boy who is recently orphaned and must choose between entering foster care or the care of his eccentric — and perhaps unstable — distant relatives living in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Filming is set to wrap in early July.  

Follow the production process on social media @localcinemastudios and @thegrandstrand.

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