Indiana State University Newsroom

English professor's film plays at Cannes Film Festival

October 26, 2009

An Indiana State University professor's attempt to expand his writing skills has put him in an unfamiliar position.

It also landed his work at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Just one year ago, Assistant Professor Mark Lewandowski wasn't certain he even wanted to write for films. He considers himself a creative writer, having published only short fiction and creative non-fiction. So he was hesitant when his former college classmate from the University of Kansas contacted him and asked him to write a script.

"It just wasn't something I would normally do," he said. "The idea of writing for actors was pretty intimidating."

Lewandowski and his former classmate, Hans Montelius, have kept in touch since they graduated in 1988 even though Montelius has returned to his native Sweden. Despite that distance and Lewandowski's uncertainty about the task, he wrote a short screenplay that involved a twist on a classic scenario.

In it, a man is driving with his girlfriend in search of a location they cannot find. The man has failed to bring the directions and refuses to stop the car and ask for guidance, so his girlfriend employs the use of a GPS to help them reach their destination. Later in the bedroom, the scenario is similar. When the man once again has difficulty reaching the destination that will fulfill the woman sexually, she imitates the voice of the GPS and uses the same terminology to guide him in satisfying her.

After Lewandowski completed the script, Montelius made a few minor revisions to it, filmed it and finished the editing in April.

In May, people from all over the world viewed "Positioning" at the Short Film Corner of the Cannes International Film Festival in France. In July, it was part of the San Gio Video Festival in Verona, Italy, and in September it was seen in Illinois at the Chicago International REEL Shorts Film Fest and the Naperville Independent Film Festival. Next month, "Positioning" will be screened at the High Desert Shorts International Film Festival in Nevada.

While several audiences have now had the opportunity to view Lewandowski's work on the big screen, the writer still hasn't and isn't sure he wants to.

"I think I'd be too nervous," he said. "What if they didn't laugh?"

His questioning is evidence that Lewandowski is still transitioning into this new style of writing. But it's hard for him to dispute the small splash he's made now that his name is on the Internet Movie Database,, and on a business card for Montelius' production company Cinemantrix.

Together, the men have already begun work on a follow-up project. They met in May for a three-week work session at a writing colony in Eureka Springs, Ark. and came away with a full-length movie screenplay they're now trying to sell.

While Lewandowski is uncertain where the next project will take him, he said if it is as successful as "Positioning" has been he'll be happy.

"Obviously, it will be great if we could sell this," he said. "It's sort of like winning the lottery."

Contact: Mark Lewandowski, assistant professor of English, Department of English, Indiana State University at 812-237-8552 or

Writer: Rachel Wedding McClelland, assistant director of media relations, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University at 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

Mark Lewandowski, assistant professor of English, has ventured into new territory with his screenplay "Positioning." The short film has found an audience at several film festivals - including perhaps the most popular one in Cannes, France - and will play again in November at a festival in Nevada.

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