Simpson dormitory has long had a reputation for craziness, but ultimately, what happens in Simpson stays in Simpson, right?
Not for long.
A 10-minute documentary of the infamous dorm directed by former Hillsdale student Josh Hamilton will premiere Nov. 11 at the 10th annual Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth, Texas.
In past years, the festival has premiered blockbusters like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “The Imitation Game.”
Hamilton’s “Ecce Viri,” which is Latin for “Behold the Men,” was accepted into the film festival along with fewer than 100 other short films from an undisclosed number of submissions. While it does present national and global productions, the Lone Star festival primarily features films produced and directed by Texans, according to the festival’s website.
Hamilton said “Ecce Viri” is a coming-of-age film highlighting his view that Simpson dorm culture is instrumental in turning many of Hillsdale’s freshmen boys into men.
“Though I hate the term, Simpson is somewhat of a safe space for guys,” Hamilton said. “It’s a place where we can figure ourselves out spiritually and mentally without needing to keep up a facade of manly confidence.”
From late-night conversations to raids at high noon, Hamilton captured footage of the daily life inside the dorm throughout the spring semester of 2015. He also shot interviews with seniors who had spent their entire Hillsdale careers living in Simpson.
“Guys that stay here all four years don’t stay because of the building,” Mike Pope ’15 said. “We stay because of the community, because we learned together how to be responsible. All of us have changed so much since we were freshmen.”
Hamilton said he also conducted interviews with his grandfather in Texas during the summer of 2015, which he hoped would provide the film with the stabilizing influence of someone who knows what it takes to grow.
“I wanted to answer the question, ‘What does it mean to be a man?’” Hamilton said. “Beyond the macho caricature of manliness, I wanted to get at the fellowship and trust that are so prevalent in Simpson and so necessary for a boy to become a godly man.”
Hamilton left Hillsdale after the fall semester of 2015, a decision which he said he thinks helped shape the film.
“The nostalgia I felt after leaving helped me identify what was really valuable about my experience at Hillsdale and highlight it in the film,” he said.
Hamilton, who plans to become a filmmaker, said he was grateful for the opportunity that the festival provides aspiring directors.
“So far I’ve only been making commercials for local companies,” he said. “I still have a long road ahead of me, but I hugely appreciate the festival for providing me with a step in the right direction.”