The Orange County Register – Family and friends pitch in to help a budding film career

Con The Corruption of Shawn Helm

His mom and dad are executive producers. His friends are in the film.

Director Brandon Bennett worked up a sweat Sunday evening making sure the people on his guest list – 55 in total – got to the Wilshire Theatre in Fullerton on time.

“Today I see my son go from a boy with inspiration to a professional,” said Bennett’s mother, Linda Lifur-Bennett.

“He’s had the heart and soul of an artist since he’s been in the seventh grade.”

Sunday concluded the first Fullerton Film Festival, which featured 40 films over four days. Sunday’s event showcased Orange County filmmakers and Spanish language films.

Bennett, a 23-year-old who graduated from Chapman University’s film school in May, premiered “Con: The Corruption of Shawn Helm,” a movie about a writer who tries to pull off a heist after researching con jobs for a screenplay.

Sunday evening, the audience whistled and let out loud “woo-woos” during the opening shots of Bennett’s film.

The young director said he was watching the audience more than the movie.

They laughed and cheered at all the right places and it ended with a loud ovation from a crowd of more than 100.

He’s now hoping “Con” gets accepted into film festivals, where, like a good resume, it could land him more directing work.

The roles in “Con” are taken largely by his friends and family. Ryan Eggold, whom Bennett has known since the fifth grade, plays the lead, smooth-operating thief.

“I would have beat him up if he gave it to someone else,” Eggold said.

Bennett used the old Fox Fullerton Theatre office – which was once a bank building – for the bank in which the heist takes place.

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