Luke Selmont Sets the Scene for Success

Luke Selmont (far top left) and his friends, amateur actors, are all dressed up in their military costumes post-shooting for his short film.
Luke Selmont (far top left) and his friends, amateur actors, are all dressed up in their military costumes post-shooting for his short film.
Selmont instructs Julian Morris (‘20) and Jeremiah Johnson (‘20) in Morris’ characters’ death scene.

“I like to be able to get into that character, to transport myself,” Luke Selmont (‘20) said about acting. Selmont, who recently filmed a short movie of his self-written, directed, and produced film, began his interest in the film industry through acting classes taken as a child. He decided to apply to film school this year because of this childhood hobby which he finds that he can apply to his other interests: playing guitar, videogames, and football.

On the football field, Selmont finds himself breaking from his shell of being a self-identified “quiet and modest” person. As a senior, he motivates his younger teammates to get into a game mindset. He believes in leading by example. “I don’t like talking a lot if I can live up to what I say, so ‘lead by example’ is something I like to do.”

Although, Selmont is a leader on the football team now, he admits that he was unable to assume this position as a leader in middle school due to his lack of confidence. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself, so I’ve gotten more confident.”

This change made him ‘self-fulfilled’, but Selmont also agrees that not he nor anyone is ever completely done developing. “You always have to keep on working, I don’t think you’re ever completely fulfilled…that’s the whole point of life, it’s an endless battle…you’re never going to be perfect but you want to get as close to perfection as you can.”

He aims to be a mentally tough and confident person with ambition enough to accomplish his goals, but enough compassion to help other people accomplish their goals. However, he says, “I want to be able to improve what I do, but I don’t really want to change exactly who I am…I don’t want to be a shell of a person and change my shell to appease different people.”

Bimilin Lahiri set this example for him, Selmont says. Lahiri is a well-known physician, teacher, and to Luke, a grandfather. Lahiri was born in India and moved to America where he joined the military and later taught students at the University of Connecticut. Selmont admires his perseverance and morals. “He’s very happy and successful and not just in the material way, in a moral way as well.”

Selmont has been interested in his family history as well as the history of the world since the beginning of high school. From talking to men in the Military Academy, he learned of the tribulations of PTSD after war. This inspired the topic of his film school application: a Vietnam war movie. Influenced by his dad, former Emmy winner, to use the setting of Jacksonville to make his film stand out, he decided to film in a forest. Within the film, he uses a sequence of the past events of the war with scenes of the soldiers with PTSD in the present.

Although Selmont wanted the movie to be ‘big on acting’ he decided to use his Bolles friends, Julian Morris (’20), Jeremiah Johnson (’20), Patric Menk (’22), Sam Levin (’20), and Andre Parker (’20), for the film, working around their acting experiences. He decided to use his friends in order to establish a sense of brotherhood in the film. “My friends are close to each other… if I got a bunch of random actors, it would be a lot harder to have that same appreciation for everybody.”

Even as a child, he was interested in directing. He describes a particular flip video camera which he filmed memories of his family and friends all over the world. Because he frequently moved as a child, his camera was lost. He even describes his father making homemade movies with similar video cameras.

Selmont says about directing: “I was always kind of around it so I grew to like it, but I never realized it.”