Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L

Shannon Smith drowned while rescuing
Cody vonAppen in March 1997.

Film about
Shannon Smith
in the works

A Kauai Community College
student has plans to produce a
docu-drama about the life
of the late UH player

By Paul Arnett


Joe Moore as Fred vonAppen?

If Rosemary Smith has anything to say about the budding film project depicting the life of her late son, Shannon, she believes the Channel 2 news anchor would be perfect for the part to play the former Hawaii head football coach.

Not that any casting director will be knocking on anyone's door in the near future. The film project is the brain-child of 20-year-old Kauai Community College student Paul Booth, who served on the staff at Winner's Camp with the former UH place-kicker.

At this point, he's trying to decide the mix of documentary and fiction that would go into the 60-minute film about Smith, who drowned at Slippery Slide in March of 1997 after saving the life of vonAppen's son, Cody.

"I've been working on the project since August," Booth said last night. "For the most part, I've been trying to raise money for it. We need at least $10,000 to get started."

Kauai Film Commission director Judy Drosd said yesterday that this is Booth's second project. He did a 10-minute film on AIDS that is shown on the Hawaii campus.

"He is a sincere and hard-working young man whose company (Brotherhood Production) is listed with us," Drosd said. "This is a very worthy project."

Rosemary Smith said she was torn about the possible film.

"If he were still alive, we wouldn't even be talking about this," Smith said yesterday. "But the fact he lived such a positive life and that what he did touched so many lives, I think it's wonderful someone was willing to do this."

A production company on Oahu filmed part of last Saturday's game between Hawaii and Washington State. Booth wants to use some of the footage in his film to give it authenticity.

"Hopefully, we're going to start developing the script with Shannon's brothers (Ryan and Sean) in the next week or so," Booth said. "I have a cousin who looks a lot like Shannon, so we may use him. I don't know yet."

Booth plans to enroll in Kapiolani Community College next semester, so he can shoot footage around Oahu. Rosemary Smith believes Booth is perfect for the project.

"He knew Shannon at Winner's Camp and worked with him, so he knows what our son was about," Smith said. "It's very hard for me because Shannon would be graduating this year.

"Dan Robinson came over to see us and tell us how important Shannon was in his life. He wanted to wear No. 19 in tribute to him. He told me he wished Hawaii would retire Shannon's number."

Rosemary Smith said her son's annual $25,000 scholarship at Hawaii is fully endowed. She also has helped raise money for a $10,000 Winner's Camp scholarship in Shannon's name.

"The holidays are always difficult for us around here," Rosemary Smith said. "We miss Shannon more each year. Christmas is bad, but Easter is worse (he died on Easter weekend). I have three anniversaries to live through in the spring -- Easter, Shannon's birthday and the anniversary of his death.

"I'm so happy for the team's success this year. But I feel badly for Fred vonAppen because after what happened to Shannon, I don't think his heart wasn't in it anymore. He seemed a hollow man. I would love Joe Moore to consider being in this project. To me, he's perfect for the part to play Coach vonAppen."
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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