Watch: CCM Acting shares student film "Sonder"

Students highlight "a moment of joy, support and community between Black women" in new film

Art imitates life in a new CCM Acting student short film that shows a group of college actresses during a sleepover where they anticipate their acceptance (or rejection) to a coveted summer acting institute program.

"Sonder" is a short film created by CCM Acting students as part of Queen City Shorts, a project led by Professor D'Arcy Smith. Content disclaimer: This student short film includes explicit language. Watch on CCM's YouTube channel

Directed by rising CCM Acting senior, Becca Anderson, the short film stars classmates Joysoline IvorySmith, TaShauna Ajoi Jenkins, Yodeet Nymberg, Jahmiya Quarles and Kenny Rayborn. 

"We've been working on this film since August 2023, when the initial proposal was due, Anderson says. "All of the Black rising seniors and TaShauna Ajoi Jenkins (an Acting Apprentice at Ensemble Theatre) formed a group because we wanted to tell a story that highlighted a moment of joy, support and community between Black women. It was really wonderful to work with Black creatives on a film like this, and to work with my peers in a way that we haven't had a chance to work together yet."

The full creative team and cast of "Sonder." Photo/ Provided by Becca Anderson.

The full creative team and cast of "Sonder." Photo/ Provided by Becca Anderson.

The students didn't film until February 2024, so they had about six months to prepare. This was Anderson's first time directing for film and the longer pre-production period gave her more time to study the script and learn about the logistics needed to make a film.

"I enjoyed directing," she says. "I found that I used my acting training the most on our shoot date and during our read-throughs and rehearsal. Because almost everyone in the group is a CCM Acting student, we speak the same 'language,' and it was easy to communicate what I wanted out of them in the moment." 

"As an actor, I'm not used to making decisions that affect everyone in the room in this way, and I had to learn to trust myself and my voice so that everyone on set could trust me as well."

Behind the scenes of "Sonder." Photo/ Provided by Becca Anderson.

Behind the scenes of "Sonder." Photo/ Provided by Becca Anderson.

"Sonder" centers on a group of five friends who reminisce on life and love as they wait to learn whether or not they've been accepted into a coveted summer program. They all want in for various reasons — to prove their talents to themselves and others, to learn and challenge themselves. As with life, not everything goes according to plan, some are accepted into the program and some are not. They all still celebrate and support each other with love. It's a story of friendship that gives a glimpse into the hopes, disappointments and dreams students experience in college. 

Speaking about her own time in college, Anderson points to professors and classes that have impacted her development. "I have to shout out Samuel Stricklen, who I just had for Movement III. He brought back a sense of play that I lost in the rigor of the program and in how seriously I take my training. He has a love of constant discovery that is infectious, and my entire class found a renewed sense of wonder under his guidance. Brant Russell's History of Directing class and Denton Yockey's Directing class also introduced me to directing, and it's now something I want to continue to learn about and include in my career going forward."

"CCM has challenged me in ways I didn't know I needed. I come out of every year as a more developed artist and person. The lessons I've learned both in class and out of class have shaped the way I think about acting, entertainment as a whole, and the future I want for myself."

Anderson is spending her summer as an Oak Park Festival Acting Apprentice. Through the apprenticeship she will understudy Benvolio in the Festival's outdoor production of Romeo & Juliet in Austin Gardens in Oak Park, Illinois. She will also participate in workshops and perform in a showcase. View Anderson's Backstage profile.

Creative Team:

  • Director: Becca Anderson 
  • Writers: TaShauna Ajoi Jenkins and Joysoline IvorySmith 
  • Producer: Yodeet Nymberg 
  • Director of Photography: Kiara Gross 
  • Editor: Carlee Coulehan 
  • Costume Designer: Kenny Rayborn 
  • Gaffer: Trevor Payne 
  • Boom Operator: Steve Lang 
  • Script Supervisor: Grace Neal


  • Kennedy: Joysoline IvorySmith 
  • Niv: TaShauna Ajoi Jenkins 
  • Autumn: Yodeet Nymberg 
  • Khaliya: Jahmiya Quarles 
  • Destinni: Kenny Rayborn 


"Sparkle" Written, Composed, and Performed by LaTrell
Produced by Devin Burgess
Courtesy of Distrokid

"Runnin Free" Written, Composed, and Performed by Kayla Renée
Produced by
Courtesy of TUNECORE

Do you want to be an Actor?

Find the next stage of your career at CCM. Our Acting BFA program is internationally recognized for its quality and history of training successful actors. Our graduates follow careers in theatrefilmtelevision and digital media.

Training for the BFA in Acting at CCM includes:

  • broad actor training in Meisner, Stanislavski, Michael Chekhov, improvisation and classical text;
  • specialized voice training in voice-over, phonetics, dialects, singing, vocal violence and voice production;
  • comprehensive movement training in Viewpoints, Suzuki, Mask, Clowning, LeCoq and motion capture;
  • unparalleled stage combat training with our full-time SAFD certified Fight Master;
  • extensive training in acting for the camera;
  • performance training in heightened and poetic text, devised work and contemporary productions;
  • master classes and seminars with acclaimed professionals from around the world;
  • robust digital showcase for agents, managers and casting directors, with potential performances in New York and/or Los Angeles.

Learn more. 

Related Stories


FOX 19 features CCM E-Media’s ‘Hope After Hate’ project

June 15, 2020

Cincinnati news station FOX 19 interviewed UC College-Conservatory of Music E-Media Professor Hagit Limor about the innovative “Hope After Hate” project she is leading at CCM. Inspired by her own father’s experience during the Holocaust, Limor set out to create an immersive theatre and virtual reality project that shares his story with lessons to inspire action against acts of hatred and bigotry today.


Watch: CCM Acting shares student film "Sonder"

June 18, 2024

Art imitates life as CCM Acting student short film shows a group of college actresses during a sleepover where they anticipate their acceptance (or rejection) into a coveted summer acting institute program.