Lights… Camera… Southwest Airlines?
The Dallas-based carrier has gotten into the filmmaking business with its first-ever brand film, “Alone in Tombstone.” The short film is based on a short story by E.A. Comiskey and was directed by Kelsey Taylor (who directed the short film “Alien: Specimen” for 20th Century Fox).
“Alone in Tombstone” is a coming-of-age tale about life, love, and loss. Filmed on location at Mescal Movie Set in Benson, Arizona, it tells the story of a young woman searching for her place in life when she suddenly encounters a surprise visitor.
Project began with a writing contest
The project began in 2021, when Southwest and Wattpad, a leading webnovel platform, celebrated the Southwest’s 50th Anniversary with a writing contest called The Southwest: Storytellers On The Rise. The contest asked the Wattpad writing community to share stories of kindness rooted in travel. After 10 finalists were selected, a story by Comiskey was named the winner.
Comiskey’s prize included a writing mentorship with Beth Reekles, the Wattpad author behind the global Young Adult film franchise “The Kissing Booth” from Netflix and Komixx Entertainment. She also won other prizes aimed at helping her advance her writing career.
Southwest and Wattpad also hired Comiskey as a paid consultant on the film set to incorporate her vision for “Alone in Tombstone.”
“The creative community brings rich stories to life through various forms of art, including music, writing, and filmmaking,” Brandy King, managing director of communications at Southwest Airlines, said in a statement. “The Southwest: Storytellers On The Rise writing contest uncovered meaningful stories of human kindness, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to bring ‘Alone in Tombstone’ to the screen. Our On The Rise platform supports creatives by providing them a career lift in their journey to reach their goals. We look forward to continuing to amplify new voices as creatives share their unique perspectives and pursue their dreams.”
Another participant on the project was Tongal, a platform for content creation used by studios, brands, and talent worldwide.
“Southwest built an impactful platform for advancing creators’ careers by connecting them to opportunities that are deeply authentic to their brand,” Tongal Co-Founder and CEO James DeJulio said in the statement.
“Supporting authors and creating new opportunities to celebrate and elevate their creativity is central to everything we do,” added Chris Mathieu, director of Wattpad brand partnerships. “We’re thrilled to debut our first Wattpad Brand Originals alongside Southwest Airlines and Tongal, highlighting the incredible creativity we see across Wattpad daily.”
On The Rise platform launched in 2017
Southwest’s On The Rise platform launched in 2017 with “Destination: Red Rocks,” a program featuring six up-and-coming musical artists from across the U.S., who competed for an opening set performance at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The content was made available for viewing by passengers on Southwest flights.
Building on that program’s success, Southwest expanded On The Rise, partnering with other live music events like Luck Reunion to showcase new talent and offering access to and placement on coveted lineups.
That led to Southwest’s support of creatives in the writing community through the Southwest: Storytellers On The Rise writing contest, and the airline’s first brand film.
“Alone in Tombstone” got a premiere showing in New York City Wednesday, followed by a panel with director Kelsey Taylor, Comiskey, and representatives from Southwest, Wattpad, and Tongal.
Short film can be screened now on YouTube and starting in June on Southwest flights
“Alone in Tombstone” is available for viewing now on Southwest’s YouTube channel and will be offered via the free movie offerings onboard Southwest flights beginning June 1.
You can also read the 10 finalist stories and Comiskey’s winner by going to the Southwest Airlines profile on Wattpad.
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.