Student films shine at festival

Ben Haws, junior media communications major, talks about his films presented March 26 at the Student Film Festival in W.D. Powell Theatre. | Photo by Jacob Moore

By Katie Cooper,Staff Writer

The ninth annual Student Film Festival was held Monday and Tuesday evenings, giving students a chance to exhibit their film-making abilities and win a cash prize. Judges awarded the cast and crew of the ten film entries for their work in eighteen categories.

Winners included:
•Best Long-Form Film, William Aaron Rowland’s “Crimson and Black”
•Best Short-Form Film: Julia Hembree’s “Primeval Light”
•Student Activities Council Students’ Choice Award: Treasure Hightower’s “Thick as Thieves”
•Best Original Score: Clark Benedetti for “Crimson and Black”
•Best Use of Music: Julia Hembree’s “Primeval Light”
•Best Editing: Ben Wright for “A Glimpse” and Josh Rhyne for “Thick as Thieves”
•Best Screenplay: Tyler Litton’s “A Glimpse”
•Best Cinematography: William Aaron Rowland for “Crimson and Black”
•Best Title Design: Treasure Hightower for “Thick as Thieves”
•Best Production Design: Treasure Hightower for “Thick as Thieves”
•Best Choreography: Julia Hembree for “Primeval Light”
•Best Voice-over: Joe Dresser in “A Glimpse”
•Best Supporting Performances: Jill Taylor, Devin Hall and Santa Bear Grylls in “A Making Of”
•Best Male Comedic Performance: Stephen Charlton in “A Making Of”
•Best Female Comedic Performance: Natalie Schklar in “A Making Of”
•Best Male Dramatic Performance: Ben Haws in “Crimson and Black”
•Best Female Dramatic Performance: Heather Nichols in “Thick as Thieves”
•American Institute of Graphic Arts Best Film Campaign Design: Ben Hamilton for “Primeval Light”

The festival was directed by Cam Tracy, web development agent for university communications, and Chris Blair, associate professor of communication arts and coordinator of digital media studies.

Students received the opportunity on Monday evening to screen their films in the W.D. Powell Theatre and discuss what went into the making of their movies.

“There is just something so rewarding about finally showing all your hard work to people and getting positive feedback,”  said  Ben Wright, student president of The Union Film Society. “It makes everything worth it. ”

Members of the audience voted on their favorite films.

In addition, during intermission, for the first time ever, audience members voted on their favorite advertisements for the films on display in the Penick Academic Complex.

Students spent a great amount of time producing their films and preparing for the event.

They created the storylines, gathered equipment, found actors, recorded audio and edited their films.

“Primeval Light,” a film directed and photographed by Julia Hembree, sophomore art major, is a stop-motion film consisting of approximately 4,000 photographs.

“A Making of,” directed by Peyton Penuel, freshman digital media studies major, and Devin Hall, freshman theater and speech double major, is a comedy about the stresses of filmmaking.

Genres ranged from love stories to comedies. At times, laughter rang out in the theater. Other times, viewers were deep in thought.

Organizers showed eight short-form films ranging from one minute to seven minutes and two long-form films ranging from 11 to 13   minutes.

“I wanted to go above and beyond for my final project,” Wright said. “It was my first time working with professional equipment and a real crew.”

Many of the students’ films were produced for assignments in classes such as Digital Storytelling and History of Animation.

Ben Haws, junior media communications major,  directed “The Man Who Desperately Wanted To Fly,” a stop-motion assignment for his History of Animation class.

“It was assigned just to show how much work goes into animation,” Haws said.

For those who could not attend the first screening, the films were replayed continuously on Tuesday afternoon.

“The festival is a good way to get yourself recognized and have people appreciate the hard work that goes into making these films,” Wright said.

Andrew Hunt, a director from New York City, spoke to students Tuesday evening.

Hunt has won numerous awards in music, TV and film. His most recent film is “The Love Game.”

Many of the students want to be filmmakers, while others entered the festival just to display their passion and enjoy showing it to the public.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.