The 19th annual FilmFest gala awarded students for their work in short films on Friday at the Paramount Theater downtown. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Flashback.’ 14 student groups submitted films to this year’s competition with 14 awards being earned at the end of the night. The winners for this year’s FilmFest include:
- Best Picture – “The Trapper”
- Best Documentary – “What Is Church?”
- Best Director – Rylee Spaulding and Kaden Vasquez, “Cookie Logic”
- Best Producer – Isabel Gallegos, “Oubaitouri”
- Best Writer – Dillon Gutierrez and Ryan Shupe, “The Gambler”
- Best Editor – Jonah Norcross, Rylee Spaulding, and Kaden Vasquez, “Cookie Logic”
- Best Cinematography – Kaden Vasquez, “The Trapper”
- Best Production Designer – Ana Mayes, “Cookie Logic”
- Best Sound Designer – Caleb Shields, “The Method”
- Best Original Music – Caleb Hemsworth, “The Trapper”
- Best Visual Effects – Caleb Myers, “Fawn”
- Best Actor – Dillon Gutierrez, “The Gambler”
- Best Actress – Lauren MacLeod, “Cookie Logic”
- People’s Choice – “She Liked Green”
Students involved signed up and attended several meetings at the beginning of the year and workshops in the Learning Studio to prepare them for this endeavor. The director is the head of the team, and they either write or receive a film to produce or assemble their own crew of actors, sound production and more.
Maggie Norris, senior finance and accounting double major from Waller, said involvement throughout her college experience has given her a new perspective.
“My favorite part of the experience is actually being on set for the films,” Norris said. “The energy, the drive, the excitement, the acting, even the occasional boredom make for an incredibly unique experience that changed my point of view on movies for the better.”
With preparation starting in the fall, these students have been working to meet several deadlines. The dates for submission change every year, but this year, the final scripts were due Feb. 17 for feedback, rough cuts were due March 21 and final cuts were due April 7. Norris said she faced challenges throughout this process.
“My biggest struggle has been planning shooting days,” Norris said. “Locations changing, people’s availability changing, our hours changing, not having supplies ready early enough, making sure there is food and water for everyone and more all have to be prepared for in advance.”
Although there are several challenges within the competition, many students have said this experience is like nothing else. Participating in FilmFest opens doors of opportunity for collaboration, connections and friendships. Anna Gray Davenport, freshman multimedia major with a concentration in film from Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia said FilmFest is something you can be proud of.
“My favorite part was just getting to be part of a team and being part of something bigger than myself [as well as] getting the experience of meeting new people and bonding with them over creating something you can be proud of,” Davenport said.
Katie Maxwell is the Director of FilmFest and she has been working with the students since the fall when the initial meetings began.
“My favorite memory of the night was handing out the People’s Choice award to the film “She Liked Green,” Maxwell said. “Most of the production team on this film were first-time filmmakers, so it was thrilling to see their excitement and the audience’s roaring cheers for their film.”
The FilmFest Gala was free to all attendees. With the end of this year’s FilmFest events, Norris said this was one of her favorite things she did in college and has no comparison to her high school involvements. She encourages students to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.
“If I could give any advice to future students, it would be to challenge yourself with a role that you never thought you would or could fill, and when it brings struggles, roll with the punches and accept that life happens and the film will never go perfectly or exactly like you imagined,” Norris said. “Then, take the feedback the judges have for you, ask questions, and use it on your next projects.”
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