Highbridge Film Festival returns, April 24

The Highbridge Film Festival is April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
The Highbridge Film Festival is April 24 at 7:30 p.m.

WILMORE, KY—Less than a month remains before the sixth annual Highbridge Film Festival takes place April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Hughes Auditorium in Wilmore. Filmmakers and fans alike are preparing for the red carpet event to showcase the best of Asbury University’s film, drama and special effects.

Prof. Greg Bandy co-founded the event with Prof. Jeff Day and Dr. Jim Owens in 2004.  “Making good movies is a lot like music or sports. You have to practice,” Bandy said. “Our goal was to provide a unique educational experience to students interested in visual storytelling. We also want students to creatively communicate the truth about what it means to be a human being through short films.”

To that end, the Highbridge Film Festival is committed to exploring the human condition through the power of visual storytelling. Asbury University student and high school filmmakers prepare films yearlong for the competitive selection process, in which only about a dozen are chosen for the festival premiere. The cinematic celebration draws approximately 1,400 guests each year and has become the largest annual campus event.

All films are judged by professional filmmakers and writers. This year’s list of judges is headlined by Phil Cooke of Cooke Pictures who is well-known for his books (The Last TV Evangelist / Creative Christian Media) and blog www.philcooke.com. Cooke will also be speaking in Asbury’s chapel Friday, April 23 at 10 a.m. Last year’s judges included Walden Media President Micheal Flaherty (The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web) and Screenwriter Brian Godawa (To End All Wars, The Visitation.)  Also among past judges are Erik Lokkesmoe, a founder of the marketing firm Different Drummer, and Emmy award-winning composer Bruce Broughton. 

Culture writer Rich Copley of the Lexington Herald Leader writes, “Sometimes, you tell people about the exceptional media production work at Asbury and get a nod like you’re being humored. A visit to the Highbridge Film Festival would assure you these kids are for real.”

Highbridge Film Festival winners go on to claim some of the industry’s highest honors for their work. Brock Smith, a festival winner from 2008, won a student Emmy at the 44th Annual Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards, the highest student award available. Ben Rogers also took home the same award in 2009 for his film Downfall.

Bandy and Owens have expanded the educational experience beyond filmmaking by setting up a “Special Events” class that produces the entire evening. Students are given leadership positions in areas in which they have professional interest and talent. The class is filled with graphic designers, marketing and public relations students, writers, photographers, video producers, and even an accountant this year. Bandy, who teaches the class, describes it as a “quintessential liberal arts experience.” He adds, “We stress an absolute commitment to integrity, teamwork and professional excellence.” The event is supported by many local sponsors such as Chick-Fil-A and Ale-8-One, as well as a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, which is directed under the Asbury Transformations Project by Dr. Mike Peterson.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and movies start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8, or two for $15. Ticket price includes a gala reception in the Asbury University Student Center following the festival. 

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