Highbridge Film Festival Draws Full House
WILMORE, Ky. — Around 1,200 people packed a sold-out Hughes Auditorium on Saturday night to laugh, think and blink back a few tears at Asbury University’s Highbridge Film Festival.
Now in its seventh year, the Highbridge Film Festival is dedicated to expressing and exploring the human condition through the power of the visual story. Films in a variety of categories, including comedy, documentary and short films, are judged by industry professionals. The 2011 judges were Mark Fincannon, a casting director with Fincannon and Associates; Kristin Ross ’97 Lauterbach, a documentary filmmaker; Bob Rieth, President of Media Fellowship International; and Peter Lehman, an audio/sound designer.
This year, the University’s new Andrew S. Miller Center for Communication Arts played a role in making the festival a success, both as a venue for the red-carpet, post-screening reception and as a place where many of the students utilized state-of-the-art equipment for filming and editing their work.
The festival featured 14 University films and two high-school films addressing topics ranging from love to guilt to friendship. Most films lasted less than eight minutes; the super short film category time limit was three minutes. With sixteen films in the festival, the judges spent hours screening the entries Saturday morning to determine the awards. The Audience Choice Award was determined at the event when audience members either texted the number of their favorite film or turned in a paper tab. "Mr. Duffy Finds a Friend," a short stop-action film, won the award.
"As a musician, I often tell stories through music," said senior Christian Loftus, one of the directors of the film. "Film is a wonderful outlet for storytelling because of the combination of aural and visual elements."
Judge Mark Fincannon, a casting director who worked with the movies “The Blind Side,” “The Patriot” and “Evan Almighty,” said he looks forward to seeing the impact of the students in the industry.
“It’s exciting to see all the films here and anticipate the fruit that will come it,” he said.
The students creating the films for the festival are not the only ones gaining experience in communication arts; the festival is presented and staffed by Asbury’s special events class. From securing sponsors to coordinating the reception following the show, students had a hand in every aspect of the event. For them, watching the auditorium fill and buzz with high spirits — aided by a steady pulse of mood-setting tunes from the Asbury University Jazz Band — was its own reward.
“It’s fantastic, after 100-plus hours of work outside of the classroom, to see everyone enjoying themselves so much,” said junior Molly Phillips, team leader for the marketing/PR committee.
Assistant professor Greg Bandy echoed her sentiments.
“We had a terrific audience, and there was great energy in the room,” he said. “My goal is that the filmmakers would be inspired to tell the next story. We need more people telling God’s story, and this is a great opportunity for the students to make films with excellence.”
And the Awards go to...:
Best Special Effects: “Asbury Momentarily” by Jackson Ludwig and Nathan Crum
Best Documentary: “Matter Matters” by Meg Barker
Best Audio: “Good Guys” by Zach Meiners
Best Screenplay: “Fair Trade” by Molly Hoy
Best Cinematography: “Fair Trade” (Zach Wilson)
Best Original Music: “Mr. Duffy Finds a Friend” (Christian Loftus)
Best Editing: “Mr. Duffy Finds a Friend” (Elisa Platillero)
Best Super Short: “Mr. Duffy Finds a Friend” by Christian Loftus and Brenna Howard
Best Comedy: “Bench Pressed” by Olivia Wardwell
Best Drama: “Little Barfly” by Isaac Blade
Best Actor: Andrew Hunter in “Bereft”
Best Actress: Olivia Wardwell in “Perfect”
Special Award: Evangelina Klein “Little Barfly”
Audience Choice Award: “Mr. Duffy Finds a Friend” by Christian Loftus and Brenna Howard
HIGH SCHOOL WINNERS
“Chasing Colors” by Matthew Ippolito
“The Intervention” by Kyle Thiel