Highbridge Film Festival Sets New Bar for Excellence

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WILMORE, Ky. — The 10th Highbridge Film Festival at Asbury University entertained viewers with its usual outstanding quality while introducing new elements that will keep the event fresh for years to come.

For the first time, film fans and Asbury supporters around the world were able to watch the festival live through a web-based simulcast at www.asbury.edu/highbridge. Missionaries Nathan and Cydil Waggoner, both members of the Class of 1997, watched online from Albania and shared the fun on social media: “A joy to see a lot of familiar names and places, not to mention the great talents of our Asbury student friends. For a few moments I felt transported back to our favorite patch of Kentucky bluegrass.”

Before the event, guests enjoyed viewing the DeLorean Time Machine, one of the most recognizable cars in movie-making history from its appearance in the “Back to the Future” films. Combined with the movie and television memorabilia on display throughout the post-festival reception venue, Asbury’s Miller Center for Communication Arts, festival attendees were immersed in the creativity of Asbury graduates working in the industry.

Asbury University Highbridge Film Festival
The DeLorean Time Machine was available for movie fans to experience at the Highbridge Film Festival 2014.



This year’s high-school entry raised the stakes for young filmmakers to come. A group of students at West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Ky., formed a film club with the goal of winning a spot at the Highbridge Film Festival. A cast and crew of 20 students, including director Jesse Seales, created a stop-motion film titled “Feast Friends” that took the prize, which included a $1,000 scholarship to Asbury and personalized feedback from festival judges.

Fourteen University student films were selected for screening at the festival. Entries ranged from just under two minutes to eight minutes long and explored themes of redemption, forgiveness, humor and romantic relationships. Senior Hezekiah Crocker’s film “The F(x) of Love” was inspired by a film that won several awards in last year’s festival. Now, in addition to a finished short film to add to his portfolio, he carries with him the experiences of filming with a department of fellow students committed to each other’s success.

“My all-time favorite memory of this project was stepping on set and seeing the crew, cast, and extras working together to get ready for the shot like a bunch of well-designed cogs,” Crocker said. “I took a moment to cherish it, and as I did, it became one of the most personally inspiring moments of filmmaking for me.  Everyone who took the time of day to hear my story, and help out, was so passionate about helping this project come to life and did such an amazing job, especially on no budget! I hope they realize just how much they mean to me.”

Judging this year’s entries were four film-industry leaders:

  • Jim Van Eerden, a managing partner for a national merchant bank, where he runs the firm’s media and social good initiatives. He has served as executive producer for feature films such as “Bobby Jones,” “The Ultimate Gift” and “The Perfect Game,” as well as the Academy Award-nominated short film “Most.”
  • Andrea Nasfell, a 1995 graduate of Asbury and award-winning screenwriter. Her most recently produced film, “Mom’s Night Out,” will release in theatres nationwide on May 9.
  • Barry Cook, a 30-year veteran of film and animation. He debuted as a director in 1998 with “Mulan” and recently released “Walking with Dinosaurs” in December 2013.
  • Kathy Campbell, owner of Heyman Talent in Louisville, Ky. She works as a booking agent for roles in commercials, television, feature films and other projects.

And the winners are …

Best High School Film Entry: “Feast Friends” (Jesse Seales)

Best Screenplay: “The F(x) of Love” (Hezekiah Crocker)

Best Cinematography: “Ashes to Ashes” (Julia Stark)

Best Sound Editing: “Le Spark” (Phillip Jackson)

Best Sound Mixing: “A Sound College Life” (Phillip Jackson)

Best Editing: “The F(x) of Love” (Hezekiah Crocker)

Best Original Music Score: “Le Spark” (Austin Scott)

Best Special Visual Effects: “Le Spark” (Nathaniel Winckler)

Best Actress: Naomi Friedman (“Broken”)

Best Actor: Tyler Wilson (“Play Dead”)

Best Documentary: “To Doris” (Brownrygg Woolls)

Best Drama: “In the Beginning” (Bryce Ury)

Best Comedy: “Getaway” (Zack Brewer)

Best Super Short (tie): “Le Spark” (Nathaniel Winckler) and “Broken” (Bryce Ury)

Audience Choice Award: “In the Beginning” (Bryce Ury)

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