Asbury Presents Engaging Culture Weekend – Asbury University
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April 26, 2016

Actor Doug Jones strikes his Silver Surfer pose during Chapel
Actor Doug Jones strikes his Silver Surfer pose during Chapel on April 22.

Music, art, film, theater and a special appearance from the Silver Surfer rounded out an amazing Engaging Culture Weekend at Asbury University, April 20-23.

With a full schedule of events, including professional workshops, a special film screening, the Highbridge Film Festival and more, Engaging Culture Weekend celebrated students’ work and examined the interaction of faith and culture.

Presenting workshops and speaking in Chapel, Doug Jones — known for his movie and TV roles in “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Flash” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” — was one highlight of the weekend.

During Chapel on April 22, Jones shared stories from his acting career, showed off his Silver Surfer stance and encouraged students to be witnesses for the gospel.

“No matter what your field of study is, no matter what you’re going to be doing when you get out there, you have a voice,” Jones said. “We have a responsibility to use our voice responsibly, and to share the good news of Christ in whatever subtle ways we can, in whatever big, bold ways we can — whatever’s needed.” Listen to Jones’ full message.

Other workshop presenters throughout the weekend included Clay Hassler ‘08 (Asbury alumnus and film director), Dean Batali (screenwriter) and Kathy Campbell (casting agent). In addition to presenting workshops, these guests served as the adjudicators of the Highbridge Film Festival, offering students helpful feedback and critique.

On April 21, Asbury’s musical ensembles presented the Sounds of Stage and Screen concert, an annual favorite featuring music from television, film and theatre. The concert was senior Kerry Steinhofer’s final performance with the Concert Band — a bittersweet experience, and a reminder of how important Engaging Culture Weekend has been to her Asbury experience.

“You are able to see how much music, art and film can all come together and have such an amazing impact on someone,” Steinhofer said. “It’s important to see how different all of these things are and how they work together. This weekend brings the community together, and so many students are involved that you see how everyone has a place somewhere.”

On April 23, Engaging Culture Weekend celebrated student filmmakers’ work with the 12th-annual Highbridge Film Festival, followed by a Red Carpet Gala. (Click here to view a recorded broadcast of the Highbridge Film Festival, produced by a team of Asbury students.) The festival showcased 15 student films, ranging from drama to comedy to documentary, and this year’s panel of industry leaders — Hassler, Batali, Campbell and Jones — adjudicated awards in 15 categories. The following students received awards:

  • High School Submission: Aaron Jones, “Autology”
  • Best Editing: Aaron Winneroski, “The Wish”
  • Best Special Visual Effects: Aaron Winneroski, “The Wish”
  • Best Cinematography: Jordan Hill, “Latitude”
  • Best Sound Mixing: Landers Pannell, “I am Knightly”
  • Best Sound Editing: Levi Simonton, “The Wish”
  • Best Original Score: Levi Simonton, “The Wish”
  • Best Actress: Brooke Butterworth, “On the Other Hand”
  • Best Actor: Gabe Chandler, “God, Todd, and the Devil”
  • Best Screenplay: Will Mcbride, “Death of the Author”
  • Best Director: Jake Halm, “Crave”
  • Best Drama: Will Mcbride and Spencer Smith, “Death of the Author”
  • Best Comedy: Paul Sigler and Naomi Friedman, “Break Up & Break In”
  • Best Super Short: Landers Pannell and Aaron Winneroski, “Birdhouse Bill”
  • Best Documentary: Andrew King, “I am Knightly”

Additionally, audience members voted for the Audience Favorite award. This year’s pick, “Birdhouse Bill,” is a documentary directed and produced by Landers Pannell and Aaron Winneroski. The film tells the story of Bill Larkin, a retired computer programmer whose collection of birdhouses has become a tourist attraction in southern Indiana.

“Getting the Audience Favorite award felt incredible,” said Winneroski, who co-produced and co-directed the film with Pannell, his roommate. “It blew us away that the audience laughed at all the parts we wanted them to — it felt awesome.”

View a photo gallery of the Highbridge Film Festival below: