Annual Student Film Festival ends with awards ceremony

Story and Photo by Wesley McIntyre / Staff Writer

The 17th Annual Student Film Festival awards ceremony, presented by MT SPARE, was held in the Student Union Video Theater on Friday night. Throughout the week, 12 films competed for first, second and third place, as well as Audience Favorite.

The films were all student projects and judged based on the directing, acting, editing, effects, script, story and overall effectiveness.

The first place award went to “Dearly Beloved,” directed by Austin Faust. It was a short psychological film about a man who experiences a malfunction with his television and begins to question his sanity.

Faust, a senior majoring in Video and Film Production, was surprised at the win.

“It was kind of a random project that I didn’t really think much of,” he explained. Following the win, Faust anticipates future endeavors.

“(I’m) planning on working on (another project) in May,” he said. “It’s completely different. We’ll see how that turns out.”

Second place went to “Connections,” directed by Joshua Leedham. Leedham, a senior in Video and Film Production, said the project was very fulfilling for him as he had been trying to get the film together for three years and kept failing.

“I finally said I’m just gonna do it, and I did it,” he said. The film is about two artists whose artwork is connected through their dreams.

Fans of this project should be happy to know that Leedham is hopeful to expand the project.

“I have a full synopsis of it,” Leedham said. “The film itself is just a scene from a bigger feature-length movie that I would love to do eventually.”

Third place was awarded to “Hope,” directed by Kevin Brewer. Brewer, a Film and Video Production major, said the film is about his sister who was diagnosed with cancer. While she’s now cured, the story is based on what happened in the process.

The Audience Favorite award, presented by President of SPARE Katie Knell, went to “Look Up,” directed by Yoanna-Mariya Kirkova and Joshua Leedham. The film, filled with strong actors and a touching musical score, featured a young man who confronts old age by meeting his older self, leading to several revelations and prompting a larger conversation in the process.

John Smead, a resident of Murfreesboro and longtime fan of MTSU’s Student Film Festivals, celebrated his fourteenth consecutive year attending the festival. Smead said that “Connections” was his favorite.

“I liked that he told a story without having to resort to special effects or anything like that. The shots were very crisp and clear,” he said.

Smead explained why he’s been such a long-time fan of the festival.

“There are some (films like ‘Connections’) that are definite gems to be found,” he said. “That’s why I keep coming back here.”

“All of (the films) were fantastic this year,” said SPARE Films Manager Jonathan Ciecka. “I think it went very well.”

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