Movie lovers, enthusiasts and participants filled the seats of Abilene’s historical Paramount Theatre for ACU’s FilmFest Awards Show Friday.
The annual night of film celebrated the independent cinematic efforts of ACU students. This year’s competition, entitled “Identity,” was comprised of 10 film submissions in areas such as drama, documentary and even animation.
The big winner of the night was Hazel and Jack, a film that won 10 awards: Best Picture, Best Drama, Best Writer, Best Director, Best Producer, Best Technical Director, Best Art Design, Best Sound Design, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Director and editor of Hazel and Jack, Lawson Soward, senior electronic media major from Colleyville, said the film took more than a month to complete, and that he was happy to have the entire crew honored.
“It was crazy,” Soward said. “We thought the film might win a couple of awards but not that many. It’s something we’re really proud of.”
FilmFest also featured live musical performances from students who wrote or performed in the submitted films.
The evening was hosted by Ben Miller, junior art major from The Woodlands, and Carrie Tansey, senior special education major from North Richland Hills. The pair kicked-off the night with a comedic video that had the audience roaring.
For many students, participating in FilmFest is nothing new. Soward said his film would not have been as successful as it was if he had not entered the contest last year.
“Industry experts critique your work and give you advice,” Soward said. “And just the caliber of the judges and their feedback makes the admission fee totally worth it.”
He said he believes the school has many students talented in film, and encourages any interested students to partake in next year’s FilmFest.
“Just enter, work on a film and do all you can to make it your best,” Soward said. “Or at least go because it’s great to watch people’s movies who are in the process of learning and others who are already great at it.”
Other winners of the night included The Reunion for Best Independent Film, James Leddy Boots for Best Documentary and Smile for People’s Choice Award.
Trevor Cochlin, senior biblical text major from Belton, helped create the zombie film The Reunion.
“Everyone likes movies, and to watch movies that your friends have made makes it an even better experience,” Cochlin said.
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