Last week, ACU’s 12th Annual FilmFest gave students the opportunity to screen original films at a red-carpet gala at the Paramount Theatre. This year also provided students unprecedented access to training and feedback from filmmakers on campus and around the country. Production teams began work in the fall developing story ideas and technical skills through workshops led by Nathan Driskell and Mathew Bardwell in the Learning Studio.

For the first time this fall and spring, students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with returning judges to develop their films. In November, Randy Brewer, class of 1993 and founder of Revolution Pictures, came to campus to work with production teams as they began to refine story ideas.

FilmFestJudgesBrentThen in March, Brent McCorkle, whose recent work includes editing the 2015 feature Woodlawn, spent the day with directors and editors to talk about rough cuts of their films, leaving several weeks for them to fine-tune and in some cases rewrite and reshoot portions of their films before the April 1 premiere.

Again this year, the FilmFest weekend concluded with critique sessions on Saturday morning, allowing each production team to hear from judges about everything from basic story structure to the technical aspects of their finished films.

We’re grateful to the remarkable panel of filmmakers and writers who joined us in Abilene this year—including Will Bakke (director, Believe Me [2014]), Randy Brewer (Revolution Pictures), Al Haley (writer in residence, ACU), Brent McCorkle (director, Unconditional [2012]), Adrian Patenaude (writer), and Kyle Smith (writer).

If you missed FilmFest, you can see this year’s student films and a list of winners at the FilmFest Blog.