FilmFest training workshops

This semester we’re working with the FilmFest folks to lead off their 24-hour FilmFest events with a workshop introducing crucial techniques. We’ll kick off the series this week with our first on Friday.



How to Get Great Sound in Your Film

In filmmaking, good audio is key. Polish your future productions by learning the ins and outs of capturing great sound this Friday, 2–4 p.m., in the Learning Studio. Mathew Bardwell and Nathan Driskell will be joined by Nathan Gibbs from JMC to give you a hands-on introduction to recording film audio.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FilmFest: Lost and Found at Paramount

Some remarkable talent at FilmFest this weekend at the premiere downtown last night at the historic Paramount Theater. If you missed it, here are the films that were featured this year with the awards handed out last night.

For a look back at winners in previous years, check the FilmFest Archive put together by Learning Studio students last semester.



Best Film – “Umbrella”
Best Dramatic Film – “The Mover”
Best Music Video – “Hope on Fire”

Best Director – Caitlin Bradford, “The Mover”
Best Producer – Stephen Estrada, “Nerf Wars”
Best Writer – David McMichael, “The Mover”
Best Technical Director – Lucius Patenaude, “Red Rubber Ball”
Best Sound Design – “The Mover”

Best Actor – Nick Palmieri, “Red Rubber Ball”
Best Actress –  Lauren Mesaros, “Umbrella”






Canon Pro Video workshop kicks off FilmFest

Thanks to Paul McAniff from Canon for joining us at ACU for a couple days to introduce students to DSLR video. The workshop was the first of several the Learning Studio will be hosting to prepare FilmFest participants to shoot, light, and edit films this November.

For those unable to join us, here are the slides and video of the presentation.

For a quick review of controls of cameras that will be available to FilmFest participants, check out our Tutorials page.


The next workshop will be November 13th where participants will help shoot the opening scene from David Fincher’s The Social Network. 



Hazel & Jack submitted to national festivals

Stay tuned for the Learning Studio: Year One Report. Here’s one of the profiles from the iBook.

Last fall, Lawson Soward and Caitlin Bradford submitted their first film to the Sundance Film Festival. It started with a conversation in January 2011 about a story idea Caitlin had been chewing on. The two of them began artistic design for the production in our screening room during the student grand opening in February. Lawson was the first in line in March when Canon made DSLR cameras available for checkout to student filmmakers. And the two of them spent Spring Break editing in the media lab where Adobe After Effects made the final montage possible.

Since 2004, students have produced 100 films for ACU’s FilmFest, a student short-film competition. The contest began as an iMovie contest with Apple providing access to iMacs and digital camcorders. By 2011, most entries were edited on Apple’s FinalCut Pro, so the move to DSLR cameras shooting HD video was a natural next step. Paul McAniff from Canon joined us for a pro video workshop the week before FilmFest officially kicked off, making Canon 5D bodies and pro-series lenses available for checkout through the Learning Studio.

The result of this unprecedented access and opportunity is a film like “Hazel & Jack.” At the FilmFest premiere downtown at the historic Paramount theatre, Lawson and Caitlin went home with 10 awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Writer. The film wowed industry judges at the symposium the next day, where Randy Brewer, executive producer at Revolution Pictures in Nashville, Tenn., was the first to encourage them to submit their film to other festivals like SXSW and Sundance. “FilmFest was exciting to be a part of this year due to the beautiful photography in a lot of the pieces,” said Brewer. “I use the Canon 5D in music videos I shoot with major artists and the increased image quality really showed in the student films.”


Student Film: Hazel & Jack (2011)

FilmFest archive now online

Thanks to student media specialists in the Learning Studio, the FilmFest archive is now online. The blog contains lists of participants and winners going back to 2004 with links to all films on the FilmFest Vimeo channel.

The blog is built on the same WordPress system used to support class blogs and portfolios on campus. Student specialists are available in the Learning Studio for those working with campus blogs for the first time.

FilmFest Archive


Past Winners

For those who haven’t been going to FilmFest since the beginning, here are a few past winners.