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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
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Envision occurs despite audience restrictions

Taylor Film Department hosts Envision completely online

Despite a shift to a virtual platform, the Envision Film Festival remained resilient in showcasing a variety of films.

The Taylor Film and Media department hosted their annual film festival with a handful of adaptations due to COVID-19. Despite these changes and restrictions, participants and audience members enjoyed this year’s film offering as well as the overall experience. 

The film department received a record number of submissions of films, each highlighting a different, yet important perspective. This year, the department selected thirteen films to showcase. The films selected were created in a series of different competitions and classes by film students across campus.

Going into the event, there was potential for a lot of roadblocks. Luckily, the production team united to make the event a success. 

“As far as I know, we've never done an event like Envision online before, so there were definitely some technical challenges that our amazing Media Engineer Josh Taylor and his crew faced, and they deserve all the applause for the work they did to make sure the live stream worked smoothly,” said Envision co-producer and junior Sophie Olson.

Unique to this year, the festival took place completely through a YouTube Live hosted on Taylor University’s Film and Media Production YouTube. The event took place on Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m. The event included an hour and a half showing of the selected films followed by an award ceremony. 

Many noted how they missed the traditional showing. 

“A completely online viewing of the film festival was much different than watching the films in Rediger,” said sophomore Evan Wardell. “For me personally, I enjoy having a live audience there to watch the films. There's definitely a lot more energy in the room when you get a lot of students together and everyone is cheering and laughing at the films.” 

Although the style of showing the films looked different compared to years past, there was a great appreciation from many to just be able to share their films with one another. 

Due to the battles with COVID-19, many film students have been unable to share their works in this way. Wardell touched on the joy many had about being able to share their works with one another again. 

“Because of COVID, a lot of the regular film department showings have been pretty limited, so I hadn't seen many of the films shown there yet,” said Wardell. “ It's always exciting to see what your peers in the department are doing and how they're being creative.” 

Knowing that this event would look different, the production staff strove to make the event as special as possible. The production team — Olson and seniors Abby McCormic and Grace Dayton — make this special despite unique circumstances, especially for the seniors.

“Something that was hard was trying to figure out how to make this year enjoyable for everyone,” said McCormic. “For the seniors, it was especially sad, since this is our last Envision Film Festival, so we wanted to make sure it was still going to be special.”

Decorating the two rooms — the Mac Lab and a classroom in Rupp — where the filmmakers and production staff met to watch Envision and host the award ceremony was one way that the event was made special. Furthermore, their ability to host their own viewing party was also a special and enjoyable moment for the individuals involved.

Those accommodations yielded an enjoyable and special experience for those involved. Many commented on their hopes for next year, which included the chance to have the event in person again.  

“I'm hoping that next year, we can have an actual showing in Rediger and also bring in more prospective students who are interested in the department,” said Wardell. “I'm also excited to see what people in the film department create and how we all grow as filmmakers over this next year!”

Award Winners:

Best Acting: Ana Rofkar

Best Sound Design: “Wild Wilds: Spirit of the Bison”

Best Editing: “The Jewel of Richmond”

Best Cinematography: “The Aviators: A Father/Son Story”

Best Screenplay: “Nora”

Best Humanities and Arts: “The Jewel of Richmond”

Best Comedy: “Labels”

Best Documentary: “MTXE: Mental Toughness Xtra Effort”

Best Drama: “Nora”

Audience Choice Award: “Jehovah Jireh”

Best Picture: “MTXE: Mental Toughness Xtra Effort”