Senior Tim Hudson’s experimental film “Gaspard de la Nuit” won first place in the Broadcast Education Association’s (BEA) Festival of Media Arts competition.
The festival received entries from 275 schools. Hudson’s win stands out as one among many student films recognized in regional and national competitions this year.
Kathy Bruner, associate professor of art, film and media, said the BEA is a significant competition nationwide. She said placing first in any category in the competition is a notable achievement. In 2020, students Chad Veal (‘20) and Brendan Wallace’s (‘20) documentary "20 Over” placed first in the documentary category, while Hudson’s film marks the first time Taylor has won with an experimental film.
“We’re incredibly proud of the work that Tim has done during his four years at Taylor,” Bruner said. “This particular project was in experimental film, an area that Tim has explored on his own, outside of classes.”
Hudson said “Gaspard de la Nuit,” was inspired by a piece by Maurice Ravel, which was based on a collection of French poetry of the same name. The poetry, written by French Romantic poet Aloysius Bertrand, translates to “treasurer of the night.”
Hudson hoped to capture the feeling of isolation and atmosphere he interpreted from the music and poetry by recreating it through imagery. He incorporated audio of the poem and the instrumental piece over it, combining all three pieces of media to create one piece.
“Gaspard de la Nuit” primarily finds its voice in overlaid clips composited together. Its most prominent characteristic is its visually dynamic juxtapositions, such as a mountain scene overlaid on a clip of cars at an intersection, or an outstretched hand over a clip of rolling clouds.
“Because of its experimental nature, it doesn’t have a narrative storyline; it’s more of a piece of video art,” Hudson said. “The purpose of it is exploring the theme of perspective and vision — there’s a lot of imagery of eyes. Throughout the film, there are suggestions of what these eyes are seeing and what perspectives these eyes have.”
Hudson created the piece over Thanksgiving break his junior year. He said he had a lot of creative energy but no actors, so he took hours of footage from vacations and previous short films and decided to use the clips in an experimental format.
While Hudson has made experimental videos before, he sees them as ways to test new techniques. He said on his Instagram, @timhudsonvideo, he often plays with lighting, color and liquids with no specific purpose outside of trying something new. With this experimental film, however, his execution included an inherent message and context.
“I guess it was kind of an impressionistic attempt at how I feel about the world right now,” Hudson said. “If people don’t necessarily feel they can take a message away from it, I hope they can appreciate the imagery it has to offer and appreciate the way that the compositions fit together in life and photography and film.”
Hudson’s film will go on to compete in the Best of the Festival competition against all other first place winners. He said the winner of Best in Show will receive an $1,000 prize.
Kathy Bruner said Taylor students’ ability to gain acceptance at film festivals and win awards against programs ten times its size demonstrates the quality of work that they produce. She said the department is very proud of students’ creative work and the ways students like Hudson contribute to the world of visual storytelling.
“Tim is a wonderfully talented filmmaker,” Associate Professor of Art, Film and Media John Bruner said. “We’re all proud of him and his achievement with this film. I’m not at all surprised that it received an award.”