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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo
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Envision Film Festival hits the big screen in Rediger Auditorium

Student films receive awards at event.

The glass of a microwave cracks after a gunshot, and two friends are chased by a chainsaw-wielding ice cream man, all within half an hour of each other.

Envision is the Taylor University Film and Media Arts (FMA) department’s film festival, where student short films and documentaries from the previous year are displayed and given awards for their hard work.

Ten awards were given out at the evening’s film screening and awards show. Notable winners include “Hostage” for Best Picture, “Nothing in the Middle of Nowhere” for the Audience Choice award, and “All Things New” for Best Documentary.

“Hostage” followed the tale of a game of hostage gone horribly wrong. “Nothing in the Middle of Nowhere” sees a bored microwave salesman have the most exciting birthday of his life. “All Things New” covered the story of a recovered drug addict and her role in helping out people who used to be like her.

Envision is a large-scale event with a large number of staff and hours put into making the event happen. Each FMA department staff member is required to attend, as well as the Envision Production Team, the student producers and a plethora of volunteers.

“We deal with a lot of the technical stuff,” Kylee Kinsman, a sophomore film and media arts major and student producer, said. “It’s not a ton of work until this week.”

Three guests headlined this year to give talks about their various jobs in the film industry: Greg Sorvig, artistic director of the Heartland Film Festival; Olivia McCash (‘17), a Taylor alumni that went on to work on documentaries for the National Office of the Christian and Missionary Alliance; and Randy Kizer, who has done set design on shows such as Making the Cut and Dancing with the Stars.

McCash taught a workshop on video and photography in non-profit ministry and how students can learn how visual storytelling skills can be used by ministry organizations around the world. 

Kizer instructed two workshops—one on set design, where he showed students the design process from early concepts to completed sets of his work on the hit design competition show, “Making the Cut” on Amazon. 

He also taught a workshop on collaborating with an art department, as well as exploring the wide range of jobs, specializations, and career paths in the art department. Students learned how each one contributes to the making of movie magic.

Sorvig taught about film festivals and programming, where he would “demystify” the festival landscape and the film submission process while offering the best practices for filmmakers to succeed in festivals.

Each year, high school students come to Taylor the day before to get a feel for campus by staying with a film and media arts major. They spend the night on campus and are treated to a day full of film-related activities in the morning, as well as a brunch with some of the staff the Saturday after the screening.

Student producers are in charge of keeping track of the high school visitors with their parents and ensuring the guests have hotel rooms. Their other responsibilities include designing the program, decorating and buying gifts for the award winners. 

Kathy Bruner, co-department chair of the FMA department, selected Kinsman, Audrey Moore, Emily Crosier and Kaylee Bornhofer to produce the festival. Each student was selected from a different graduating year to keep a cycle of producers going that will train the next year's producers to come. 

“It’s a lot of work, and it can be stressful at times, but even with all of the work, it is very rewarding,” Crosier, a senior film and media arts major, said. “It teaches you a lot about event planning and producing.”

The three of them individually said their favorite part of Envision was seeing everyone observe and admire all the hard work put into it, either by the films submitted or the work put into organizing the event itself. 

Envision was live streamed by staff members and will be available to watch online at the Envision film festival website.

“Come on out and give it a try,” Audrey Moore, a freshman film and media arts major, said. “We need people to come out and see the great films.”