by Hope Frances
HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 21, 2006 - The Angelus Student Film Festival Awards held today was packed with people. Sponsored by Family Theater Productions, the awards show was held at the Director's Guild of America on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. This eleventh annual festival has been selected twice as 'best student film festival' by MovieMaker magazine.
The mission of the Angelus Awards is to recognize student films that 'cultivate and honor future filmmakers as they explore and create works that respect the dignity of the human person.' And, that mission was apparent from the moment I walked into the lobby of the Director's Guild.
The lobby was filled with exhibitors, such as Pauline Books & Media, who work to further God's presence in the media.
After an opening prayer and some introductions of the staff of Family Theater Productions, the screening of the winning films began. Over 500 people packed the theater to view the eight winning student films. These short films were honored out of 522 submissions representing 28 different countries and 140 film schools.
According to Fr. Willy Raymond, National Director of Family Theater Productions, the future filmmakers' submissions had to undergo a rigorous, three-tiered process of elimination in order to have the honor of winning an Angelus award in the categories of animation, documentary or live action.
If a submission passes the initial round of judging, it then advances to the second level where professionals are brought in to select the 10 best in each category. Should a film pass the second level, it is then turned over to senior executives in the entertainment industry to select the winners in each category.
The highest honor of the evening, the Patrick Peyton Award for Excellence in Filmmaking, went to Barbara Stepansky for 'The Trojan Cow.' Based upon true events, Barbara's film follows the story of two East German teens as they illegally cross the border to West Germany in 1973 inside the belly of a hollow cow. Unexpectedly their journey sparks love between them.
The Polish-born, German-raised director studied film at the American Film Institute. The Angelus Awards is familiar territory to Barbara, as she was also a finalist in 2000 for her film "Blueberry Pancakes."
In her acceptance speech, she mentioned the Angelus Film Festival values and said that she bases her decisions on the integrity of the human being.
After congratulating the director on winning the top prize at the Angelus Awards, I asked her about the budget for the film. She said it was made on a shoestring budget of $30,000.
Her parting words were, "That proves anything is possible."
Indeed… God shines brighter than all the stars in Hollywood.
The complete list of the winning films and their directors are as follows:
Patrick Peyton Excellence in Filmmaking Award:"The Trojan Cow," Barbara Stepansky, American Film Institute
Priddy Bros. "Triumph" Award:"Queen of Cactus Cove," Anna Christopher, American Film Institute
Mole-Richardson Production Design Award:"Lucky," Avie Luthra, National Film and Television School, United Kingdom
Fujifilm Audience Impact Award:"Kilroy Was Here," Charlie Boyles, North Carolina School of the Arts
Director's Choice Award:"Kibera Kid," Nathan Collett, University of Southern California
Outstanding Animation Award, sponsored by the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals:"Crooked Mick of the Speewah," Philip Smith, Australian Film, Television & Radio School
Outstanding Screenplay Award, sponsored by Act One:"Kilroy Was Here," Charlie Boyles, North Carolina School of the Arts
Outstanding Documentary Award, sponsored by Maryknoll Productions:"Silences," Octavio Warnock-Graham, City College of New York