Student Film Festival Celebrates the Confluence of Creativity and Technology

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF.—Held this evening, following the Opening Night Reception, the inaugural SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival showcases submissions from the around the world, all demonstrating creative uses of technology in storytelling.

Both SMPTE and HPA (the Hollywood Post Alliance), explained Barbara Lange, executive director of SMPTE, "are committed to supporting this next generation of technologists."

Added Leon Silverman, president of the HPA, "The merging of creativity and technology, at the heart of the combination of SMPTE and HPA, is also driving the future of content creation. We want to encourage the next generation's vision and ability to tell stories in new and exciting ways."

The selected films are divided into one of three award categories: best creative use of technology to engage the audience in the story; best portrayal of entertainment technology in the film — documentary format; and best creative use of virtual reality in storytelling. A fourth award, for Best in Show, will be voted on by the festival attendees and awarded on this evening.

Open to full-time students enrolled in an accredited college, university or film school, the festival received entries from a range of students majoring in an area that emphasizes engineering, science, advanced technologies or fundamental theories associated with motion imaging, sound, metadata and workflows consistent with SMPTE's field of interest.

"We received submissions from all over the world, with the 12 official selections representing Canada, Hong Kong, U.K., Dubai, Australia and the U.S.," said Lange, who noted that the featured projects include dramas, documentaries, animation, a special effects short and virtual reality experience. "The high quality of the submissions made judging challenging for the jurors, especially given the wide diversity of content."

Other than the Best of Show award, submissions were evaluated by festival jurors including: Patrick Creadon, whose critically acclaimed documentaries have been ranked within the top 100 highest-grossing documentaries of all time; Dave Ginsberg, an editor and technology consultant who implements enabling technologies for post production and broadcast industry leaders; Peter Girardi, senior vice president of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) and Blue Ribbon Content (BRC), the studio's short-form digital series production unit; Bobby Hewitt, cinematographer, editor and director of global ad campaigns and short films, as well as music videos for Mötley Crüe and Darius Rucker; Travis LaBella, a director of photography who earned the ASC Student Heritage Documentary Award for "Language of the Unheard" and who worked on "Telescope," one of the first films to go through a complete 4K Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow.

The jury also included Patricia Keighley, senior vice president of IMAX Corp. and co-founder and managing director of IMAX POST/DKP Inc.; A. Dale "Bud" Mayo, president of Carmike's Alternative Programming and Distribution and, earlier, the chairman and CEO of Digital Cinema Destinations Corp., Cinedigm and Clearview Cinema Group; Evan Saxon, a leader in creating and implementing innovative marketing and distribution models in both the music and film industries — and for documentary films, in particular; Ted Schilowitz, founding member, first employee and product development team member at RED Digital Cinema and now "futurist" at 20th Century Fox and "cinemavangelist" at Barco; Richard Welsh, cofounder and CEO of Sundog Media Toolkit Ltd. and earlier, director of digital cinema at Dolby Laboratories and head of digital cinema operations at Technicolor; and Nick Dager, editor and publisher of the website Digital Cinema Report.

"The SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival is a rich addition to our existing student engagement programs," said Lange. "The students' enthusiasm was contagious, and I look forward to this Festival growing into a major SMPTE-HPA event in the future."

The 12 films screening in the festival are:

Best Creative Use of Technology to Engage the Audience in the Story

"Soulmates" by Diego Manssur, Vancouver Film School, Canada

"Antler" by Lam Kam Ho, Hong Kong Design Institute, China

"Apex" by Mischa Kolbe, Vancouver Film School, Switzerland

"They Just Want to Sell" by Gueschem Degni, Vancouver Film School, Canada

"After Invasion" by Oleg Smykalov, Vancouver Film School, Canada

"Mind and Matter" by Nawa Kamate, City College of New York, USA

"Still Got It" by Roy O. Woodard, Los Angeles City College, USA

Best Portrayal of Entertainment Technology in the Film - Documentary Format

"Virtual Reality Cinema Project" by Anna Dining, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

"Building for the Future: A City Tech Tale" by Jonathan Burcin, Nicholas J. Burt-Miller, Diana V. David, André Gabriel, Jean L. Garcia, Joseph Larsen, Jeffrey N. Lawrence, Anjali Rawat, Gregory A. Scott, NYC College of Technology/CUNY, USA

"Untucked" by Tait DeLorenzo, JMC Academy, Australia

"Girl and the Sea" by Aya Al Gergawy, American University of Sharjah, Dubai

Best Creative Use of Virtual Reality in Storytelling

"Phase Shift" by Louis Arrigoni, Southampton Solent University, UK