BYU Student Film Association hosts 2024 First Look Film Fest

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Audiences joined the media arts department, led by the Student Film Association, from April 4-5 to view more than one hundred student films.

This year’s judges were Becca Summers, Sara Reed and Josh Gibson. Each awards category had three nominees, with a special bonus award given at the end of the ceremony.

Screenshot from “My True Colors” by Claira Miller. The short film is an autobiographical look at Miller’s journey in expressing herself. (“My True Colors” directed by Claira Miller)

Best Hair and Makeup:

WINNER: My True Colors by Claira Miller

SAFE by Kaden Prows

LonelyGirl by Mira Plummer

While “LonelyGirl” and “My True Colors” boasted bright pastel color palettes, “SAFE” featured wound makeup. The film centered on a young woman suffering from domestic violence, with close-up shots of bruises on her arms and face.

Best Costume:

WINNER: THE IN x BETWEEN by Austin J. Lawrence

The Trial of Sergeant Joanis by Brock Brockett

Lucy’s Angels by Mira Plummer

Screenshot from “THE IN x BETWEEN” by Austin J. Lawrence, Imagine It Studios. The short film was filmed at the Bonneville Salt Flats, which is also where Pirates of the Carribbean 3 was filmed. (“THE IN x BETWEEN” directed by Austin J. Lawrence)

Lawrence’s film company, Imagine It Studios, collaborated with the actors to create the world seen in “THE IN x BETWEEN” through props, costumes, hair and makeup. Lawrence said the large pirate hat seen in the short film was hand-made in collaboration with the costumer.

Still image from “LonelyGirl” by Mira Plummer. The short film was inspired by Plummer’s own experiences home alone as a youngest child. (Instagram/@mitafilmss)

Best Production Design:

WINNER: LonelyGirl by Mira Plummer

Peace of Paper by Claira Miller

The Trial of Sergeant Joanis by Brock Brockett

“I love to play with color. I don’t think we see it enough in movies anymore,” Plummer said of her film’s aesthetic. “The color brings a childlike whimsy to (the film).”

Best Editing:

WINNER: The Church Makes Movies? by Noah Richmond

My True Colors by Claira Miller

You’re Tuning In To… by Kurkian Fullmer

Outside view of LDS Motion Picture Studio at Brigham Young University. This picture was shown in the winning film for Best Editing. (Harold B. Lee Library)

“The Church Makes Movies?” was a short documentary film about a man from Germany who was a film editor for the Motion Picture Studio owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He brought films and a projector across the Iron Curtain following World War II to share with the saints in Eastern Germany.

Edgar Fernando Flores and his grandfather in “A Day in the Life.” For this short film, Flores accompanied his grandfather to visit his favorite places during a trip to Mexico. (Image courtesy of Edgar Fernando Flores)

Best Documentary Narrative:

WINNER: A Day in the Life by Edgar Fernando Flores

The Church Makes Movies? by Noah Richmond

a daughter’s trust by Samantha Bezzant

Both “A Day in the Life” and “a daughter’s trust” were filmed in Spanish with English subtitles. “a daughter’s trust” detailed the story of a family’s immigration from Venezuela while “A Day in the Life” captured favorite places of Flores’ grandfather.

Best Cinematography:

WINNER: Instrumental by Dallin Webb

bind by Joshua Janosch

The Clinch by Tristan Schetzel

Screenshot from “Instrumental” by Dallin Webb. The short film depicts a boy and girl who renew their bond through her music. (“Instrumental” directed by Dallin Webb)

According to Janosch, “bind” was part of his submission to a cinematography master’s program; the guidelines were to create a 60-second narrative with only ten shots. The short film has no dialogue, communicating Janosch’s struggles with OCD in a series of artistic shots.

Sound booth technicians sit in the West Campus auditorium. The auditorium is the same one formerly used by Provo High School’s theatre department. (Elizabeth Williams)

Best Experimental Film:

WINNER: bind by Joshua Janosch

Water Moves by Jana Clark Ludlow

A Dream by Soren Fonnesbeck

Best Sound:

WINNER: Brotherhood by Makamae

You’re Tuning In To… by Kurklan Fullmer

The Church Makes Movies? by Noah Richmond

“Sound means that your mix of music, dialogue and environmental sounds are all cohesive and tell a story and none of the pieces are individually distracting,” Makamae said. “And I am really so proud of that group, that sound is recognized.”

“Brotherhood” was inspired by a story from cinematographer and writer Josh Clark’s childhood; he shot his brother in the eye with an airsoft gun while trying to kill a lizard.

Best Actor:

WINNER: Cairo-Zaire Baptiste in “The Clinch” (Tristan Schetzel)

Ian Tsukamoto Young in “It Gets Better” (Cameron Cardoza)

Kirklan Fullmer in “Wild Goose Chase” (Rebekah Page)

Cairo-Zaire Baptiste in “The Clinch,” a short film about boxing rivals. The film was also a semi-finalist in the 2023 Los Angeles Student Film Awards. (“The Clinch” directed by Cairo-Zaire Baptiste)
Elyna Mellen (far right, closeup) in “Lucy’s Angels,” a short film depicting the angels watching over individuals. Director Mira Plummer also directed “LonelyGirl,” which won Best Production Design. (“Lucy’s Angels” directed by Mira Plummer)

Best Actress:

WINNER: Elyna Mellen in “Lucy’s Angels” (Mira Plummer)

Reagan Panah in “Juno: Scene Recreation” (Matthew Golden Arnsten)

Julia Inouye in “bind” (Joshua Janosch)

Audience Choice: Aliens vs Christmas by Scott S Wallburger

Wallburger said the film was one of many his family has made for Christmas. “I only submitted it because I thought it’d be funny if I did,” he said.

“Aliens vs Christmas” is a home video of aliens trying to invade the Wallburger household, but the family won’t go down without a fight. Wallburger added special effects to his family’s charming performances, entertaining his audience.

Best Documentary: No Limits by Gwen Beatty

Best Fiction: The Tale of the Shocked Sock by Bridger Nebeker

A new category, Truer Than Fiction, was created and awarded to “The Lipstick Effect” by Malin Glade. Glade is an acting student who created the short film for her Global Women’s Studies class.

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