Video Students Make the Grade at Major Film Festival

July 13, 2018

For even casual movie fans, some names need no introduction. 

After all, just about everyone knows Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ang Lee and the Coen Brothers. 

In the years to come, the same might very well be true about Garrett Black, Ashlyn Boudolf, Parker Roberts, Ashley Smith and Mary Hunter Smittkamp. 

At least that’s the take of Anderson University Assistant Professor of Communication Gorman Woodfin

And he has good reason for those high hopes. 

WorldFest Houston International Film Festival Winners Anderson UniversityBlack, Boudolf, Roberts, Smith and Smittkamp are all AU students in Woodfin’s video production program who are making a name for themselves in the very place that helped launch A-list Hollywood directors. Like Spielberg, Lucas and Lee, among others, these students won an award at the oldest and largest film festival in America: WorldFest Houston International Film Festival

Woodfin, a Hollywood-veteran-turned-professor who has won awards of his own at major film festivals, said the students’ Bronze Remi Award in the Student Film and Video Production category, is a big deal.

(Read more about Woodfin’s journey to AU here.)

“I am thrilled to see our students achieve recognition at an international film festival with more than 4,500 entries and 74 countries involved,” said Woodfin. who served as the supervising producer on the AU students' entry. “For one of our pieces to place in the top 15 percent is incredible.”

That piece, produced in Woodfin’s corporate video production course, is a short film about Golden Harvest Food Bank, a poverty-alleviation program that serves disadvantaged people in north Georgia and Upstate South Carolina. 

“What really impressed me about  the video project was that the people at Golden Harvest liked it so much, they immediately put it on their website,” Woodfin said. “Our students’ work was professional and emotionally moving. I am so proud of them.”

Woodfin said the student success can be attributed to the program at the AU College of Arts and Sciences. He said the support of Dr. Wayne Cox, dean of the college, and the Communications Department Chair Robert Reeves was instrumental in helping AU students compete at film festivals like WorldFest Houston.

“A clear departmental vision, combined with the talented young men and women here at Anderson University, is putting our digital media and video production program on the map,” Woodfin said. “To see our students win at a film festival that gave top honors to Spielberg, Lucas, Ang Lee and the Coen Brothers when they were beginning their career tells me we may very well have a future Lucas or Spielberg studying right here at AU.”

(Watch the award-winning student film, "Golden Harvest -- Food Comes From the Heart" below.)