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Speechless Film Festival winners announced

Speechless Film Festival winners announced

Thursday, April 18, 2013
A still from Indrivaren

Bethany Lutheran College is proud to announce the winners of the inaugural Speechless Film Festival. Speechless is an international film festival for students and professionals inspired by the universal art of visual, but not silent, storytelling. The festival received 86 entries from 24 countries. Judges for the festival are Jeff Boortz, assistant professor of graphic design at Georgia State University; Lars Johnson, associate professor of English at Bethany Lutheran College; Don Larsson, professor of English at Minnesota State University, Mankato; and Tim Lind and Shelley Pierce, KMSU (Mankato) radio morning show hosts. Professional winners will receive $1000 and student winners will receive $500. The winning films are: 

Professional Long Form Category  

Indrivaren (English title When the Man Comes Around), submitted by director Michael Rendell. This 23-minute film was produced in Sweden and Poland. Indrivaren tells the story about an anonymous bureaucrat who works for Death - collecting the souls of the departed. Stuck in a monotonous work routine, the collector starts to question his vocation after an encounter with a terminally ill girl named Amanda. The more he learns about her, the more he starts playing by his own rules - a dangerous game that will have unimagined consequences. “Indrivaren communicates the story extremely well in almost completely visual terms. This is, for me, a nice twist on other treatments of death as a human entity,” commented judge Don Larsson.

Student Long Form Category

Walker, co-directed by Eero Heinonen and Paco Bouazza. Walker is a 30-minute philosophical short film set in scenic background of the Himalayan mountain range in Nepal. It asks the questions of balanced existence and searches for  ultimate happiness in human life. The film provides an impressionist and meditative portrayal of a young man's journey to Nepal and India. Beautifully shot, this film casts the audience into another world, leaving them with the feeling of wonder and want to travel—although the main character's journey is not an easy one. Of the film, judges Tim Lind and Shelley Pierce write, “This was gorgeous and wonderful.”

Professional Animation/Experimental/Other Category

Sleight of Hand is a 10-minute film written and directed by Australia’s Michael Cusack. This is a stop-motion film about illusions. A man yearns to know his place in the world and how he fits in, when sometimes, it's better not to know. In his director statement, Cusack writes of his inspiration as a filmmaker, “What if the characters that I have animated over the years felt as if they had a life…that they had free will…that they were in charge of their own destinies, unaware that they were being guided and manipulated by an external force? It was a powerful thought that I wanted to explore.” 

Student Animation/Experimental/Other Category

18 Minutes is a 3-minute film by Savannah College of Art and Design student Christopher Mennuto. Mennuto writes, “This animation is the story of my father's survival on September 11th. Although I was only 10 when my father narrowly escaped the fall of the towers, my recollection of the events of that day still resonate in my mind. I produced thousands of frames, hand-drawing each one in Photoshop. I am thankful my father survived and am honored to tell his story.”

Professional Short Form Category

Later than Usual is written and directed by David Hovan from Canada. This 6-minute film shows a day in the life of an elderly couple. This couple has lived so long together that they have nothing left to say to each other. The non-verbal interactions between the two make for sometimes funny and at other times poignant moments throughout the film. Judge Jeff Boortz said the film was “beautifully sad.”

Student Short Form Category 

Enveloped is a 5-minute film directed by Bethany Lutheran College student Landon Brands and co-written by Grace Merchant and Landon Brands. This film is about a man working in a crazy, colorful post office who wants to propose to his girlfriend. But when his bumptious boss and a mail mix-up get in the way, he'll need to sort through the mess so she can say “yes.” Judge Jeff Boortz wrote of the film: “Clever storytelling, very good acting, and a plausible alternate universe.”

Honorable mentions for the festival include the following:

·  Kako sam ostao bez krila (How I Lost My Wings), Serbia, 22 minutes Directed and written by Ivan Tasic
Professional Animation/Experimental/Other

·  Native Boy, USA, 17 minutes
Directed and written by Henry Roosevelt
Professional Long Form

·  Godless Nights, United Kingdom, 22 minutes
Directed and written by Ian Gray and Gavin Hall
Professional Long Form

·  Deeds Not Words, Italy, 8 minutes
Directed and written by Silvio Nacucchi
Professional Short Form

·  Dirge, Canada, 6 minutes
Written and produced by Kat Germain, Directed by Firas Momani
Professional Short Form

·  Blackout Roulette, USA, 5 minutes
Directed and written by Alex Italics from the University of Arizona in Tucson
Student Short Form

Also included in the festival will be the world premiere of the Trampled by Turtles official music video for “Midnight on the Interstate” from their newest album Stars and Satellites. Media arts students at Bethany Lutheran College are producing this video using stop motion animation.  

The film festival showings will take place in the downtown Mankato Place Movie Theater on Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2013. All-access passes for Speechless Film Festival include admission to all film screenings and special events. Passes are available for purchase at www.speechlessfilmfestival.com