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Clemson Film Club holds first student film festival

Clemson Film Club, Courtesy

The Clemson Film Club featured 16 student-made short films at its first annual film festival on March 12.
Organized by members of the club and led by president Savannah Gambrell, a junior genetics major, the festival was followed by eight award categories presented by various Clemson alumni and other notable guests!
Alumni, rapper and former Harlem Globetrotter Bryan Narcisse opened the show with a touching speech reminding the room of filmmakers and film-lovers that their uniting passion begins with a story. Narcisse continued to hold the crowds’ attention throughout the show and was joined by guest presenters and Clemson alumni Kenneth Jackson and Ashley Wilson.
Jackson, an actor and model known for his role of “Spider” in the short-film “Fall Nights in China Grove,” was presented the award for Best Actor. Wilson, writer, director and CEO of Salty Quills Studios was presented the award for Best Story.
As the sixteen short films screened, there was no shortage of laughs, tears and gasps amongst the crowd. The sense of pride and pay- off in the audience was palpable, as student production teams were able to celebrate their own work and the work of their peers.

Freshman pre-business major, Jason Gibbs’s film, “A Speech to the Dreaming” opened the show with haunting visuals of faceless characters in an eerie, dreamlike landscape set to a swelling and repetitive score. The film brought up themes of maintaining childhood imagination with a twist ending that set the night off with a reminder to expect the unexpected.
“LOST”, written and directed by junior visual arts major, Ashleigh Barksdale, followed telling the story of a reflection trapped in a mirror trying desperately to get the attention of the girl who once looked back at her before there is nothing left. Barksdale performed as both the girl and her reflection, earning her a nomination for Best Acting. Barksdale’s seamless reflection editing also earned her a nomination for Best Editing.
“Backhanded Compliments” by Alexandria Thomas, a graduate graphic communications major, had the auditorium in silence as a group of young women gave their personal experiences with body image and self-esteem issues perpetuated by new-age media, all while being accompanied by moving visuals of this evident issue in social culture.
Junior graphic communications majors, Jacob Smock and Matt Conder, as well as junior electrical engineering major, Connor Witt and junior world cinema major, Aidan Terracciano recounted the founding history and accomplishments of Clemson’s big boat Sailing Team, with interviews and scenic shots of the team out on the water earning “Clemson Big Boat” the award for Best Production. Smock and Witt also received a nomination for Best Editing.
Writer and Director Alice Box’s “Fatal Error” took home the award for Best Music/Sound. Additionally, the award for Best Editing went to junior computer science major, Allison Zynda and senior civil engineering major, Garrett Moore for their impressive work on the project. The film’s feverish imagery was expertly crafted and the editing, score and perfomances were panic-inducing, until the final shot.
“Fatherly,” written by Alan Sanders, Blake Wright and Quinn Raedels and directed by Sanders and Wright, brought a refreshing levity to the auditorium with a series of “dad jokes” that had the room in shambles. The three actors delivered perfectly timed performances of the classic stereotype with cargo shorts and sandals to match.
Liz Roberts’s haunting performance in Catherine Bergman’s “Germaphobe” won her the award for Best Acting. The film perfectly executed its central myster with a jarring final reveal that was expertly written and performed. The film also received a nomination for Best Short.
“Going Under” written by Sam Langenfield and directed by Langenfield and Perry Hopper left with the highest nominations, with nominations in Best Music/Sound, Best Production, Best Story, and Best Directing. The film took home Best Cinematography and Best Short for its high-suspense depiction of
half of a burglarizing pair digging a grave, intercut with flashbacks of what exactly got him there.
Elizabeth Braswell’s “Her, Anxiety” gave a realistic depiction of what it is like to deal with anxiety across all aspects of your life: unglamorized and in silence. The film’s incredibly human quality and touching performance made it all the more relatable. Braswell received nominations for Best Production, Best Cinematography and Best Directing.
“Slow Panic” by Kamille Brown, possessed a characteristic repetition of the mundane that lived up to its title among audience members. The simplicity in the storytelling delivered the piece’s message tactfully.
“In Masks,” by Matthew McCurdy, displayed an inner-monologue discussing themes of identity played over a montage of a boy struggling to maintain the status quo. The audience and character are reminded that one’s true self hides under a mask, which they have the power to remove at any moment.
A crowd-pleaser, written by Alan Sanders and Rebecca Glenn and directed by Glenn and Blake Wright, “Mr. Johnson’s Junction,” brought home the award for Best Story, as well as a nomination for Best Short and Best Acting for Sanders’s performance. The film began as a typical episode of the titular show, which quickly descended into chaos in a series of outtakes and bloopers. 
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