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Students create, direct short films for upcoming festivals

Every year, Oklahoma Christian University students and faculty work together to create and direct short films featuring their original ideas. This year, three different films will be featured at four different festivals around the state.

“We have a movie called ‘The List’ that is playing a week from Sunday in the Sunny Side Up Festival, ‘Facades’ is playing the following weekend in the Red Dirt Festival in Stillwater, OK and then ‘The Highway’ is playing at both the Barebones Festival in late April and the Twister Alley Film Festival in early May,” Communications Professor David Jurney said.

Jurney said the short films are developed and shot during Oklahoma Christian’s capstone course in advanced media, which is required for creative media majors. According to Jurney, the films take longer than the semester to produce, because the post-production process takes a while.

“When a film gets submitted, most of the crew gets invited to go to the whole festival and watch other films and their film,” senior Kasey Engle said. “It’s a good place to network and meet other people in the industry and make connections.”

In addition to those films, “Assisted Living”—a short film written and directed by Oklahoma Christian alumnus Mitchell Allen—has been an ongoing project for the past two years. Allen said his inspiration for the film was interactions between Jurney and former student Nehemiah Knox.

As Allen graduated, the film has continued to be worked on and perfected for this year’s upcoming film festivals. “Assisted Living,” when finished, will be the longest short film produced at Oklahoma Christian.

“‘Assisted Living’ is about a dorky college guy who he ends up in a situation where he has to move out of living with his roommate,” senior Adyson Wessel said. “He doesn’t really want to move back home, so he signs up for this program that pairs you with someone who lives in assisted living, but you get free housing. So, he is now stuck with this old man who doesn’t like him for the rest of the film.”

Jurney said countless hours of hard work and creativity go into shooting and editing the short films made by students and faculty. According to Jurney, Oklahoma Christian student consistently finish the films they start and only improve the process of developing their end product.

“The films end up being student-faculty productions, where the students fulfill most of the crew roles, including they fact they are all directed by students,” Jurney said. “Most of them have been written or co-written by students, but I usually produce them to make sure they get down to a certain standard.”

Oklahoma Christian also provides the opportunity for creative media students to spend a semester living in Los Angeles, CA working alongside film professionals. This program gives students a chance to experience and learn the industry of film.

“Some of us have a film emphasis in our major, which allows us to live in L.A. for a semester,” Engle said. “I went last fall and helped write the script, but mostly worked on the sound, for a short film called ‘Spoons,’ which took first place and won an OBEA award.”

This year, many students have submitted several genres of work to the Oklahoma Broadcast Education Association (OBEA) and have received awards for their work.

“Every year, our comm. department submits videos and things like that to a competition, the OBEA, and there, we compete state-wide in all different categories, such as PR, radio shows and commercials,” Wessel said.

Engle, senior Morganne McCutchen, senior Janet Pugh, and Wessel all won OBEA awards this year in various categories

“We are about to have auditions for our next film, ‘Ten Minutes’, on March 16th from 4-9 p.m., and March 17th from 12-5 p.m.,” Wessel said. “Students are welcome to audition. We have a lead that is a college student. If you want to know more, you can visit the ‘Ten Minutes’ Facebook page.”

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