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ACU FilmFest to showcase student films

October 26, 2005 

Student-produced films will debut and compete at the Centennial FilmFest at Abilene Christian University at the Paramount Theatre on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

The films are based on this year’s theme, "Milestones." More than 100 students, as well as several faculty members, were involved in the creation of this year's films, and a prestigious panel of judges will award the top students and films.

Each of the FilmFest teams created a seven to ten minute film using off-the-shelf technology submitted in one of the four judging categories: comedy, drama/thriller, music video/inspirational, and informational/documentary. Four exposition films not included in the competition were also submitted and will be shown during the premiere.

Of the 22 films submitted this year, 11 will be shown on the night of the premier. Awards will be given to recognize the six individuals that make up a FilmFest team and include best producer, best director, best writer, best production designer, best technical director and best sound designer. An award also will be given for the best overall entry.

Judges include ACU alumni and others with ties to ACU who are involved in the entertainment industry:

  • Stephen Bailey ('92), worship minister at Lake Cities Church in Trophy Club. Bailey formerly helped produce special effects and 3-D animation for television and film projects, including the movie "Spy Kids 2."
  • Randy Brewer ('93), Dove Award-winning producer and owner of Revolution Pictures.
  • Nelson Coates ('84), production designer for films including "Kiss the Girls" and "Runaway Jury."
  • Rob Gibbs, story board artist for Pixar.
  • Kurt Heinecke, Dove-award winning composer and arranger with Big Idea, Inc.
  • Les Hunter ('86), visual effects producer and veteran of computer animation and visual effects for Hollywood films including "Serenity" and "Minority Report."
  • David Leeson ('78), senior staff photographer for the Dallas Morning News and Pulitzer Prize winner.
  • Vonn Miller, account executive for higher education with Apple Computers, Inc.
  • Martin Perry ('83), production manager and director of corporate production at Phillips Productions, Inc., in Dallas.
  • Cary Roberts ('90), producer and director of independent films and founder of Mandatory Chapel, a production company based in Austin.
  • Brandon Scott Thomas ('92), producer and singer for ZOE Worship.
  • Rob Thomas, producer and founder of Ignitor Media Group.

An award will also be given this year called People's Choice. Eleven of the FilmFest entries will be played on the campus cable channel beginning the end of this week and through the week of FilmFest. Students will be able to vote for the People’s Choice Award online at a Web site indicated during the airing of the films.

"This year the overall quality of the films is phenomenal," said Doug Darby, multimedia coordinator at ACU and coordinator of FilmFest. "And we're still getting diversity with a variety of majors and disciplines involved. This is something for everyone."

This year’s FilmFest was organized by Darby and student co-chairs Matt Maxwell, junior electronic media major from Abilene, and Robyn King, senior marketing and management major from Newark. This is the second year FilmFest has been presented at ACU.

In addition, the Judges Symposium will be on Saturday Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. in room 115 of the Mabee Business Building on the ACU campus. The symposium is open to the public and will provide an opportunity for students and others to meet and interact with the judges.

Tickets for both premier and the symposium are $3 for each event and are available in the McGlothlin Campus Center on the ACU campus. Mail-in order forms will also be available starting Monday at For more information, contact Doug Darby at 674-2981 or at


If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, director of public relations.

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