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ACU's FilmFest offers "unReel" experience with student-produced films Nov. 3

"Cell(s)," "Fiddler on Campus" and "GhostHunters" are just some of the student-produced films audience members will have the opportunity to watch at this year's FilmFest Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. The films are based on this year's theme "unReel."

FilmFest Premiere Night, held at the Paramount Theatre, will showcase the best films from this year's competition, with an awards ceremony to follow. Tickets are $5 at the door. 

"Traditional film festivals celebrate individual film pieces, but ACU differentiates itself from these festivals by offering a themed, student-led production," said Doug Darby, executive director for FilmFest. "FilmFest supports ACU's mission and desire to prepare students for leadership and promotes new ideas and means of expression."

Approximately 200 students have worked 30 days to produce 21 original films for the competition. The films will be judged by 11 professionals from the film, music, journalism and computer industries. Eight of the judges will be in Abilene to participate in the FilmFest Premiere Night and symposium.

Judges for the competition include:

  • David Leeson, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and staff member of the Dallas Morning News
  • Stephen Bailey, worship minister at the Lake Cities Church in Trophy Club, Texas and former employee of Reel FX - Creative Studios
  • Monica Jimenez-Grillo filmmaker, producer and president of Cricket Films
  • Zane Williams, award-winning folk singer-songwriter
  • Brandon Scott Thomas, producer and singer for ZOE Worship and voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
  • Cary Roberts, producer and director of independent films and founder of Mandatory Chapel, a production company based in Austin
  • Mark Pleasant, award-winning cinematographer and founder of Small Wonder Studios
  • Randy Brewer, producer and founder of Revolution Pictures in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Nelson Coates, production designer for both the stage and screen
  • Les Hunter, visual effects and computer animation producer
  • Vonn Miller, account executive for higher education with Apple Computers, Inc.

"The FilmFest Premier Night is only part of the FilmFest experience," said Tabitha Vail, student co-chair for FilmFest. "It began with a weekend workshop in September that assisted students with their projects. This year, one of our judges, Cary Roberts, touched on several aspects of filmmaking from editing to creating a treatment."

On Saturday, Nov. 4, FilmFest will host a symposium featuring a panel discussion on the entertainment industry with FilmFest judges. This symposium will begin at 10 a.m. in the ACU Campus Center Living Room. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Additional information on FilmFest can be found online at