And the winner is …. Grove City College student filmmakers

Five short student films took top honors in the inaugural Lux Mea Film Festival, sponsored by the College’s Department of Communication and Visual Arts, held April 30 and May 1 at the Guthrie Theatre in Olde Town Grove City.

“4 Steps to Make A Good Impression,” a film by Noah Lawrence ’21, of Eldersburg, Md., won four awards, taking the top prizes for Audience Favorite, Best Visual Effects and Best Performance and tying in the Best Narrative category with “The Confession,” a film by Malachi Abbott ’24 of Leverett, Mass. Abbot’s film also won the award for Best Screenplay.

Lawrence said he made the award-winning film with friends Cole Stinebiser ’21 of Irwin, Pa., and Tobias Kwasnjuk ’21 of Dover, Pa., who was singled out for the performance award.

“My friends and I have talked about making videos for years. We finally got around to producing some of the ideas we have come up with just through our everyday banter and goofing around,” Lawrence said. “The idea for ‘4 steps to Make a Good Impression’ originated when Tobias approached Cole in the bathroom as he was filling up his water bottle, and said, ‘So, you like drinking water too?’ And then the joke quickly became a video idea, and the video was completed within 48 hours.”

Other winners were:

  • “GFGF” by Ayden Gutierrez ‘24 Morrisdale, Pa., and Aaron Phillips ’24 Hartville, Ohio, for Best Documentary.
  • “Condiment Standoff” – Wes Gray ’22 Stow, Ohio, for Best Super Short and Best Editing.
  • “Treebeard Brown” – Catie Fluharty ’21 Atlasburg, Pa., and Addie Reynolds ’22 Grove City, Pa., Best Cinematography and Best Audio Editing/Mixing

The Lux Mea festival was produced by students in Associate Professor of Communication and Visual Arts Gregory Bandy's Special Events and Promotions class. Student teams developed skill sets in marketing, management, social media, video production, graphic design, and branding photography to put together “not just an event, but an experience,” junior Lizzy Schinkel, festival social media manager, said.

“It was an incredible amount of work and the Comm Arts students in my class, and the filmmakers, really stepped up and hit it out of the park. But so did the campus community as a whole. We had around 300 people attend, and it was a lively, appreciative audience—which you really need for a student film festival,” Bandy said.

“The Lux Mea Film Festival experienced a wonderful first year. It was an excellent event to showcase student talent, both Comm Arts majors and other majors. We learned a lot of practical skills and got to work with a skilled and fun team,” Paige Fay ’21, PR/Marketing team member, said. “It’s wonderful to experience showing peers, parents and the community the fruit of all our work this spring.”

“I thought the festival was very well done. I was impressed with how professional the branding, marketing and overall execution of the festival was,” Lawrence said.

Bandy credited staff at the Guthrie and the College, Communication and Visual Arts faculty, alumni and festival judges for the festival’s success. “All contributed with their expertise by generously working with our students to make this an incredible learning experience and a solid event for the community. Hopefully, we can build on this for the future,” he said.

Lux Mea, which means “my light,” is the motto of Grove City College and the guiding ideal of the festival. “Our whole mission is to tell stories rooted in the values of truth-telling and exploring what it means to be a human being made in the image of God,” senior Alyssa Ward, festival website manager, said. 

And the winner is …. Grove City College student filmmakers

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