Student filmmakers compete in annual Leonard Oakland Film Fest

“Little Three” — a film that draws upon Whitworth’s  popular “little three” tradition — took first place overall in the recent student film competition at the Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival. The film was one of four student films shown as part of the festival on Feb. 8.

Danny Parker, junior and current president of the Whitworth Film Club, directed “Little Three.” The members of film club collaborated together to make the short film.

“I heard about the festival from Fred Johnson, he’s the guy behind the film minor here,” Parker said. “The student competition has been going since before I came here, and Film Club has submitted films for two years now.”

In “Little Three” junior Mitch Heid plays a Whitworth student named Michael, who convinces his new roommate Aaron, a transfer student played by senior Andy Rowland, that he must complete the little three or he won’t be allowed to graduate. Michael also happens to carry a camera with him at all times.

“It was a very Whitworth-specific film,” Parker said. “It was fun to experiment with the kind of ‘Cloverfield’ style, with the camera being almost like a character in the film.”

Rowland and Heid were asked to improvise on the script. They improvised so much that the first cut of the film ended up being almost 12 minutes instead of the intended four.

Cutting the film was the most difficult part, Parker said.

“Andy and Mitch did a really good job,” Parker said. “It wasn’t us just moving from one thing to the next, the improvising allowed them to expand on their characters more than we had written down.”

“Little Three” was shown to an audience of about 60 people. It was a nerve-wracking experience for Parker, he said.

“I was worried that it wouldn’t go over very well or people wouldn’t get some of the jokes,” Parker said. “After you sit with a certain piece for a long enough time, since you have almost no distance, it’s hard to gauge if it’s good or not because you become overly critical. When I was watching all the other films I thought we were done for.”

He was ultimately satisfied with how the film was received at the festival, Parker said.

“Once our film actually started, it didn’t feel very long, and people were laughing at the jokes,” Parker said. “After the film having been only ours for so long, and then all of a sudden a crowd of people were laughing because of something I was personally responsible for — it was an amazing experience.”

Sophomore art and English double major Anneka Baird’s animated film, titled “Cowlick,” won first prize in the “60 Seconds or Less” category and second place overall.

“I had seen advertisements for the festival,” Baird said. “I had made this film last spring for a class at my previous school.”

Baird’s film was a traditional hand-drawn animation, and she drew every single frame of it herself.

“It’s about 19 seconds,” Baird said. “I drew each frame individually and then scanned them and edited them together in iMovie.”

The hardest part of making her film was drawing the frames in such a way that they all fit together in a logical sequence, while also keeping the same figures in the same place and moving them ever so slightly each time, Baird said.

Baird’s film took about four weeks to make from start to finish and this was the first film or animation that she had ever made.

“I was so excited,” Baird said. “I got the first award I’ve ever gotten for any art work I’ve ever done. It was a really cool experience showing my film at the festival and it was neat to have people see my work in a public setting like that.”

 

Mikayla Nicholson Staff Writer

Contact Mikayla Nicholson at mnicholson17@my.whitworth.edu

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