Regent Film Wins Best Student Film in International Cinema Festival

Swing of Things, a film created, acted and produced by Regent students, recently won three awards at the Washington D.C. International Cinema Festival: best student film, best actress, and the capital award of excellence. The producer, senior Michael Sencindiver, expressed his gratitude for the forty-five student volunteers who banded together to make this film a reality: “This was a film that people of all walks of life came together to make, and they made true art. Everyone contributed various skills and came together as a team to shoot an entire script in about 10 hours over two days.” 

The project began in August 2021, and was based on the idea of two people dancing and a camera going around them at a 360-degree angle. Sencindiver noted that the first obstacle when creating the ten-minute film was the genre. “The best way to write [this piece] was doing it like a romance film or a comedy, but I have never written a romance.” Luckily, Sencindiver did not have to face this challenge alone and relied on members from “Zingers”, an off-campus RU dancing club, his professors, and his crew to help create a compelling film. 

The story revolves around Andrew, played by Aaron Brewer, who is apprehensive about new experiences after a rough break up. Through the chicanery of his roommate Eugene, played by Charles Jones, Andrew ends up at a swing dance where he slowly gains confidence through song and dance. Drama ensues as Andrew starts to relax among the sea of folks and his ex-girlfriend, Karisma, makes an appearance. He wrestles with his hermit crab tendency to retreat into his shell but overcomes it with the help of his new dance partner, Julianna, played by Bethany Paulsen, who encourages him to focus on the merriment of the evening. 

A strategy to draw the audience into the scenes came from the crew’s camera operators and cinematographers. “Our crew came up with a genius idea where either Bethany or Aaron[the film’s leads] would be holding a camera on a stick and walking and talking to it like it was the person dancing.”  

Swing of Things was completed and submitted to several film festivals in early July, one of those being the Washington D.C. International Cinema Festival. It was judged across the globe and received recognition in late September as the best student film. Additionally, Sencindiver received the capital award of excellence for serving as director, producer, and writer for the film, and Bethany Paulsen won best actress. This was a great accomplishment as the Festival was not limited to student films but open to all short films from all over the world. Sencindiver was thrilled at the news: “It was an honor for Bethany to win an award through my film,” he stated. “Whatever [future] awards the film receives are not just my awards but everyone’s. It’s our film.”

Going forward, Sencindiver plans to continue his career in film. He recently was assistant director on two films: Detective Kiwi and Amends of The Father. He worked on these productions with the 65 time award winning director, producer, and actor Stephen Sorrentino. Sencindiver is also writing several films, one of which is based on his parents’ experience on 9/11. He was recently the sound mixer and boom operator for the Regent Endowed film this year, and after graduating, he hopes to move to LA or New York but leaves it in “God’s hands.” The trailers for Swing of Things are accessible on YouTube, and Sencindiver is hoping to host a live viewing party at Regent, which we’ll keep you informed of. He’ll also post the project on his YouTube channel.