Spring 2024 Student Film Showcase

Regent student filmmakers are rocking the campus yet again. Produced by Professors Nathan Tillett and Ashley Zahorian, the annual Student Film Showcase was held the evening of Saturday, April 6th, 2024. MFA students Tara Quart and Colleen Knopf hosted the event as they led the exhilarated audience through 16 stunning short films and documentaries. The work presented not only exceeded expectations, but proved that these artists are headed to bright futures that will impact the world.

Samuel Gonzalez ‘24 commented, “The film showcase ushers in the end of the semester, especially for the seniors! It’s such a joy to see everyone’s films in the theatre and know that friends, family, and even people we barely know are there watching!” 

Every filmmaker hopes their work will make it to the big screen one day, and the Dede Robertson Theatre sets the perfect stage for giving the student projects the attention they deserve. With no intermission, a few technical glitches, a teaser trailer, and an awards presentation, the showcase ran about two and a half hours. A mixer followed in the TV Studio with refreshments and the Audience Award Ceremony. 

“Everything just contributed to making the event feel professional and like there was a lot of love put into the event,” Gonzalez expressed. 

The showcase was bookended by the two most recent Regent Endowed Films: When the Music Stops, directed by Sage Thomas ‘23, and the much-anticipated Aria of Ashe, directed by Marcus Carola ‘24. The endowed films bring together large crews of Regent students eager to hone their skills and give their all to some of the largest film department endeavors. 

The excitement was palpable as Aria of Ashe took the screen, with most of the crew in the audience waiting with baited breath to see the result after months of effort. Unfortunately, a technical hiccup occurred, obscuring the ending. But the remarkable expression of art and emotion had already swept the audience away, and they responded with a standing ovation and voted it the “Audience Favorite.”

Many students submitted superb projects to the showcase, including class projects, senior projects, passion projects, documentaries, and even animations! However, only a limited number could be presented as part of the showcase. Beyond the endowed films, the audience had the honor of witnessing films from directors Armond Brundridge, Marcus Carola, Lauren Gilmeister, Samuel Gonzalez, Curtis McDaniel, Samuel Paul, Derek Shook, Justin Sukhdeo, Mikayla Watson, Analyn Wilkinson, and William Wonders III. 

Gilmeister ‘24, director of Where’s Craig?, stated, “It was an honor to have my film shown and seen by so many people. Since my film is a comedy, it was so cool to hear the audience laughing at the parts that were meant to be funny. It was so great to see all the other films that were made by my classmates and friends!”

During the awards presentation, Samuel Paul ‘24 won both “Best Picture” and “Best Art Direction” for Pearl of Paradise. Armond Brundridge ‘26 was awarded “Best Editing” and “Best Screenplay” for his class project, Eraser. Samuel Gonzalez ‘24 was awarded “Best Documentary” for the evocative Share This Bread. Justin Sukhdeo ‘25 earned “Best Cinematography” with A Heart for Worship. In addition to Aria of Ashe, Marcus Carola demonstrated his artistic instinct with Richer and Richer and The Width of Our Shadow and was awarded “Best Director.” 

Mikayla Watson ‘25 directed Mona and Paper Cranes, which won second place at the NRB International Christian Media Convention Film Competition in February. Gilmeister, Carola, and Gonzalez also worked with Watson on Paper Cranes during the 24-hour competition in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Following the showcase, Watson mused, “I took something from each set I was a part of and it has helped me become a better filmmaker. The showcase inspired me to keep making more stories and have each project be better than the last. The most impactful moment was hearing the audience’s reaction to my short film. Seeing something that I made on a big screen like that is a surreal moment, but to also have the audience so engaged in your story and enjoying the film is an experience I will never forget.”

The Annual Student Film Showcase was a grand success that inspired both the artists and audience. The technical skill and compelling storytelling presented reminded everyone that Regent students are and will continue to be competitive filmmakers. 

If you missed the showcase this year, ask your film friends about their upcoming projects and be sure to attend next spring!