Review: Students shine through Black Glasses Film Festival

The 20th annual Black Glasses Film Festival took place Saturday. The festival featured the best of the student films produced this school year across many genres. Photo courtesy of Maverick Moore

After a long year of filmmaking, many from the film and digital media department gathered at the Hippodrome Theatre Saturday night for the 20th annual Black Glasses Film Festival — an event specifically geared to showcase the top short film projects of students from the past two semesters.

The event featured a variety of films across a broad array of genres, from experimental horror to choppy comedy. Each film brought something unique to the table and as a whole, the event showcased the communal talent packed into the department.

Without directly addressing each of the 17 films showcased in the event, here is a brief commentary on a few of the films that stood out in order of their appearance:

1. “Mel Brooks” — Spokane, Wash., master’s candidate Gabe Lipton

This short film was the first to be shown, and it had the audience in hysterics. The film follows the story of four students in their pursuit of the perfect short film to create in hopes of making it into the Black Glasses Film Festival. After ages of failed brainstorming, one of the four has an epiphany, realizing they ought to create a film in the same style as Mel Brooks — a director known for his low-budget and improvisational comedic style. The audience then realizes that the whole short film is in that same style and is invited into the metanarrative of the film. The actors were hilarious, the casual cinematography believable and the essence of Mel Brooks’ style achieved.

2. “Karma” — Humble junior Adrian Fisk

The film was taken in a single shot and followed a series of events in which one person’s wrongdoing was quickly met with a transgression against them, presumably as bad karma for their first wrongdoing. The film was short and simple, but the cinematography was impressive and seamless.

3. “From Shadows” — Austin junior Lena Lee

This film featured shadow puppetry, a technique that originated in ancient Chinese culture. “From Shadows” told the story of a princess who, with the help of a man-turned-demon, sought color and emotion beyond what her world of flat shadows could offer her. The film must have taken countless hours to produce with every character and prop having been meticulously constructed and cut out. Even the mouths and limbs of the characters moved with the narration.

4. “Max Li-Tintype Photographer” — Heber City, Utah, senior Jack Watkins

This film was a mini documentary featuring an artist who uses tintype, a very old form of photography. The film was beautifully composed with straightforward cinematography that was effective and aesthetically cohesive.

5. “ULTRAVIOLET” — Dallas senior Joy Schmitz

Full transparency: This short film was downright bizarre. It had everything from bloody bouquets to eerie flowers sprouting from a girl’s back to trippy color effects. As a more experimental film, much was left to interpretation, which made the film stand out among the others.


Best Picture:

“The Man with Bloody Tears”

Robinson, senior Andy Racoti

Best Cinematography:

“The Man with Bloody Tears” & “Decay”

McKinney, junior Channing Mead

Best Editing:


Axtell freshmanTristan Sparks-McMahon


Sound Design:


Godley, master’s candidate Christian Oliveira

Unique Vision:


Dallas, senior Joy Schmitz

Crew Most Valuable Player:

Meadowlakes, senior Conner White