Futuristic comedy wins best picture at Film Festival

March 06, 2017 / by / 0 Comment
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Some of the winners in the GCU 2017 Film Festival, which honored films in eight categories: rear from left, Kennedi Martin, David Kormann, Elliott de Neve, Tyler McDonald and alumnus Anthony DiMaria. In front, Brenton Ekstrand. (Photo by Laurie Merrill)

By Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau

“Ralph Finds His Place in the Universe,” a film about a future filled with interfering alternative selves, won the award for best picture Sunday at the Grand Canyon University 2017 Film Festival.

The futuristic film “Ralph Finds His Place in the Universe” won Best Comedy and Best of Festival.

Filmmaker Elliott de Neve won the top prize after his imaginative entry clinched best comedy at the Ethington Theatre ceremony, a night of celebration and appreciation that highlights the achievements of Digital Film students and alumni in eight categories.

“I’m blessed to be at a film school that has such amazing people. Thanks to the school that allows our coworkers to be our best friends,” de Neve said, referring to the crew of fellow Digital Film students that collaborated on the futuristic comedy.

Like the stars attending the 2017 Academy Awards a week earlier, the creators, writers, actors, editors and other participants in the College of Fine Arts and Production program waited expectantly as co-hosts David Kormann and Ryker Roberts announced winners, made Oscars jokes and played the 10-minute, student-made films one at a time.

Here are the other winners in each category: 

  • DOCUMENTARY: “Jace: 2017 Race Starter” by Tyler McDonald
  • DRAMA: “Static” by David Crockett
  • FAITH: “The Glass” by David Crockett
  • THRILLER/SUSPENSE: “Your Fate is our Business” by David Kormann
  • MUSIC VIDEO: “Song of the Sea” by Brenton Ekstrand
  • ANIMATION: “Monochrome” by Kennedi Martin
  • ALUMNI: “REM” by Cody Carlson/AJ Peterson

The best documentary is a poignant story about sweet yet fearless Jace Hyduchak, 6, who will blow the horn to start the Grand Canyon University Foundation Run to Fight Children’s Cancer on Saturday. To see the video, click here. 

The documentary by Tyler McDonald won best documentary in the Film Festival.

The touching portrayal includes heart-swelling interviews with Jace’s father and mother and their emotional journey after learning in 2015 that Jace — who loves basketball, Batman and his three brothers — was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

More than a year and numerous medical treatments and hospital stays later, Jace is attending kindergarten and playing basketball. For now, his superheroes have beaten the disease.

In his acceptance speech, McDonald offered profuse thanks to Jace’s family for graciously allowing him to make a video about the profound lesson of hope and courage that their ordeal represents.

“We can go through anything we want to in life,” McDonald said. “Jace is the real superhero.”

McDonald, a student worker who produces videos for GCU, received nominations for four other projects among the 29 nominated.

McDonald was also one of about 30 seniors highlighted in a video honoring the digital film graduating class. Lisa Tervo, GCU’s digital film program director, got a huge round of applause and was presented with a bouquet.

Contact Laurie Merrill at (602) 639-6511 or laurie.merrill@gcu.edu.


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