It’s lights, camera, action for students’ films

April 05, 2018 / by / 0 Comment

More than 30 short films are entered in this weekend’s GCU Film Festival.

By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau

Grand Canyon University’s Digital Film department will be rolling out the red carpet this weekend for its annual film festival, with more than 30 entries in eight categories getting the spotlight at Ethington Theatre.

This is the fourth year for the revamped version of the free-admission GCU Film Festival, presented by the College of Fine Arts and Production. The event starts at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and will showcase original films, up to 10 minutes long each, created by GCU students. The winners will be announced at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Lisa Tervo

“Previously, the festival was a one-night event, which was more of a fun-type event put on by the students,” said Lisa Tervo, Program Director of the Digital Film department.

On Friday night, 13 films in the drama, faith, documentary and thriller categories will be screened, while Saturday night will feature the 20 submissions for comedy, music video, animation and alumni.

“Anyone can submit their films as long as they are content-appropriate,” said Tervo, adding that the entries are submitted by the director, producer or sometimes the students who worked on the film. “We have films from sophomores up through seniors as well as films from Digital Design students.”

The event will culminate with an awards ceremony on Sunday night with winners announced for each category, along with a Best of Festival. Also, posters for each winning film, designed by students in the Digital Design department, will be unveiled.

Hosts of the awards ceremony will be Zane Courtney and Caleb Davidson. Judging took place recently. Judges include Digital Film instructors (Brian Gerber, Scott Lairson, Scott Pfister, Chuck Banaszewski) and industry professionals (Dan Brown, Curtis Thurber and Michael Pang). 

Here is a list of the films to be screened and who submitted the entry:


  • Drama: “Patience,” Zane Courtney; “Sleep Not,” Trevor Wilch; “Empty,” Trevor Wilch; “Dinosaur,” Nikki Shadden; “Pursuit of the Fallen Trailer,” Brandon Loyola; “The Elevator,” Mark Thompson
  • Faith: “Never Alone,” Matthew Wagner, and “Awake,” submitted by David Nevrla
  • Documentary: “Begin,” Nikki Shadden; “A Day in the Life of an Ati,” Ethan Collins; “Expedition Wander” by Forrest Lohman
  • Thriller: “Laundry Day,” Trevor Wilch, and “The Wake Up,” submitted by Dave Crockett

The films will be screened starting at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Ethington Theatre.


  • Comedy: “Marshmallows,” Trevor Wilch; “The Wright Way,” Trevor Wilch; “I’m Dreaming,” Caleb Davidson; “The Mime Inside,” Janey Aponte; “I’m so Glad We’re Friends,” Elliott de Neve
  • Animation; “Creation: Animatic,” Ajanie Carter; “Cat and Mouse,” Loren Jaxson; “Putting Myself Back Together,” Kaitlyn Terry; “Starchitects,” Kaitlyn Terry; “Portals,” Kaitlyn Terry
  • Music video: “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May,” Ryan Brennan; “Fake Flowers,” Matthew Wagner; “Something About You,” David Nevrla; “Put Your Record On,” David Crockett; “Maybe Baby,” David Crockett; “Heller High Water,” David Crockett; “Baby, Baby, Baby,” David Crockett; “This Distance,” Elliott de Neve; “A Compilation of Love: ‘I Hear a Symphony Music Video’,” submitted by Nikki Shadden
  • Alumni: “Only the Number Seven,” Brenton Esktrand

GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults can be reached at 602-639-7901 or by email at Follow her on Twitter @lanasweetenshul.

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