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Envisioning the world of film

Annual Envision Film Festival features workshops and film screenings


Kathy Bruner kicked off the Envision Film Festival on Thursday night with a screening of a documentary in the Mitchell Theatre.

By Danielle Barnes | Echo

On Friday night both college students and high schoolers will catch a glimpse of what it’s like to present their films in front of a packed audience through the Envision Film Festival.

Running from March 3-5, the festival is Taylor’s media communication department’s biggest event of the year. This entertainment-oriented weekend will showcase student films and facilitate workshops led by industry professionals.

Kathy Bruner, assistant professor of media communication, believes that the festival presents the best of both worlds by focusing on both college and high school students.

“The festival highlights the best in Taylor student filmmaking of the last year,” Bruner said. “It also introduces the department program to prospective students.”

High school students will be introduced to the Taylor community and immersed in a college environment. They will learn skills that they might never encounter in high school through workshops, including cinematography, producing, post-production, film/TV acting, Steadicam operation and the RED digital camera.

“The idea is to integrate the prospective students with all the workshops that our college students are taking,” Bruner said. “These workshops are at a college level, but we want these students to be immersed in an extra day of film education.”

The festival brings in working professionals with experience in the film industry to lead the workshops. This year Envision welcomes four guests, three of whom are no strangers to Taylor.

Taylor alumnus Jonathan Bennett (’07) will return to campus with experience in camera operation, freelance filmmaking and cinematography. He has worked on feature films and television including NBC’s “Harry’s Law.” He also worked on the highly anticipated film “Passengers,” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

Taylor graduate Heidi Burkey (’05) will also be presenting. Burkey is a documentary producer and director who has produced more than 45 documentary shorts advocating for social change for children.

Award-winning actor and Taylor graduate Jason Burkey (’07) is the festival’s third guest. He is best known for his film roles in “October Baby” and “Mom’s Night Out.” Some of his television work includes BET’s “Being Mary Jane” and VH1’s “Hindsight.”

The final guest, Christina Lee Storm, will be appearing via Skype. Storm is the senior VP for production at Dreamworks Animation and was the production supervisor for the highly acclaimed 2012 Oscar-winning film “The Artist.”

Despite these speakers, student films are the festival’s main attraction. Ten films will be shown on March 4 at 7 p.m. in Rediger Auditorium.

The festival may be a competition, but it’s also a chance for students to come together and show what they have accomplished. Envision co-producer and senior Lydia Burchett hopes that the audience gains a better understanding of what film majors do.

“I hope they understand that it is a difficult process, but also that we’re all really passionate about telling stories,” Burchett said. “I’m really excited for the audience to be a part of this outstanding event.”

Tickets for the screening are available at the door, charged at $3 for students and $5 for general public. The event is free for prospective visitors.

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