Oglethorpe student film festival celebrates creativity, inspires student filmmakers

Large crowd seated in Lupton Auditorium waiting for the film festival to begin. Black and gold balloons line the back wall.

Nearly 200 people attended the Last Looks Student Film Festival.

Oglethorpe student filmmakers recently showcased their creative film projects to an enthusiastic crowd at the annual Last Looks Student Film Festival.

Lupton Auditorium was filled with excitement as attendees and film creators walked the red carpet and grabbed their favorite movie snacks before the 32 submitted films were shown to the audience and judges.

This year’s festival judges were all industry professionals from the Atlanta film community:

  • Ellen Barnard, co-owner and executive producer of Tomorrow Pictures Inc.
  • Bill Burton, award-winning cinematographer of feature films, scripted television series, documentaries, and TV commercials
  • Karen Ceesay, Atlanta-based actor, writer, and producer
  • Jane Cole, Emmy-winning director and producer
  • Kristen McGary, Atlanta-based director, writer, and producer

Students were invited to submit films in four categories: promotional, experimental, documentary, and narrative, and to compete for the Weltner Consulting Agency-sponsored award for “Capturing Culture.”

In addition to awards in each film category, the festival also named the “Best Overall,” which was awarded to Karla Ojeda ’24 and Justin Edwards ’25 for their film “Janitor 988.”

“Grateful cannot begin to explain how I feel,” said Ojeda. “Having industry professionals speak highly of something that Justin and I worked so hard on was thrilling.”

Poster for "Janitor 988" with three images from the film stacked on one another. Top image: close up shot of a man sweating, second: same man in front of an opened locker, third: same man with arms stretched out while holding towels that are tied together. Image reads "Satchcreative Presents Janitor 988" "1st best overall Last Looks Student Festival"

“Janitor 988” won Best Overall and 3rd in “Capturing Culture” at the Last Looks Student Film Festival.

The two students used their film project to spread awareness of mental health issues, a topic that has directly affected Edwards and was important for him to highlight.

“The best part of the film festival for me was experiencing it with my mom, who was able to attend,” said Edwards. “She knows how hard I worked and was beyond proud of me. I’ll never forget her being there to celebrate the moment with me.”

“The other best part was getting to share a message about topics bigger than myself. The subject matter highlighted in ‘Janitor 988’ is extremely close to my heart, as I am someone who has had a long battle with mental health. The struggles have made me determined to use my platform to spread awareness about topics we don’t speak about enough.”

A total of 32 student entries were submitted to the film festival:

  1. “A Dream of Gene Editing” by Isaiah Holliday
  2. “Bedroom” by Sabrina De Camargo Cruz
  3. “Burning Passenger & Flight” by Joseph Lincoln
  4. “Call” by Akeem Harrison and Maro Innocent-Otolo
  5. “Canceled in Pop: The Ariana and Doja Effect” by Niya Young, Hannah Banfiel, Maro Innocent-Otolo, and Jonah Costen
  6. “Challenges, Comics, & Community Ties” by Andrew Howard and Darwin Perez
  7. “Chase” by Paul Danner
  8. “Fargo Scene Recreation” by Kennedy Bell
  9. “Georgia’s Tranquil Gem” by Cris Peñuela
  10. “Good Hands” by Logan Conton
  11. “Happy Home” by Justin Edwards
  12. “Homesick” by Gabriela Dumar
  13. “Horse For Sale” by Michael Fasquelle
  14. “How Can We Get Better at Accepting Death?” by Kennedy Bell
  15. “How Gossip Travels” by Grace Fettinger
  16. “Jack” by Brody Young
  17. “Janitor 988” by Karla Ojeda and Justin Edwards
  18. “Late for Work” by Coltrane Cheatham
  19. “Leave a Light On” by Emma Jean Scott
  20. “Lifted: A Gymshark Spec Ad” by Ike Ogueri
  21. “MANEATER” by Jaden Poindexter, Olivia Else, and Emily Suarez
  22. “Mindful Mentality” by Larissa Williams
  23. “Shower Thoughts” by Imani Alsobrook
  24. “Speculo” by Niya Young
  25. “The Finger- Part 1” by Logan Conton
  26. “The Man Who Ended the World (Part One) by Evan Williams
  27. “the sun wept, and the moon listened” by Jaidyn Carter
  28. “Trailer for “Pink: A Lighter Tint of Red” by Isabel Berlin
  29. “Undocumented” by Devlynn Miller and Erika Zepeda
  30. “Weighing Choices” by Lea Spears and Terrell White
  31. “What are Ostriches (Humans) for?” by Devlynn Miller
  32. “Zero-Sum Game” by Isabel Berlin

From these, the judges named the following winners in their respective categories:

Best Overall: “Janitor 988” by Karla Ojeda and Justin Edwards
2nd Best Overall: “The Man Who Ended the World (Part One) by Evan Williams
3rd Best Overall: “Jack” by Brody Young
Narrative: “Leave a Light On” by Emma Jean Scott
Documentary: “Mindful Mentality” by Larissa Williams
Experimental: “Shower Thoughts” by Imani Alsobrook
Promotional: “Lifted: A Gymshark Spec Ad” by Ike Ogueri
Capturing Culture 1st Place: Homesick” by Gabriela Dumar
Capturing Culture 2nd Place: “the sun wept, and the moon listened” by Jaidyn Carter
Capturing Culture 3rd Place: “Janitor 988” by Karla Ojeda and Justin Edwards

“We are so proud of all of our students and the work they have done,” says Dr. Katharine Zakos, program coordinator for film and media studies.

“The festival provides a space to celebrate our emerging filmmakers and a great opportunity for students to network with industry professionals. Those who submit get to have their work seen by potential future employers and receive valuable feedback from the judges. We look forward to continuing the tradition in the years to come!”

This year’s winners will speak about their film projects at the 2024 Liberal Arts and Science Symposium.

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