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SAU Student Film Recognized at Film Festival

On Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, the Spring Arbor University (SAU)-produced short film “Sadie Hawkins” won the Best Student Film award at the second annual Wolf Tree Film Festival. Filmed and produced by SAU film and video students, it was selected from out of 50 entries submitted by international contestants.

“Sadie Hawkins” was originally produced as a part of Will Shoot for Credit (WSFC), an informal evening class at SAU that involves students from across campus. Students of varying skill levels have the opportunity to be involved in the creation of a motion picture from pre- to post-production. WSFC is taught by Dorie Shelby, Dean of the School of Communication and Creative Expression at SAU. 

Brianna Buller ’18 and current SAU senior Elizabeth Pence wrote “Sadie Hawkins”, and Ulman and Emma Parker ’17 co-directed the film. As part of WSFC, Pence had the opportunity to get involved in many aspects of bringing her story to life.

“I wrote this film in ten hours,” said Pence. “I also aided the composer in writing some of the music, like the love song that the love interests dance to at the end of the movie.”

Starring in the film are SAU students Josiah Sweeney, senior, and Mariah Geppert, junior. Geppert was a freshman when she filmed “Sadie Hawkins.”

“It was my first ever film role, so the process was very new to me at the time,” said Geppert. “Sadie Hawkins is still one of my favorite films to date, just because it is such a fun, cute story and I have a lot of good memories attached to it.”

The Wolf Tree Film Festival is an event held in Marshall, Michigan, and is hosted by the Franke Center for the Arts and by Marshall’s Youngish Professionals Committee. This year, the festival showcased films that were either set in Michigan or included Michigan-related subject matter. The festival began with dinner and conversation that provided an opportunity for contestants to network with professional producers, directors, and actors from Los Angeles. Following dinner was a screening of the top ten finalists’ films.

“Attending Wolf Tree Film Festival was a really cool experience,” Geppert says. “There were a lot of incredibly talented industry professionals there who we had the opportunity to network with. I also loved seeing the different projects other people had been working on!”