Black Squirrel Flix Fest awards student filmmakers

Brittany Senary

Brightly colored Post-It notes came alive through animation last night in the Kiva and turned into flowers and people walking across bridges while music played in the background.

The CCI Commons hosted an amateur film festival that featured student-made short films from any genre.

The Black Squirrel Flix Fest, a film festival that allows students at Kent State to submit their own short videos, was held last night in the Kiva.


First-Place: “Mass Media in a Changing World” – Jeremy Markowitz, freshman electronic media major.

Second-Place: “Razzed” – Jon Jivan, Tommy Leonard and Dom Lucarelli

Third-Place: “Jacked” – Dan Geyer, Josh Kropko and Sam Kellman

Forth Place: “Post-it-Notes” – David Burkhart

EDITORIAL NOTE: At the time of press, the reporter was unable to obtain years and majors for all of this year’s winners.

The Flix Fest featured 18 films that were 15 minutes or less. Black Squirrel Radio was also at the event playing music and giving away T-shirts during intermission to students who could answer questions about songs.

The top four student entries received awards. The winning entries were announced at the end of the show. The first-place winner received Avid Media Composer software, which is used to edit films and videos on a computer.

Program Coordinator and CCI Commons coordinator, Marianne Warzinski said the video entries are on topics such as mockumentaries, trailers for movies, animation, comedies, music videos and dramas.

The Flix Fest started three years ago when the CCI Commons, a learning community for students in the College of Communication and Information began. Select CCI Commons students judged the entries.

Warzinski said this was the largest turnout the Flix Fest has seen.

Brandon Jenkins, master’s for higher education student and graduate assistant in the commons, said he was impressed by the quality of the films.

“The films looked professional because of the way they were shot and edited,” Jenkins said. “A lot of students even made their own logos for their film company.”

The first-place film was called “Mass Media in a Changing World” directed by Jeremy Markowitz. It featured a Lego man scared by the media coverage on terrorism, violence and gangs. The Lego man contemplates killing himself, but ultimately decides against it.

At the end of the film, a written paragraph was shown on the screen that told the audience to find inner peace and to live without fear.

Nicolas Wheeler, freshman pre-communications major and one of the judges, said the films were judged on originality, creativity, picture quality, sound and special effects.

Wheeler said “Mass Media in a Changing World” won because all of the judges thought it was a high-quality film that had a story and a real message behind it.

“The films were all really good,” Wheeler said. “I was surprised how students could put something together in such a short time.”

Dave Smeltzer, assistant professor for electronic media, said every year they get some films that are not high quality.

Smeltzer said the films with the lowest scores were not played in the festival.

“It is an honor for students’ films to be shown, and to actually win an award brings the film to another level of competition,” Smeltzer said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Brittany Senary at [email protected].