Students’ film up for best comedy during movie festival grand finale
Published: Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 19:04
Turning life's awkward moments into a short film has earned a group of UCF students a trip to Las Vegas.
This June, they will travel across the country in hopes of seeing their movie, "Love Awkwardly," win best comedy at the Campus MovieFest International Grand Finale.
The competition loans each group a laptop, camcorder and editing software. The teams have one week to film a five-minute movie.
The group of friends, who had worked with each other on smaller film projects in the past, decided to film "Love Awkwardly" after having unexpected success at Campus MovieFest the year before. In the 2008 competition, they entered a comedy, titled "Hit Me," which told the story of two inept hit men chasing after the same target. The film received best picture at UCF and continued on to the regional competition in Atlanta.
"We just like threw it in at the last minute and then we won [the Southern Regional Grand Finale], so we thought, ‘Well what if we actually tried?,' " said Josh Ingle, the assistant director and a graduate student studying entrepreneurial digital cinema.
With newfound confidence from the previous year's unanticipated achievement, they came back together to film "Love Awkwardly," which tells the story of a distressed man who must fire an unsuspecting woman from her job. After firing her, the man repeatedly tries to win her back, and a multitude of awkward situations ensue.
"We wanted to capture those everyday awkward moments," said Misty Stinnett, the lead actress and senior interdisciplinary studies major. "We were always talking about awkward funny situations, so we thought, ‘Let's make a movie about awkwardness.' "
After filming the comedy on a top-of-the-line digital camera, they submitted the finished project to the UCF competition, which was a weeklong event from Feb. 17-23. Beating more than 130 teams, they won best picture and advanced to the regional competition, taking place March 27, for the second straight year.
"Winning best picture at UCF was amazing, but just being in a room with a huge audience watching your film and getting a positive response was the best part, for sure," said Reid Nicewonder, the director and senior cinema studies major.
But the process wasn't all smooth sailing. Although the film is atop the best comedy nominees now, the group wasn't always so confident it would be. At the regional competition, they nervously waited, as more than a dozen other movies were screened as finalists for the national competition in Las Vegas. Eventually, after hours of anxious anticipation, "Love Awkwardly" was the last one to be announced.
"I was so happy it played. I didn't even care about winning," Stinnett said. "Finally having something to be recognized was awesome."
Now, as they get ready to head to Las Vegas, the talented filmmakers are more eager than ever.
"We are hoping to fly out together and see the typical Vegas things - maybe a Cirque du Soleil show or one of the headlining acts. What we are most looking forward to is the meet and greet with professional writers and directors," said Stinnett.
"Love Awkwardly" will also be featured on flights for Virgin America airlines and at the Cannes Film Festival in France in May. Since the short film will not be competing, none of the students plan to attend.
"The best part was just working with friends and finally getting some success and recognition. Normally, it takes months, if not over a year, for a short film to get this kind of exposure, if at all," Nicewonder said.
"Love Awkwardly" can be seen on YouTube or at campusmoviefest.com.