Lipscomb's first student film festival debuts Friday

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This weekend, April 11-13, offers a unique opportunity in Lipscomb University’s history: the first-ever student film festival.

Lipscomb University’s film and creative media program presents the university’s first student film festival April 11-13, with 12 five-minute films ranging from documentaries to comedies. As many as 50 students have been involved in creating the films, which provide an eclectic mix of styles from silent film to music video.

Films will be shown each evening beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Shamblin Theatre. Film festival tickets are $15 for individuals, $10 for faculty and $5 for students for any age. Lipscomb students can pick up free tickets courtesy of SGA at the Allen Arena Box office or at the door on the night of the festival.

A panel of film industry professionals will judge the films and the grand prize winner will be shown at the Nashville Film Festival this month, making it eligible for Academy Award consideration. An audience award will be presented for the film voted the favorite by audience members.

“The idea behind the 5-Minute Film Festival is to encourage students to use their creativity to tell compelling stories in five minutes or less. In today’s YouTube culture, shorter isn’t always better, but it’s often the determining factor in whether or not a short film gets watched,” said Steve Taylor, Lipscomb’s filmmaker-in-residence, coordinator of the festival and the director of the movie “Blue Like Jazz.” “The participating filmmakers have come up with some engaging and clever stories, and we’re pleased to present their work to the public.”

“In the same way that we as a Lipscomb community support live artistic events like theater and music, we are working to cultivate young, artistic voices in film as well,” said Mike Fernandez, chair of the department of theatre which includes the film and creative media master’s program.

There are 14 students enrolled in the master’s program, but the festival features films that have been submitted by students in any major on campus as well as the film students.

Judges for the 5-Minute Film Festival include:

  • Dean Batali, veteran TV writer for “That 70s Show” and “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer;”
  • Seth Worley, Nashville filmmaker who recently directed a Star Trek-themed Esurance commercial for J.J. Abrams;
  • Rich Peluso, vice president of AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Entertainment;
  • Howie Klausner, writer of “Space Cowboys” and director of the upcoming “The Secret Handshake;”
  • Marin Miller, Nashville actor/writer/filmmaker/comedian who appeared in “Blue Like Jazz;”
  • jeff obafemi carr, writer/director of the movie “He Ain’t Heavy” and co-star of “The Second Chance,”
  • Brittany Hailes Bannon, line producer and production manager for film and TV, including “Nashville” and “Stoker;” and
  • Wayne Campbell, vice president of FilmHouse.

Festival tickets can be purchased at the Allen Arena Box Office by calling 615.966.7075 or online at


TV Writing Master Class

The film festival weekend will also include the master class, “Inside the Writers’ Room: A master class in TV writing with Dean Batali.” Batali’s writing credits include “That 70s Show” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

Batali will offer tips about writing pilots, sitcoms, hour-long episodes and web-series; advise about one-line pitches for episode ideas; offer suggestions to make screenplays and teleplays stand out; and present a live commentary on one of his own “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episodes. There will also be a time of script evaluation and face-to-face critique by Batali for eight of the participants.

If you are interested in attending this master class, please e-mail  prior to the class.