News & Events

Annual Film Festival Celebrates Student Talent

By Rachel Bender

June 20, 2016

Renee Fisher, director of

Renee Fisher, director of "Best Redemptive Film" for Thanatos, is interviewed by journalism graduate student Maira Hernandez. Photo by Andrey Kovalev


The film festival experience is part of developing the skills necessary to become a talented filmmaker. Recognizing this, Regent University's Council of Graduate Students annually sponsors the OTIS Film Festival for undergraduate and graduate filmmakers.

Held this year on Saturday, Dec. 8, the festival featured work by cinema-television students from the last year. In addition to recognizing excellent student films, OTIS also gave cinema-television students the opportunity to produce a live broadcast through Reel Good TV, Regent's online television channel.

The show was produced like a typical awards show complete with red carpet interviews. Students were responsible for producing, directing and running the television production component.

"The objective is to provide students with opportunities to practice their craft in a setting which provides real-world type experience helping prepare them for the marketplace," said Dr. David Hurtado, associate dean for administration in the School of Communication & the Arts. Hurtado's undergraduate television production class took the lead in producing the webcast. "We were pleased with the results and are exploring more of these type of opportunities as we strengthen the television program."

Among the awards presented were best director, best actor, best actress, and the coveted Malendoski Award, given in recognition of a film's redemptive nature. This award is named in honor of Elinor Malendoski, an admissions counselor for the School of Communications & the Arts who has been at Regent since 1980 and has become a campus icon. The festival also features screenings of the films that win awards.

"It is an incredible experience to see your own film on the big screen," said College of Arts & Sciences senior, Breanna Lebsack, who was behind two films that won awards. "Nothing beats hearing people laugh or sigh or tear up to something that you have made. The creative process in film includes the audience. How will they interpret it? How will they respond? Imagining the audience's response is what drives me during those long tedious days, and moments like OTIS make it all worth it."

This year's winners were: Best Documentary: Calendar in the Cell (Directed by Melissa McCormick); Best Director: Jarrod Anderson (Stronger); Best Actor: Justin Winters (Vocem Deserto); Best Actress: Maddie Cindrich (Stronger); Best Producer: Breanna Lebsack (Switzerland); Best Cinematography: Switzerland (Cinematography by Daniel McCullum '11); Best Drama: Vocem Deserto (Directed by Jacob Klein); Best Comedy: Heres to Now (Directed by Breanna Lebsack); Best Redemptive Film: Thanatos (Directed by Renee Fisher); and Audience Favorite: Switzerland (Directed by Daniel Jeter '11 and Joe Baughman '10). Malendoski Award: Dating 101 (Directed by Jacob Klein)

Learn more about graduate degrees in Cinema-Television.

Learn more about undergraduate degrees in Cinema-Television.