Asbury University’s famed Hughes Auditorium was bursting with moviegoers Saturday evening, all hoping to get a glimpse of directors and actors who may one day create the next big blockbuster.
Hours before the curtains drew back, nearly 1,200 patrons lined Macklem Drive and disappeared behind the Hager Administration Building waiting to get seats to the 2012 Highbridge Film Festival.
“This is bigger than chapel,” sophomore Eric Sanders joked. “Everyone gets all dressed up too; it’s a lot of fun.”
A film director and contender in last year’s festival, Sanders said he loved to come out each year and see the talent represented in his community.
The evening’s heavy-hitters and winners were the film “Icarus” and CGI animation “Twirl.”
Second-year contender Zach Meiners presented the film “Icarus” about a comic-book-style villain with an inner conflict debating his role as a bad guy. The film opened to raucous applause and ended with a cliffhanger, laughter and a near-standing ovation.
Meiners and his crew garnered four awards Friday night for his film with best screenplay, which he shared with Zack Brewer; best director; best special effects; and audience choice award.
But the surprise upstart was a first at the Highbridge Film Festival — “Twirl,” a CGI animation by Nathaniel Winkler, which also took home four awards.
In Winkler’s short homage to Pixar studios, with a cleverly placed toy in the frames, an anthropomorphic set of speakers dances his way around “Footloose” style until pulling his cord out from the wall.
The music dies and the speaker is seemingly without hope until an unnoticed friend gets the beat rocking again.
There were comedies, dramas and cartoons, all of which were well resecieved by the audience.
All the films from Saturday’s event will eventually be available online at www.asbury.edu/highbridge/showcase.
2012 Highbridge Film Festival awards:
Best Cinematography: Aaron Holmes for “Presumption” (by Nathaniel Glass)
Best Actress: Grace Oliver for “Presumption” (by Nathaniel Glass)
Best Editing: Max Rechel for “Keep Your Head” (by Daniel Bowman)
Best Screenplay: Zach Meiners and Zack Brewer for “Icarus” (by Zach Meiners)
Best Director: Zach Meiners for “Icarus”
Best Special Effects: Zach Meiners for “Icarus”
Best Comedy: “Lawrence Declassified” (by Krista Dorrel)
Best Actor: Gabe Chandler for “Lawrence Declassified” (by Krista Dorrel)
Best Audio: Benjamin Groves for “Twirl” (by Nathaniel Winkler)
Best Music: Andrew J.S. Miller for “Twirl” (by Nathaniel Winkler)
Best Drama: “Twirl” (by Nathaniel Winkler)
Best Super Short: “Twirl” (by Nathaniel Winkler)
Audience Choice Award: “Icarus” (by Zach Meiners)
High-School Winner: “Inspiration” (by Abigail Henninger)