Jeremy Vreeken – Staff Writer
A group of Dordt filmmakers received the Award of Student Excellence for their short film “Brooklyn Shea” at the Iowa Motion Picture Association’s (IMPA) annual awards ceremony on March 29.
“This award was a great honor for us all,” said junior Tanner Brasser, a member of the “Brooklyn Shea” production team. “It means so much when a panel of professionals choose a film you made. It is reaffirming to be chosen for an award like this.”
The IMPA works to promote filmmaking and filmmakers in Iowa. Each year, the IMPA holds an awards show and judges films in many categories, including advertisements, feature films, acting and animation. Dordt College digital media professor Mark Volkers, who is on the board of the IMPA, commended the team on their success.
“It really is a well-crafted film and displays the talents of the individuals involved, but also the combined, collaborative talents they have when working as a group,” said Volkers. “I’m proud of them and I’m proud of the work they did.”
“Brooklyn Shae,” a psychological thriller, tells the story of a college student stranded on campus over break. A kidnapping frames the story about loneliness and how easily people seem to go unnoticed or slip through the cracks.
The film team was made up of five Dordt digital media majors: seniors Kelley De Jong, Justin Gloudemans and Andrew Miller, and juniors Abby Louwerse and Brasser. The team entered their film into five film festivals. The IMPA was the first festival to hand out awards.
The team is still waiting on results from the four other festivals that their film was entered in. The results from the other festivals are expected to come in during the coming weeks and months. Volkers was optimistic about the film’s chances at the other festivals.
“The IMPA festival is the first we’ve heard back from and it took highest honors, so we’re looking forward to good news from some of the other competitions,” said Volkers.
Despite the privilege of being selected for this award, the biggest honor, according to the team, was being able to present their work to their fellow students here at Dordt.
“To be honest, the most affirming moment for me was last semester when we screened our film for the campus,” said Brasser. “I was so honored that over 120 people come to watch a short film I made, and I was encouraged when my peers said they felt like they were watching a real Hollywood film.”
This festival did not offer the entering teams any financial rewards, but the other rewards were enough for Brasser and the team.
“The real reward of winning this competition allows us to label Brooklyn Shae as an award winning film,” said Brasser.