Think about how graphic design is used, and what likely comes to mind is marketing and advertising, websites and logos, and promotional materials for print and digital. But a whole other world of graphic design is out there in television and film, renowned graphic designer for film Annie Atkins points out.
“It’s all about creating a believable, authentic world. Graphic design is an absolutely essential part of that storytelling process,” she says.
That’s just what graphic design students at Troy University have done. And they’ve won awards for applying design principles to the art of filmmaking.
Troy University students won seven awards in the second annual YellowHammer Film Festival, held virtually and at Troy University in December. The YellowHammer Film Festival is a one-day event offering workshops, lectures, a student film exhibition, and an awards ceremony. The festival is open to everyone, but only high school and college students can compete in the exhibition.
“The significance of the YellowHammer Film Festival and the role it plays in the lives of creative high school and college students are extremely important to me,” says Troy design professor and festival creator Chris Stagl.
Impressively, this is only the festival’s second year yet nearly 250 entries from across the country were received, including “some heavy hitters in the creative college realm,” notes Stagl. Among the seven awards received by Troy students were Best Music Video and Best Documentary.
“The festival’s success is contingent upon three primary factors, the students we engage, the quality of the films we show, and the content our guest speakers deliver,” Stagl says. “I couldn’t be happier with our reach. Receiving nearly 250 submissions, in half the amount of time we marketed the fest, shows outstanding growth. The quality of the films, from storytelling to technical expertise in cinematography, was outstanding.”
The seven awards won by Troy University students: The YellowHammer Award for “Unseen” by Howard Purvee and Nathan Hobbs; Best Music Video for “Killer Queen” by Nathan Hobbs and Howard Purvee; Best Commercial Series for “Dr. Pepper” by Reanna Thompson and Nathan Hobbs; Best Documentary for “Russell and Ruin” by Cole Patterson; Honorable Mention: Cinematography for “Drive” by Nathan Hobbs; Honorable Mention: Motion for “The Moon/Awake by Cole Patterson; and Honorable Mention: Music Video for “Just Sign the Papers” by Cole Patterson.
In the high school division, Vinny Albano and John Stillwaggon of Howell High School in Farmingdale, New Jersey, won the Best Film of the Year Award for their production “Love, Aaron.” Connor Douglass of James Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama, earned the YellowHammer Award for his film titled “Washing Machine Heart.”
“It was a lot of work and seeing it come together was incredibly rewarding,” says Troy design student Cole Patterson. “Seeing my own work in a theater setting is surreal, but in a good way. “I’m especially proud of my boys, Nate and Howie, for winning the Yellow Hammer Award. They worked hard on it, and both definitely deserve it.”
The YellowHammer Film Festival was made possible by partnerships with Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Film Office, 1st Place Trophies and Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema. The festival will be held again this year.
*Article Written by Jessica Armstrong and Image Courtesy of Troy University