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UKY Film Festival awards 6 films at annual contest

Samuel Colmar
Awards sit on a table during the 2023 Student Film Festival on Friday, April 28, 2023, in the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Filmmakers, friends and family gathered for the annual UKY Film Festival screening and awards ceremony. 

The “blue carpet” was rolled out for filmmakers at the University of Kentucky’s Worsham Cinema on Friday, April 26. 

The festival presented films from five different categories: super short, animation, experimental/art, documentary and fiction. 

In the festival’s entirety, 21 films were selected to be screened. 

After the screening, standout films for each category received an award alongside the Audience Choice and Honorable Mention. 

The winners are as follows:

  • Best Fiction and Audience Choice: “Cold Accord” directed by Jordan Williams and written by Aiden Siwicki. 
  • Best Documentary: “Coffee Bean” by Karsten VanMeter.
  • Best Super Short: “All Roads Lead To DanceBlue” by Brooke Berry.
  • Best Animation: “Perfect Day” by Charlotte Lawson.
  • Best Experimental/Art: “Love Letters To My Family” by Ashleigh Jones.
  • Honorable mention: “Holding Box #8” by Xander Majovsky, Luke Stone and Kaliann Bess. 

Kirk Laird, the co-creator of the festival, said the Audience Choice award is his favorite part.

“The audience sat there for an hour and something, and they saw all those films and they chose the one film,” Laird said. “It was really cool to see that it was ‘Cold Accord.’”

The audience waits for the 2023 Student Film Festival to start on Friday, April 28, 2023, in the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff (Samuel Colmar)

The film follows two hitmen who get criticized by their boss for murdering people they weren’t assigned to. 

The boss gives them one more chance with a final assignment to murder each other. 

After the final fight scene, one man is murdered. Unforeseen to the audience, the successful hitman is met by another hitman whose assignment was to kill them both.

Williams said he is proud of how the film turned out while being under a strict time constraint. 

He said he did not come to the festival expecting to win after seeing the films from the previous year.

“I knew that this campus is fully capable of making really good stuff. So we just came with open minds ready to see the people’s work,” Williams said.

VanMeter, a sophomore marketing and management student, directed “Coffee Beans.”

The documentary won best in its category as it followed behind the scenes work of Chris Herman, the owner of 4th Level Roasters. 

In the documentary, Herman said he had cancer a few years ago and “really just wanted to do everything (he) wanted to do.” 

This is how Herman got into roasting. 

Not only did the documentary capture the roasting process from start to finish, it gave the audience a glimpse of Herman’s journey. 

VanMeter said he met Herman at a local farmers market and heard his story about surviving cancer. 

After buying and loving his coffee, VanMeter said he asked Herman if he could do a story on him. 

He said through sharing Herman’s story, he had an impact on him and his family. 

“I could go on about the cinematography and all of the technical aspects, but I just think the impact and being able to share his story meant a lot to me,” VanMeter said. 

Submissions for the 2025 UKY Film Festival will open this fall, according to the UKY Film Festival website

The festival is set for April 2025, with the date to be determined. Stay tuned to the website for future details and scheduling. 

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Samuel Colmar, Assistant Photo Editor

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