TROY design students win at Mentone Film Festival

Christian Bens won Best Director for his music video,

Christian Bens won Best Director for his music video, "Unsteady."

Four Troy University graphic design students won top awards at the annual Mentone Film Festival held from Nov. 9-11 in Southern California. 

Nine TROY students in total had their work showcased at the festival with Christian Bens, Howard Purvee, Nathan Hobbs and Mary Crigler winning the top award in each of their respective categories.

“I continue to be impressed by the quality of films and motion graphics that our design students create on regular basis,” said Associate Professor of Design Chris Stagl. “With Christian winning Best Director at Mentone in California and Best Music Video at YellowHammer, it speaks volumes about his ability to tell a genuine and relatable story.”

Bens added, “I am still shocked to be able to say that in the past month, ‘Unsteady’ has been featured in three film festivals and that I won two awards so far. I get emotional just thinking about all the hard work that went in to the production, and now I see that hard work paying off. It’s amazing.”

Purvee and Hobbs won Best Music Video for their production, “Killer Queen,” and Mary Crigler won Best Casting for “Sad Disco.”

“Watching Christian and Mary win an award at Mentone was a great honor, and to be in the winner’s circle with them and Howard was just the icing on the cake,” Hobbs said. 

Crigler’s video featured her sister, Macy, as the main actress, making her award even more special.

A screenshot of a frame of Mary Crigler's music video, "Sad Disco."
Kiley Nevius starring in “Killer Queen” by Nathan Hobbs and Howard Purvee.

“It was so much fun creating this music video with my sister as the actress, without her it wouldn’t have been possible. I am very thankful that my work was shown in the festival, and I am especially thankful it won an award!” she said

“It was a pleasure to work with my sister on this project and I was happy to help bring her vision to life. It was so fun to be her muse, and I’m thankful that we now have this award-winning music video to look back on as we get older,” Macy said.

These films and more can be found on the departments newest playlist on YouTube, “Official Selections and Award Winners”.

Other students recognized as Official Selections are:

For more information on The Mentone Film Festival, visit