TROY design students win seven awards at YellowHammer Film Festival

The festival received nearly 250 entries in its second year.

The festival received nearly 250 entries in its second year.

Troy University design students recently competed against top film schools from across the country in the second annual YellowHammer Film Festival held both virtually and in the Trojan Center Theatre on Saturday, Dec. 17.

While the Best Film of the Year award in the college division went to “The Trobie,” a fantasy adventure film by student filmmaker Phnley Joel from Lipscomb University, TROY’s students earned seven awards including The YellowHammer Award for “Unseen” by Howard Purvee, a senior from Hartford, Alabama. 

Other students who had films screened and won awards include Nathan Hobbs, Cole Patterson, Reanna Thompson and David Saner. Hobbs also won Best Music Video for “Killer Queen,” made with the help of Purvee, and Best Commercial Series Award for “Dr. Pepper,” which was made with Thompson and Zack Pappanastos.

“Although it was exhausting, it was so worth it, and I’m very happy with all the work we put into this finally paying off,” Hobbs, a senior from Black, Alabama, said. “I am so ready to do it again and get back to creating. Thank you so much to all of the festival organizers for making this happen and for letting us be a part of it.”

Thompson, a junior from Southport, Florida, added, “I was very emotional and brought to tears when I got to watch my work screen for all the filmmakers and then ultimately hear my name get called with Nathan’s for Best Commercial Series.”

The 11-hour film festival consisted of workshops, roundtables and film screenings. Presentations were given by all of the judges, including Dr. Will Napier from Southern New Hampshire University; Ty Primosch from Netflix; KJ Mathieson from the University of Central Florida; Eric Flagg and Isaac Brown of JellyFish Smack Studios; and Theo Love of HBO and Netflix. 

The festival received nearly 250 entries in just its second year from dozens of high schools and colleges across the country, TROY design professor and festival creator Chris Stagl said.

“This more than doubles the submissions from last year,” he said. “Along with all of the films, we were able to expand our footprint from being solely an online festival to also providing the filmmakers, family and friends a place to come watch the entire days’ events in the Trojan Center Theater.”

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.”

The YellowHammer Film Festival was made possible by partnerships with ASCA, The Alabama Film Office, 1st Place Trophies and The Sidewalk Film Festival.

The YellowHammer Film Festival will return in 2023.