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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn hosts Jay Sanders Film Festival

The Auburn Hotel and Conference Center Auditorium hosted the 12th annual Jay Sanders Film Festival, a competition featuring 11 short films made by college and high school students across the nation.

In the high school competition, Kyle Haas of Baltimore's chase film No School for Young Men won first place, Brock Hanson of Starkville, Miss.'s caper film Blur took second, and Manuel Crosby of San Andreas, Calif.'s mockumentary The Watermelon Tales placed third.

For the college category, Rayvon Pettis of Auburn University took third place with his film La Mer. The stop-motion animated mockumentary Token Hunchback by Harvard University's Tim Reckart took first place, and Fistful of Love by Ikuo Saito of Los Angeles City College won second.

Alley of Hidden Dangers! by Tim Tsai of the University of Texas was awarded a certificate of honorable mention.

"I think all the films were great," said festival director Deron

Overpeck, assistant professor in Auburn's Department of Communication and Journalism. "I don't want to say it was a crapshoot, but there were so many deserving films."

First, second, and third place in both categories were awarded $1000, $600, and $275.

Overpeck said that the festival received between 30 and 40 submissions this year.

"We got a wonderfully wide range, everything from really odd

psychological dramas to action films like Fistful of Love," Overpeck said. "We really didn't get too much of the same kind of film."

Although the festival accepts nationwide submissions, films by two Auburn University students were shown in the festival this year.

Hunter Nichols, a senior in radio, television and film, directed The Alabama Water Agenda, a documentary on the state of Alabama's rivers and water sources.

"I feel like I was really lucky to have it in the festival," Nichols said. "Especially after seeing the other entries; they were amazing."

Nichols said that the documentary was his first film project, and he was inspired to submit an entry after seeing a flyer for the festival on a bulletin board after switching to the radio, television and film major.

"I just gave it a try, and I figured it couldn't hurt," Nichols said. "I didn't really know what I was doing, and I still don't, but I loved it. It was a lot of fun."

Rayvon Pettis, a senior in radio, television and film, directed the short film La Mer, which dealt with the difference in male and female perception of a woman's rape.

"We were working on it every weekend for three months," Pettis said. "It was a lot of effort."

Pettis said that he was pleased with the results of the contest.

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"It felt great to win third," Pettis said. "I didn't think we'd even make it into the festival. I was so glad to get the opportunity to take part in it."

Pettis said that he felt the judging was very accurate.

"It was very fair, and I think the right people won," Pettis said. "I'll take third place to Harvard any day."

Pettis said that he plans to move to Los Angeles after graduation to work on horror films.

The Jay Sanders film festival is named after Auburn Professor Emeritus Jay Sanders, credited for being the first professor to teach film and mass communication studies at Auburn.

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