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4th Annual Intercollegiate Film Festival Concludes with Awards

The 4th Annual Intercollegiate Film Festival took place on Saturday, April 2nd in Science Hall 123.  The newly renovated space served as an excellent event location with upgraded seating and projection.  A modest crowd was able to hear from guest filmmaker Raven Johnson, view cinematic work from students around the state, take in awards, and stop by the photo wall for pics.

Johnson shared her short film “Tween” and talked about her path to becoming a filmmaker.  Johnson told students to take advantage of the equipment schools provide and to work together.  Johnson also talked about working with actors, her connection to Minnesota, and the importance of meaningful representation.

This year work representing five area colleges made it into the festival. Augsburg University, Century College, Metropolitan State University, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Minneapolis College.  A total of 14 short films and screenplays were selected.

Augsburg students Nancy Yang, Kobe Markworth, and Max Helmueller we included in the line-up. Nancy Yang was awarded Best Animation for her short film “Ee”, Kobe Markworth took home “Best Narrative” for his film “The Grind”. “The Life of Lefty, Rolando Ramos” by Josh Englert of Century College was the big winner, earning Best Cinematography, Best Documentary, and Best of Show.  Best of Show will screen at the Twin Cities Film Festival in October.

Festival Award Winners:
  • “The Smith of Pepin County” – Joseph Miller – Minneapolis College
    Best Editing
    Audience Choice
  • “Dead Living” – Tristan Crawford – MCAD
    Best Sound
  • “The Void” – Tristan Crawford – MCAD
    Best Director
  • “Field Trip” – Mariah Murphy – Metropolitan State University
    Best Screenplay
  • “Ee” – Nancy Yang – Augsburg University
    Best Animation
  • “The Grind” – Kobe Markworth – Augsburg University
    Best Narrative
  • “Voyeur” – Camryn Smith – MCAD
    Best Experimental
  • “Feasting the Ancestors” – Chava Rey – Minneapolis College
    Responsible Filmmaking
    Audience Choice
  • “The Life of Lefty, Rolando Ramos” – Josh Englert – Century College
    Best Cinematography
    Best Documentary
    Best of Show
Program for the 2022 Intercollegiate Film Festival

Pedagogy at a Crossroads

A Student Perspective of the NCA Convention

Written by Peter Sands

Having attended the National Communication Association’s annual convention for my first year as a student, I was intrigued by the variety of topics covered in different calls. Being that I had primarily signed up for areas specific to what instructors at Augsburg were involved in, I spent the majority of my time sitting in for synchronous/asynchronous Zoom sessions focused on teaching.

Now, from the perspective of a student, you might not think that listening to a bunch of academics discussing their differences in pedagogical approaches to teaching during a pandemic would be all that interesting, but I was enamored with the amount of thought that goes into crafting our learning experience here at Augsburg and in other universities across the country. 

The theory that is poured into behavioral reinforcement of our learning practices as students is astonishing. From listening to Professor Groven distinguish our departments Senior Keystone course(s) from the likes of other institutions, to hearing Professor McNallie discuss different concerns/approaches of teaching public speaking courses online; there is definitely a divide amongst teachers as to what the most effective tactics are when mediating online learning in the midst of a pandemic and beyond. 

When making further distinctions concerning adaptations to online pedagogy, it was riveting to hear Professor Hanson discuss the idea of how these mediums, “perpetuate inequitable learning experiences,” especially amongst more privileged demographics. That is to say that many teachers might have to consider a students technological access and literacy when assessing their educational needs.

Seeing as how I have been adapting to remote learning practice since the beginning of the pandemic last March, I too was intrigued by the leadership and innovation necessary to persevere in the midst of these unforeseen circumstances. Moreover, as a student participating in these events, I thought about the importance of providing effective feedback when asked to review a course or teaching practices. We share just as much of a responsibility in shaping pedagogy as students, especially in the face of extreme technological change. So, be sure to fill out your Student Evaluations during the end of the semester!

I would highly recommend this event to future students as we continue to navigate an ever changing academic landscape. Having adapted to such immense change over the past year really gave meaning to the convention’s title, Communication at the Crossroads.

During one of the sessions, Professor Pat J. Gehrke of the University of South Carolina described the need to place more emphasis on teaching to these technological mediums as they continue to evolve. With no clear end in sight, these digital mediums will become an integral part of how many of us continue to communicate within our professional spheres. 



COVID-19 and summer heat don’t stop us!


Faculty members at department retreat
Jenny Hanson, Bob Groven, Wes Ellenwood, and Kristen Chamberlain kept proper social distance while spending the morning at a departmental retreat on Kristen’s deck. (Also present but not pictured: Jenna McNallie and David Lapakko.)

As we approach a new school year that is bound to be filled with unexpected challenges and surprises, full-time department faculty met on August 25 to get ready for 2020–and beyond!  As always, there are issues regarding staffing, finances, curriculum, technology, and classroom pedagogy, among others.

We are looking forward to making Zoom and Moodle useful for all students and faculty; it’s a daunting task and we’ll be doing our best to make it all work.

How to Stay Busy as a Film Major During Quarantine

Written by Wyatt Beckson

During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, I’m sure one of the biggest questions you’re asking yourself during this social fiasco is “how do I stay busy?” Like you, I’ve asked myself that question plenty of times. However, through my own experience, I’ve devised a plan that, hopefully, at least one of you can use to your advantage. This is my list of six things you can do to stay busy during quarantine!

#1 Watch Netflix

Yes, I know this might seem pretty obvious as a film major, but hear me out!  There’s an insane amount of genuinely amazing films out on Netflix RIGHT NOW! If you’re looking for something funny, The Hangover is right up your alley! If you’re looking for something more serious, There Will Be Blood is the perfect gem for you. Want to relive the plight of high school? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is right there waiting for you. Is there a side of you that makes you feel like a mob boss? Goodfellas is here to make you question what the word “funny” really means. Do you have an itch that just won’t go away, and only a Spaghetti Western can relieve you of that irritation? The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is the itch cream to soothe your desires. There’s more you can explore on your own! Trust me, there are films you never thought you would have found! All you need is time (and you’ve got lots of it) in a time of social distancing!

#2 Tune into one of the Film Department’s weekly Film Fridays

I know I’ve mentioned Netflix earlier, but perhaps you’re more of a social filmgoer like myself. If that’s the case, I have a convenient solution! Every Friday at 9 pm, for the rest of the semester, I will be hosting a Netflix watch party, showing a different film each week! All you need to do to join is have Google Chrome as an internet browser, download the extension “Netflix Party”, and I’ll send you the link to the watch party!

#3 Write that script you never had time to produce

As I mentioned before, we have plenty of time to kill during the quarantine. Why not use it to your advantage? Now is the perfect time to write that script that you’ve been holding back on! Even if you use baby steps, using this time to accomplish that goal will give you something to do, and give you that burst of relief once you finish it.

#4 Make a short film

Listen, I know we don’t currently have the resources provided by the equipment room to check out, that grade-A equipment like we normally do. However, a good amount of us have a camera on our phones, enabling a lot of us to shoot something, even if it is in the comfort of our own space!

#5 Offer up your skills as a freelancer

While this might not be the most favorable choice by many, we certainly have to acknowledge that the employment market is suffering, and will continue to suffer as a result of the coronavirus. With this in mind, if you’re looking for some extra money, freelancing is certainly an opportunity for you to make some. Luckily, we live in the age of the internet. This means that a lot of things are happening over the internet! And they need videos! Take advantage of that opportunity and make some cash while you up your skills as a filmmaker!

#6 Brush up on your other creative outlets

At least in my own experience, I know a lot of filmmakers who have other artistic passions and desires. One of my best friends, Lukas, is also a singer/songwriter, and loves to draw on the side. Like him, I also draw during my spare time. This is where I’d like to encourage all of you to either find a new creative outlet, or brush up on an existing one, just for the sake of relieving anxiety and passing the time. Maybe like me, drawing is your thing. Maybe it’s something different, like graphic design, photography, poetry, music, painting, knitting, or something completely different! Now is definitely the time to find something creative that you deem is therapeutic to your wellbeing. There are plenty of scientific entities supporting this idea. If it helps me out, maybe it’ll help you out too!

Hopefully, there is at least one thing on this list that can help stay busy during the quarantine. Believe me, I’m well aware that this is not an easy time, and likely, it’s gonna be something we’ll have to endure for a while longer. As so many people have said before, as long as you can keep your mind and body running, we can march through this ordeal through the very end. Stay safe, stay busy, and as Dory says, “Just keep swimming”.


Your resident film major,

Wyatt Beckson ‘20
Film Production Major, Graphic Design Minor


Film Program extends support to Walker’s “Women with Vision” Series

Written by Jenny L. Hanson

March is Women’s History Month.  The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is hosting some pretty awesome women and featuring their film, media, and artworks all month long.  After closing out February with an event series on acclaimed filmmaker Julia Reichert, March brings the work of an early queer film influence of mine, filmmaker Cheryl Dunye to the screen.  The Walker will also take a look back at the Women with Vision series, and continue the Indigenesis series focusing on indigenous film that opens with what reasons to be a fun new media adventure curated by Missy Whiteman.

A key component of this year’s programming is “Women with Vision: Then and Now.” The event series features the cinematic work of some of the women who participated in the Women With Vision showcase (also known in its early years as Women in the Director’s Chair).  It also celebrates the curatorial work of Walker Senior Curator of Moving Image Sheryl Mousley.  Minnesota’s own Film Fatales Melody Gilbert and Kelly Nathe, who curated many of the events in the series, will also be hosting a candid conversation with filmmakers about their journey.  I might also note that among the filmmakers is Augsburg instructor Jila Nikpay!

Computers encoding media
Hanson is utilizing the program’s media lab to encode media for Walker Event.

Curating the work of filmmakers who identify as female, who are persisting as directors, cinematographers, and storytellers and creating space for people to see the films is important work.  The film industry has notoriously discounted the work of women and persons of color.  Movements like #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite have sought to bring about change.  Events like those at the Walker this month are part of what is needed if a systematic change is going to occur.  I know this first hand, as the Walker gave me one of my first film screenings as part of the Women in the Director’s Chair and the Jr. Home Girls Series many, many, years ago. It gave me hope as a young queer filmmaker that I could make a living creating films.

So, when we were asked to help transfer work for the event series, we were happy to offer our support.  This kind of equity is exactly the kind of thing our program embraces and seeks to live out.

Please show your support at these events, many of which are free. Visit: for more details.

Reflections from a Speech Tournament

Written by John Dewitt | Photos by Marceleen Mosher

“The level of professionalism– far too much.” – Latrice Royal

So, you want to enter a speech competition? Great! Competitive speech is a great way to improve your speaking skills (other than coming in to meet me at our Speaking Lab in Foss 171C). It offers a healthy competition for those who are looking to push their speaking skills to the next level. I would like to inform you about how these tournaments play out.

In high school, I participated in competitive forensics. Common categories include but are not limited to prose, duo, poetry, persuasive, informational, after dinner, and drama. I participated in prose and duo. However, be fair warned about the professional, competitive culture within speech tournaments. We’re not in high school anymore. The competition is high and the competitors have been training with a coach for months (Don’t worry! We have coaches at Augsburg too! You can speak with either Bob Groven or David Lapakko for more details!). If you think you can go into the tournament by yourself with no help from a coach, I salute you.

Every speech is 10 minutes long. So, it is best that you drill (aka practice) your speech as many times as you can with a timer. They will dock points if you are not fully memorized. In the real world, when you are publicly speaking, the audience wants you to do well. No one goes into a speech waiting for you to fail. However, in this competition, everyone is waiting for you to slip-up. Well, it is a competition after all. They want that trophy! The culture is to be professional. In high school, this was a looser term. Now, in college, on our way to adulting, professionalism is the game.  It is deemed as unprofessional to even talk to each other at these events. Unless it is a compliment loud enough for your judge to hear. Everyone is hyper-focused on themselves and doing well in their own speeches.

That said, competitive speech is a fun experience when you play the game for what it is. This is a competition!  I loved speech in high school because it got me out of my comfort zone. Participating in Speech in college will not only heighten your public speaking skills but, at Augsburg, it will heighten your will power to trust yourself and build professional skills. You’ve got this!!

Auggie’s Set to Present at Undergraduate Communication Research Conference

Program cover for the 28th Annual UCRCFour Auggies will be among those presenting at this week’s Undergraduate Communication Research Conference at the University of St. Thomas.  Brandon Williams, Gareth Davis, Skye Rygh, and Max Stempf are among the scholars selected for inclusion at the conference this coming Friday, April 26th.  Augsburg students will join 16 other participating schools, including Hamline, Macalester, Bethel, Gustavus, St. Kate’s, and the U of M. The conference features a series of student panels and a keynote address.  This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Mark Meisner, the executive director of the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA).

UCRC 2019 Augsburg Presenters and Topics

“Corporate Twitter: Cultural Branding in the Age of 280 Characters” by Gareth Davis
“Online Dating Sites: Tinder” by Brandon Williams
“Line 3 Replacement Project: Environmental Justice and Communication in Minnesota” by Skye Rygh
“Content Analysis: Are Certain Genders or Races Used to Persuade More in Newspaper Advertisements?” by Max Stumpf


TCYMN Walker Event

The debut of the new banner at TCYMN – Walker Art Center.

Written by: Preston Peterson

Jenny L Hanson, director of film and new media, and Preston Peterson, new media major, represented Augsburg’s Film and New Media Department at the all youth film and video showcase put on by the Twin Cities Youth Media Network (TCYMN) and hosted by the Walker Art Center. 

Augsburg met students from local high schools and TCYMN member organizations and learned about their work and interests. The event was held at the Walker Art Center on March 28 and featured work from member organizations CTV Teens, FilmNorth, MIGIZI, Perpich Center for Arts Education, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, TPT, and WACTAC.

We are a proud supporter of TCYMN and love it when TCYMN students consider Augsburg as their place to tell stories.




Films nominated for Student Production Awards from the Upper Midwest Emmy® Foundation

Crystal Pillar Award for College-Fiction
Upper Midwest Student Production Award from the Upper Midwest Emmy Foundation for “Monday Train” Photo: Sarah Van Sickle

Written by: Sarah Van Sickle

Congratulations to all of the Augsburg students that were nominated for a Student Production Award from the Upper Midwest Emmy® Foundation! Nominations were announced today and Augsburg has six nominations in five categories. The Upper Midwest Chapter of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognizes outstanding achievement in student filmmaking. While Augsburg has been nominated before and won twice, this is the most nominations the University has ever received. The 2019 Student Awards Ceremony takes place on April 12th.

Augsburg nominations are as follows:

Short Form: Fiction

“Cycle,” directed by Winston Heckt; editing/sound by Lukas Olson; written by Lauren Tabor; and advised by Robert Cowgill.

“Fairy of the Night,” directed by Joel Myers and advised by Jila Nikpay.

Long Form: Fiction

“Take Me Home,” written/directed by Rebecca Lynn Schroeder; editing/sound by Lukas Olson; camera/editing by Winston Heckt; produced by Francesca Chiari; assistant director Meredith Carstens; production design by Olivia Drury; and advised by Jenny Hanson.


“Lets Talk,” directed/produced by Adrianna Foreman and advised by Jenny Hanson.

Animation/Graphics/Special Effects

“Rodney and Jimmy and the Campfire,” directed by Joel Myers and advised by Jenny Hanson.


“Amusement,” edited by Joel Myers.



Intercollegiate Film Festival

Film Festival LogoAugsburg University welcomes undergraduate students from around Minnesota to the annual Intercollegiate Film Festival.

The festival recognizes the work of student filmmakers and writers as part of an interconnected statewide film community. The festival provides networking opportunities and juried merit awards of distinction. The festival is organized by Augsburg University film scholars and juried by professors and industry professionals.

Entry Fee: $5.00 (free for Augsburg students with waiver code)
Submission Deadline: April 1st.

Submit to the festival on Film Freeway

Intercollegiate Film Festival proudly accepts entries on FilmFreeway, the world’s #1 way to enter film festivals and creative contests.