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Taylor Film Named Semifinalist in Student Academy Awards

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film students produce award-winning documentary

Upland, Ind. – A film created by Taylor University students has advanced to the semifinal round of the 50th annual Student Academy Awards.  Justice for Batman: The Mark Racop Case tells the story of an Indiana man licensed to build Batmobiles and his recent legal challenge. This is the first time a Taylor film has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The documentary film was one of 63 of a record 2,444 entries to advance this year, putting it in roughly the top 3% of all projects submitted by film schools internationally, both graduate and undergraduate. The Student Academy Awards recognize films in four categories: Animation, Documentary, Live Action Narrative, and Alternative/Experimental.

"It’s incredibly rewarding to see my team’s hard work and passion for this story recognized by such a prestigious competition,” said Director/Editor Aidan Merck '24. “Working with Mark (Racop) on the documentary was a remarkable experience. His genuine kindness and welcoming presence made the process so enjoyable. I’m really glad we were able to tell his story.”

The student film team for Justice for Batman included Producer/Cinematographer Ben Tiede '23 and Sound Designer/Assistant Editor Jake Shue '24.

“We knew we weren’t able to tell this story at all, let alone well, without the help of God,” Tiede said, “ We felt gratitude and humility throughout the process.”

“My heart is filled with joy and thankfulness for my incredible team, friends, and family who helped along the way. Above all, glory be to God!” echoed Shue.

Finalists will be announced in August and medal winners in October.

Taylor’s Film & Media Arts program prepares future storytellers for work in film, television and video production. The program gives students hands-on filmmaking experiences using state-of-the-art technology and has earned over 850 external awards and recognitions at regional and national levels.