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Taylor University Films Earn Recognition from 12 Summer Festivals

  • By: James R. Garringer
  • Published:
students and film faculty working on a film

Taylor University films produced by students in the Film and Media Production major have earned inclusion and recognition in 12 different film festivals and competitions this summer.

Leading the way is Lizzi: Deeper than Water, which was a semi-finalist in the Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival – the largest and most prestigious film festival in the New England region. Lizzi tells the story of Paralympic swimmer Lizzi Smith, a Muncie, Indiana, athlete who was born without a left forearm, but overcame that challenge to represent the United States in the Paralympic Games. Lizzi was also one of two films selected for inclusion into the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival in the greater Cleveland, Ohio, area. The film also earned selection to the Hobnobben Film Festival, scheduled this fall in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Lizzi was produced in Professor Kathy Bruner’s 2021 Documentary Filmmaking class.

Dream Soda, which was produced in Professor John Bruner’s Narrative Filmmaking Class in 2022, was selected for two film festivals: the Raleigh (North Carolina) Film and Art Festival. Dream Soda is a comedy that features a young man who loses himself in a fantasy world whenever his crush is around.

The Raleigh Film Festival also selected Paper Chasers and Denial, which were created in John Bruner’s Narrative Filmmaking class.

The Taylor fiction film About a Motel was a finalist at the Los Angeles Cinematography Awards. About a Motel was shot with one of Taylor’s three high resolution RED 8K cameras by 2021 alumnus Jeffrey Ogden.

In addition to Lizzi, the Chagrin (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) Documentary Film Festival has accepted the Taylor-produced film Safe Haven for its documentary-only event. Safe Haven tells the story of retired medic and fire fighter Monica Kelsey, who has been installing “baby boxes” in order to provide a safe option for women abandoning their infants. Like Lizzi, Safe Haven was created in Professor Kathy Bruner’s 2021 Documentary Filmmaking class. Safe Haven will also screen at the Dayton Independent Film Festival in Ohio.

The Capitol Dance and Cinema Festival in Washington, DC selected Tango Para La Vida, a documentary made in Professor Steve Bailey’s International Production class. The film is about a couple who fled Venezuela to make a life in Cuenca, Ecuador, through hard work, faith, and their love of tango. Bailey led a trip to Cuenca in January.

Additional film festival selections include:

The Victory International Film Festival in Evansville, Indiana:

Dream Soda
Paper Chasers
Kojak: A Fuller Life

The Hobnobben Film Festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana:

The Accidental Grandson
Jack, the Town and I
Science is for the Boys
Kojak: A Fuller Life
Lizzi: Deeper than Water

The Detroit Black Film Festival:

Can I Get a Job?
Kojak: A Fuller Life

The REEL Recovery Film Festival in North Hollywood, California:


The Social Justice Film Festival in Seattle, Washington:


The Student World Impact Awards accepted 14 Taylor projects from the 5,000 entries they received from students worldwide:

The Waiting Room
Something New
Paper Chasers
Expat: More than a Tourist
Raspberry Leaf
Tango Para La Vida
Dream Soda
Can I Get a Job?
Fire Trajectories!
Product Testing
The Repairman
Felicidad, Vida, Familia

Taylor’s Film & Media program trains future storytellers for work in film, television and video production. Student films have won over 700 awards, including recognitions from the Telly Awards, the regional Emmy organization, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood.