Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) senior Seth Craven had just one film entered in last weekend’s 2012 CSU Media Arts Festival, but he came away with three different awards as his short comedic film delighted judges and audience alike.
Titled “Un-Armed Robbery,” Craven’s film submission took first-place honors in the narrative category, winning a Rosebud Award and $500, plus $250 for CSULB’s Film and Electronic Arts Department. Before the end of the night, however, the film also captured the “Audience Choice Award” and tied for the “Best in Show” honor. In all, he carried away three trophies, $1,500 and another $750 for the department.
“I was surprised. I never really win anything and it felt good to get a taste of success,” said Craven, a film and electronic arts major who expects to complete his bachelor’s degree next spring. “I have been to a handful of festivals with some other short films I’ve made and never really expected to win anything. The possibility of winning things is always exciting, but what was more important to me was the fact that the audience laughed and enjoyed themselves.”
Craven described the film as a simple setup and resolution that asks the question: How can a man rob a liquor store with one hand? In answering the question, he said he wanted to explore the comedic possibilities, and he believes going that route definitely had a role in winning the awards.
“It wasn’t long and it was funny,” he said in response to what he felt caught the attention of the judges and the audience for the two overall awards. “I feel like comedies have a better chance at appealing to people in general when it pertains to short film. It’s a lot harder to create a short drama than it is to make a short comedy.”
Craven, who said he has entered the film into a handful of other film festivals, expressed thanks to everyone who worked on the project and helped make it possible. He also noted that the five-minute, 15-second film is online at vimeo.com. (Caution, this film contains adult language)
Now in its 22nd year, the Media Arts Festival gives talented film, video and interactive media students from the 23-campus CSU system an opportunity to present their work for critical review and recognition. Students compete in nine categories: animation, documentary, experimental, interactive, music video, narrative, television, feature screenplay and short screenplay.
A panel of CSU faculty and industry professionals reviewed 164 entries before selecting the 37 finalists, which represented 10 of the CSU campuses, including Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, East Bay, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, San Diego, San Francisco and San José. A panel of entertainment industry experts chose the winners from among the finalists.
Craven wasn’t the only CSULB entry to win an award. Recent graduate Kristi Oken won the Rosebud Award and $500 for her first-place finish in the documentary category for her submission titled “Wallerstein.”
Overall, CSULB was well represented at the Media Arts Festival, which was again held in Steven G. Mihaylo Hall at Cal State Fullerton, as six students from the university were named finalists. Aside from Craven (who was also a finalist in the feature screenplay category with his entry titled “A Dog’s Life”) and Oken, Nick Venden was a finalist in the experimental category with “The Voyeur”; Mary Nguyen was a finalist in the narrative category with “Divorcing the Devil”; Gabriel Moura was a finalists in the feature screenplay category with “Splendid Rogue”; and Mark Ashmore was a finalists in the short screenplay category with “Misguided Gun.”