Third annual Student Film Festival showcases work, artistry


Michaela Crittenden

Cast and crew of “Man Motte” (from left) Sela Cottrill, Dylan Smith, Kadin Tooley, Gavin Grizzle and Katie Barker took home the “Best in Festival” award.

A first place prize was awarded for the first time at Marshall University’s third annual Student Film Festival Monday in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse.

Despite technical issues, Kadin Tooley, a sophomore video production major, took home a $250 prize after winning the “Best in Festival” award for his film “Mann Motte,” a vintage-inspired horror movie that features Huntington student artists, musicians and designers. This is Tooley’s third year being featured at the film festival. 

“I’ve been wanting to make something that feels like the old German expressionist films, like ‘Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ and ‘Nosferatu,’ for a long time,” Tooley said. “But, I love vintage horror from the 80s and 90s so much as well. So, I thought ‘What if I made an 80s horror b-movie, but made it feel like it was made 50 years earlier?’” 

Each year, the student film festival evolves, and this year a selection process was used, as last year’s festival was roughly three hours long with 28 films. 

Walter Squire, director of Marshall’s film studies program, said the Film Studies Committee judged each submitted film by video and sound quality, how the audience would react, the importance of each film and the diversity of each film. Thirteen films were picked to be shown at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse during the film festival. 

Tooley and Dylan Smith, a junior video production major, have continuously made episodes for a web series named “Skull Crusher,” which is an unscripted series on the Internet about a boy turned vigilante that attempts to take a drug problem into his own hands. The fourth episode of the web series aired at the festival.

“‘Skull Crusher’ is Dylan’s and my brainchild,” Tooley said. “He directs. I shoot and edit. We write it together.” 

Other genres for the festival included, but were not limited to, documentaries, narrative comedies, drama, music videos and avant-garde films.

Tooley’s film, “Mann Motte,” can be viewed at Kadin Tooley Photography on Facebook. The web series “Skull Crusher” can be viewed on YouTube. 

The film festival was sponsored by Marshall’s Department of English, the MU Film Studies Program, Housing and Residence Life and MU Libraries.  

Emily Phipps can be contacted at [email protected].