By: Dale King Contributing Writer
The lights were everywhere. Cameras were obvious. And the action spread from one end of the lobby to the other March 10 at the 22nd Annual Student Showcase of Films held at Lynn University’s Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center in Boca Raton.
A Red Carpet pre-show allowed students to enter as if they were sauntering into the Staples Center in Hollywood. Notables mingled in the crowd, among them, Rob Van Winkle, alias Vanilla Ice.
Presented by the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission in collaboration with the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the annual event provided a forum to announce winners of student film awards.
Some 700 fashionably dressed students arrived in buses, vans, limousines, and exotic collectible cars provided by promoter of Palm Beach County’s Supercar Week and limo sponsor, Palm Beach Tours and Transportation.
Parents, teachers, professors, classmates, film industry leaders, celebrities and film enthusiasts applauded the student finalists and winners as they strolled the red carpet, enjoying the bright lights of excellence and fame.
Award winning actor, writer, producer, comedian and former member of Blue Man Group, Frank Licari, hosted for the 11th time. The show cast a humorous light on today’s obsession with social media and featured dancing, humor, surprises, testimonials from past winners, and poignant moments as winners were announced and students accepted awards.
Presenters during the two-hour, mid-day event included legendary actor Burt Reynolds, who presented his scholarship to Matthew Nadel from the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Also on hand were Michelle Hillary, deputy film commissioner for Palm Beach County; Yvonne Boice-Zucaro, chairman emeritus of the Palm Beach County International Film Festival, with her husband, Al Zucaro and morning talk show host in South Florida Virginia Sinicki.
Actress Cheri Oteri, former Saturday Night Live performer known for her character spoofs as well as her role in the films, “Liar Liar” and “Dumb and Dumber” shared humorous one-liners and words of wisdom for the students.
More than $12,000 in scholarships and awards were handed out at the live award show. Entries came in from 650 students, a number that was whittled down to 250, then to 41 and to the final 18 whose entries received awards.
Each year, industry professionals judge the submissions and competition finalists are honored during the live awards show. The event is open to high school and college students studying film, digital media, design and screen writing.
Winning student films will also be shown in their entirety on the “big screen” at the students’ own premiere during the PBIFF, which began March 29 and continues through April 2.
Winners this year were:
Sara Fuller Scholarship – Cristian Aguiar, G-Star School of the Arts ($500).
Feature Short High School Winner – Lyndsie Zimmerman, Dixie Hollins High School, ($1000).
Audience On-line Voting Award – Jessee Veliz, Calvary Christian Academy ($500).
1st Place Animation Award Winner – Tarun Lakshminarayanan, Ringling College of Art and Design, Rupee Run ($500).
1st Place Commercial/PSA Award Winner — Arielle Dauch, Spanish River High School, American Eagle Outfitters ($300).
1st Place Documentary Award Winner — Erik Kallin, Florida State University, Soleil ($500).
1st Place Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful Environmental PSA Award Winner — Elizabeth Quintana, Wellington High School, Fight Trash ($1000).
1st Place “Know Difference” Mental Health Awareness PSA Award Winner — Alexander Luttin, G-Star School of the Arts, Parting ($500).
1st Place Music Video Award Winner — Matthew Nadel, A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Young and Dumb ($300).
1st Place Nellie & Fred Chasin Screenwriting Award Winner — Stephanie Cone, University of Miami, Pied Piper ($500).
1st Place Poster Design Award Winner — Lacei Sams, Nova Southeastern University, 2018 Poster Design ($500)
For more information about the upcoming festival, visit pbifilmfest.org.