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2012 News Releases

"Best Picture" honors earn student filmmakers trip to Hollywood

May 8, 2012

Screenshot from She Likes Me for My Brains

From Night of the Living Dead to World War Z, zombies are traditionally portrayed as unstoppable, emotionless, flesh-eating nightmares.

Longwood University seniors Katherine Bennett and Holly Hackworth, however, looked at the monsters a little differently, and earned an invitation to Hollywood this summer because of it.

Their short film, "She Likes Me for My Brains," won Best Picture at Longwood University's Campus MovieFest last fall, part of a larger nationwide film production contest that challenges college students to make a short film (five minutes or less) in five days.

Campus winners from across the country are invited to Hollywood for the Campus MovieFest (CMF) conference in June, where they will explore filmmaking techniques, meet entertainment industry executives and maybe chat with a star or two.

Longwood University is the only Virginia college to participate in the CMF program, taking "hands-on learning" up a few notches for Bennett, a theatre major, and Hackworth, a communications major.

"To produce a film and have it judged by your peers is an incredible learning experience," said Bennett. "The trip to California to better understand the industry makes it even more satisfying and worthwhile."

It wasn't easy. Though CMF provides everything students need to make a movie, including the camera, a tripod, and even a loaner Apple computer loaded with editing software, filmmakers need the time, skill and a great idea to produce a winner.

Bennett and Hackworth, who worked on the film during their junior year, combined a fondness for horror films, a familiarity with troubled college relationships and some enthusiastic friends to produce the zombie ... drama?

"It's actually a comedy," said Bennett. "We thought it would be fun to show how a truly solid relationship overcomes all human flaws - living or dead."

Nearly 30 Longwood student teams competed at the Longwood festival. Entries were screened in front of a packed and raucous house at Jarman Hall, one of Longwood's theaters. A panel of students and faculty judged the films, rolling out the red carpet to Hollywood for Bennett and Hackworth.

"One of the things I love about Longwood is the support and encouragement you find everywhere," said Hackworth. "If you have an idea about something, there's always someone to help you make it happen. It's inspirational."

She Likes Me For My Brains