By Hannah Stafford, Staff Writer

Highbridge is without a doubt one of the most anticipated events at Asbury each spring. The twelfth annual Highbridge Film Festival took place on Saturday, April 23. Despite the auditorium being closed until 7:00, students began lining up as early as 5:30. This year’s lineup included 16 films ranging from a documentary about birdhouses to a drama of reconcilement and forgiveness.

Sophomore Sam Martin, director of short film, “The Ghost” said, “I think [Highbridge] is an awesome opportunity to see the films [made] throughout the semester. I hadn’t seen around 70 percent of the films until High Bridge this year, so I think it’s a great solution to bringing a year’s work into one night.”

Junior Aaron Winneroski won both Best Editing and Best Visual Effects for his animated film, “The Wish.” “The Wish” also won Junior Levi Simonton Best Audio Editing and Best Original Score awards.

“There were so many great films last night and it was a huge honor to have a couple of mine play alongside them,” said Winneroski. “I’m so happy to see the transformation of the films. From all the hours sitting alone at my computer working on “The Wish” to viewing it in Hughes was such a cool journey. I love when my films bring out childlike joy in people and I hope people had as much fun watching them as I had working on them.”

Best Cinematography went to senior Jordan Hill for his work on the documentary “Latitude.” Junior Landers Pannel accepted Best Audio Mixing for the documentary “I am Knightly.”

Pannel commented afterwards, “The win hasn’t really sunk in at all. It started with that audio mixing award I got. I was completely blown away that I got that one, so already I couldn’t believe it. It was such an honor to be a part of Highbridge this year and I’m so grateful for the experience.”

Senior Paula Diaz, co-director of “Latitude” said, “Participating in Highbridge was such an honor. Everyone involved worked so hard so it was great to see the fruit of all our labor on screen.”

Hocus Pocus and Silver Surfer actor, Doug Jones awarded the best actor and actress awards which went to Brooke Butterworth, junior, and Gabe Chandler, senior, for their roles in “On the Other Hand” and “God, Todd & the Devil” respectively.

Recent Asbury graduate Will McBride received the award for Best Screenplay for his stirring drama, “Death of the Author.” McBride, who also directed the film, accepted the Best Drama award for “Death of the Author” alongside senior Spencer Smith, who produced the film. Jake Halms, who had two films in the festival, took Best Director for his drama, “Crave.” Naomi Friedman and Paul Sigler were awarded Best Comedy for their piece, “Break Up Break In.” Andrew King won Best Documentary for his film, “I am Knightly.”

Kelsey Bundy, director of the heartwarming documentary “Jesus Prom” said, “My favorite part about having a film in High Bridge is being able to visually tell a story to your audience. . .There are so many different stories out there waiting to be told. . . and we, as filmmakers, have the creative liberty to tell it however we want.”

The documentary, “Birdhouse Bill (and his Rainbow Rocks)” won both Best Super Short and the Audience Favorite.

“Honestly, I couldn’t have even imagined just how much people would love Bill and his collection of bird houses and rocks,” said co-director Aaron Winneroski. “I’m so happy the audience embraced Landers Pannell’s and my quirky humor. It’s so much fun to laugh alongside all your friends and family. It was such a blast!”

“The thing I love most about filmmaking is being able to share a story with someone,” said Pannel. “The idea that you can push buttons on a camera and a computer and connect with someone as a result blows my mind. And I really love to do that.”