Campus Film Maker Wins Launch Award

Add award winning filmmaker to the list of achievements by Southern Oregon Senior Angelica Crimmins. We first met her as a Staff Writer for The Siskiyou and then again as she launched her online campus literary magazine.  Then on Monday night, Crimmins was presented with the Launch award for her film As Apple Pie which was selected as the overall winner in the college undergrad category.

During the fall term, Angelica was assigned the task for Andrew Gay’s Documentary Theory and Criticism course of creating a short film to be presented to the class.  At the time, Crimmins had never made a movie or worked with the software on the school computers.  After many YouTube tutorials and even a setback of losing half her footage, the project evolved into a spectacle that was viewed by a crowd attending the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

“I asked the students to make a “process doc” — to go out into the world and observe some process (like baking a pie) and see if they could find a way to use visual language to make the audience see that process in a completely new way,” Gay explained, “I was blown away by Angelica’s project and still rather stunned that it was the first film project she’d ever made.”

Though new to the process, Crimmins found herself on a hot bed for filmmakers and fans alike.  Earlier this year, Ashland was voted the best town in America to live and work by  SOU adds to this community with its own courses in video production and film.  This term also saw the launch of a campus film club which was created just in time to view AIFF. Next fall, the film interests looks to grow, as a new program called Digital Cinema is being launched by the communication department that aims to get more students like Angelica making projects and getting them out into the world.

As Apple Pie, is a three minute split screen feature which simultaneously shows footage of John Fords 1956 The Searchers as well an actor displaying the steps to baking an apple pie.  While most people can relate to step-by-step kitchen directions, it may be unclear as to why the narrative of John Wayne’s bloody quest to retrieve his captured lover was selected as well.

“This old Western Film still recieves a lot of attention from critics even after all these years,” Crimmins explained, “Westerns are ingrained in our culture but not necessarily representative of who we are.  I wanted to question why they are important.”

John Wayne

Accompanying the American tradition of home baked apple pies, Angelica puts Wayne and early racist ideologies, literally side-by-side.  “It’s important to revisit these cultural narratives.”

For Angelica, the 200 dollar scholarship, donated by the rotary club,  was graciously accepted, but having her film entered at the prestigious festival was a great experience as well. As the correspondent for covering indie,documentary and foreign films in a different endeavour the event was right up her alley. “It was a starry eyed weekend. I felt a little weird wearing a filmmaking pass, but I’m sad it’s all over and will miss the free beer.”

Being able to view the other films as well as listen to the creators was beneficial to Angelica, as she had to do her own Q and A after her film played. “What makes this festival special is the audience involvement,” she said, “I only froze up once when someone asked if I was planning on developing it into other projects, which I hadn’t thought of before.”

As an English major, much of Angelica’s background has been in writing and literature, but the success of this first film might be motivation to pursue future projects. “I want to diversify myself as much as possible.”  For someone who keeps running lists of novels to read, movies to watch as well as possible topics of which to make documentaries, it is fairly reasonable to say that Crimmins is well on her way.

While currently working on a creative writing capstone, as well as wrapping up credits to graduate, the senior has gained a newfound appreciation for story telling through movie-making, “Film adds more depth through visuals.  It makes you feel something more visceral.”

If her success as a student is any indication to her post-graduate future, whichever medium Angelica chooses to paint her pictures with will surely continue to captivate audiences.

Angelica 2