And the award goes to…


Image courtesy of Carole Harrington

HCC Movie Makers Academy founder Professor Rick Harrington (right) poses with HCC Academy Award winner Jeff Novac (left) for his film ‘Interstellar’, at the awards ceremony on March 12 at the HCC Spring Branch campus.

Erik Calderon, Culture Editor

Houston Community College pulled out the red carpet at the Spring Branch campus on March 12 to congratulate and celebrate the outstanding work filmmaking students did over the last semester.  

Each year, the Houston Community College Filmmaking program hosts the HCC Movie Makers Academy Awards, and films submitted in previous semester are judged by a panel and selected to win Academy Award trophies. This year over 142 films were entered and six were selected as award-winning.

At this event, the film that is created in the TV Field and Workshop class taught by the founder of the Movie Makers Academy, Professor Rick Harrington, is screened. This year was the twentieth episode of Virginia Fairfax.

Professor Harrington founded the Movie Makers Academy in 2000 with only 12 students. One of his students, Robert Nelson, went on to become the President of the Screen Actors Guild here in Houston.

This year, 24 students were honored with an award in categories ranging from acting, directing, producing, cinematography and even in gaffing.

The first award of the evening was given to Jeff Novac for his film ‘Interstellar’ which is more like a trailer for his upcoming clay animation film that he’s working on.  

The second award went to Marusya Nalimova and Ainura Sadvakassova for their film ‘Friend’. It’s the story of a college student who has no friends and decides one day that it’s time to have a friend. This film had an interesting twist, and I definitely don’t want to spoil it for you.  

The third award went out to Branly Oliva and Manuel Lopez for their film ‘zin3pozk$’. This film was fascinating and had some amazing special effects.

The fourth award went out to Ashleigh Borbey and Vincent Briseno for ‘Chairception’.  When I first heard the title, I thought it might be an ‘Inception’ parody. The film is about a killer wheelchair, meaning a wheelchair that is possessed and kills people. This film had just the right mix of comedy and gore.

The evening’s fifth award was interesting because it went out to six films and their filmmakers, Tu Nguyen, Derrick Guillory, Victor Gelsomino, Julian Townsend, Eric Tallent and Soroosh Mehdi. All six films were classified as Martial Arts films and we saw some amazing fight sequences, and a spoof on the matrix with Soroosh Mehdi with some entertaining special effects.

The last award of the evening went out to Rosio Chapa and Neenee Bax for their film ‘300 Bucks’. This film is by far the funniest and most entertaining film I’ve seen in awhile. It’s all about a buddy that borrows $300 from a friend. When he goes to his friend’s house to return the money, he’s not home, but his wife is. I think you need to watch for yourself to enjoy it.

After the awards for the short films, we watched the ‘Vanity Fairfax – The Documentary’, showcasing the past years on The American DreamQuest Corp. and how they’ve destroyed the lives of billions of people, and how they’ve tried to turn it all around.  

The following students won additional awards: Will Banks, Directing; Angelo Flint, Acting; Corey Khansari, Acting; Jianni Brown, Acting; Lakinda Washington, Acting; Samiel Guevara, Acting; “Zach” Shiou Lee, Directing; and Octavio Dias, Cinematography.

The awards ceremony ended with laughs, photos and friendship, getting to watch fellow student filmmakers on their way to success on Hollywood Boulevard.