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2017 Sonscreen Film Festival Presents Sonny Awards


LOMA LINDA – The 2017 Sonscreen Film Festival, put on by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists and held this year at the Loma Linda University Centennial Complex in Southern California, ended Saturday night with an awards ceremony to honor ten outstanding films. 

Each year Sonscreen brings together filmmakers from Adventist academies, colleges, and universities throughout North America to showcase student and professional films and to provide networking opportunities. Over fifty films were submitted to this year's festival with thirty-nine selected to be screened in five categories: dramatic short, documentary short, comedy short (a new category this year), high school short, and animated short. Five professionally-made films, most of them the work of film school professors, also played throughout the festival. Festival participants came from thirteen schools, churches, and centers: Hawaiian Mission Academy, La Sierra Academy, Loma Linda Academy, Spencerville Academy, Andrews University, La Sierra University, Loma Linda University, Pacific Union College, Southern Adventist University, Southwestern Adventist University, Walla Walla University, Plantation Seventh-day Adventist Church in Florida and Stimme der Hoffnung (European media center of the Free Church of the Seventh-day Adventists). 

NAD Associate Communication Director Julio Muñoz coordinated the festival and presented the Sonscreen awards (known as Sonny Awards) with Kimberly Maran, who also works in NAD communication, and his son Alessandro.

The Following films received nominations for Sonny Awards (asterisks denote Sonny winners in each category):

Best Sound Design
Dear Hamilton 
500,000 Miles to the Moon and Back 
Foreign Native 
The Other Side (Summer Medina – La Sierra University)**
The Prepper 

La Sierra University student Summer Medina (left) answers audience questions about her film "The Other Side." Festival organizer Julio Muñoz moderates.

Best Animated Short
Small Imagination (Southern) – Honorable Mention
Bearly Awake – (Stephanie Owen – Southern Adventist University)**
Book of the Month
Fenton Forest Animatic

D'arce Peter, who helped with "Bearly Awake," received the award on behalf of animator Stephanie Owen (Southern).

Best Cinematography
Dear Hamilton 
Foreign Native 
The Prepper 
Chef’s Table: Walla Walla (Jacob Patterson – Walla Walla University)**
The Other Side 

Jacob Patterson (Walla Walla) answers questions about his beautifully-shot documentary, Chef's Table: Walla Walla.

Best High School Short
Dewey Dixon (Baily Nolfe and Malia Bishop – Loma Linda Academy)**
Amazing Grace
Moving On
My Own Worst Enemy

Malia Bishop (center) and Baily Nolfe (right) with their Sonny. They attend Loma Linda Academy.

Best Documentary Short
The Hugs Project (Stephen Allcock, Jeriah Richardson, Maxine Murray – Andrews University)**
Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Chef’s Table: Walla Walla 
Foreign Native (Andrews University) – *Honorable Mention
Class of 2017 // One Step Forward
Our Town

Jeriah Richardson, Maxine Murray and Stephen Allcock (Andrews University) took home the Sonny for documentary short. 

Best Original Screenplay
The Follow Through (Grace Romstad – Pacific Union College)**
Dear Hamilton 
500,000 Miles to the Moon and Back 
100% Match

Grace Romstad received a loud standing ovation from her PUC friends and colleagues when she won the Sonny for original screenplay.

Best Comedy Short
Company Is Coming – Remix
100% Match – Honorable Mention
The Prepper
Catering for Kidnap
The Deep End—Pilot
Reel Fitness: Post Pro
Old People vs. Snapshot
Capture (John Butler, Brady Griffin – Southern Adventist University)**

John Butler and Brady Griffen (Southern) respond to audience questions after screening their award-winning comedy short.

Best Dramatic Short
The Other Side
White Collar 
500,000 Miles to the Moon and Back
Dear Hamilton (Pacific Union College) *Honorable Mention
The Follow Through 
Shelter (D’arce Peter, Royce Pajela – Southern Adventist University)**

D'arce Peter and Royce Pajela took an emotional win for their sci-fi film about companionship and belonging.

Jury Selection

Class of 2017 // One Step Forward (Jacob Patterson – Walla Walla University)

Jacob Patterson (Walla Walla University) won two Sonny Awards for cinematography and Jury Selection.

Audience Choice
Foreign Native (Denae Keizs, Madai Villa, Heidi Ramirez, Kiana Gurley – Andrews University)

The winners of the Audience Choice Sonny Award. They received a long standing ovation.

Best in Festival
Capture (John Butler, Brady Griffin – Southern Adventist University)

Butler and Griffen were the night's big winners, taking best comedy and best in fest.


Jared Wright is Southern California Correspondent for

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