Hiram College

“My 9-year-old self is really fulfilled right now,” says Charlie Wirfel, a second year student majoring in studio art and educational studies. Wirfel smiles as he talks about his short film’s selection to the 15th Annual Standing Rock International Shorts Film Festival and Competition. Wirfel’s “Say That Again?” and first-year student Nicki Prentler’s “Swimming Project” were accepted to the film festival where works by filmmakers as far away as Germany and Italy will debut Feb. 3 at The Kent Stage, 175 E. Main Street in Kent.

Both Wirfel and Prentler wrote, directed, edited, and produced their films in an Introduction to Filmmaking: Form and Practice course taught by Cynthia Penter.

“I didn’t think anyone outside of my film class would see it, so it’s nerve-racking to have people seeing it and judging my work … but it’s something I have to get used to as an artist. Hiram has given me great opportunities like this to show off my work,” says art and photography major and entrepreneurship minor Prentler. “I think it’s cool and a great opportunity, so I’m excited.”

Prentler’s experimental montage explores light and composition. As upbeat music plays in the background, Prentler’s film spotlights Hiram student Mallory Best as she swims, springs into flip turns, and even dives in reverse via special effects in the piece. Lisa Safford, Ph.D., professor of art history and chair of Hiram’s Art Department, describes the film as “a beautiful study in motion and process.”

In Wirfel’s romantic comedy, two characters, played by Hiram students Olivia Rivard and Breanna Louis, meet by chance and develop a romantic relationship without ever learning each other’s names. When one character, on various occasions, asks the other, “What’s your name?” a slamming door, ringing phone, or other noise drowns out her reply.

Both Wirfel and Prentler say their recent honors came with pleasant surprise.

“A lot of people have been telling me they want to see the film. I’m really excited about this,” says Wirfel, noting that he wanted to be a filmmaker when he was child. “This pays homage to that past part of me.”

For Prentler, who just recently shared the news of her film’s success with friends and family, the magnitude of the moment “hasn’t yet hit me,” she says.

Tickets to the film festival are $5 for students and seniors and $10 for general admission. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the festival begins at 8 p.m.