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Clayton State University students find success in film industry

Hollywood has called and Clayton State University has answered. Within the last year, students in the film department have made significant strides in the $9.5 billion film industry in Georgia through internships, new jobs and producing their own original works.

“The film faculty are extremely proud to see our students winning awards, having their films screened in film festivals nationwide, and getting creative jobs in the film and television industries,” said Jonathan Harris, associate professor of film. “In our film program, they learn the skills they need to be innovative and capable creators.  Our program graduates producers, cinematographers, editors, screenwriters and other creatives who have a solid grounding in how to create real-world, hands-on, collaborative projects. We also try to connect them with their first contacts in the industry and emphasize networking with industry professionals to make finding a career that much easier once they graduate.”

 Film student cast for Clint Eastwood film about Richard Jewell

Clint Eastwood Richard Jewell

Film student Greg Gowers was cast in director Clint Eastwood’s critically acclaimed box office film “The Ballad of Richard Jewell.” The film, which centers on the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia, and the story of Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of the bombing, was filmed in the summer of 2019. Bower played the role of a CNN cameraman that was part of a horde of reporters that hounded Richards every move for two months. 

“I learned a lot about how a film set can be managed from this experience. Mr. Eastwood runs a ‘quiet set’ at all times. This means that he doesn’t yell ‘ACTION’ and ‘CUT’ nor does anyone else on set. This forces you to pay attention to what is going on at all times,” Bowers said. “You must always be on your mark and ready to perform. This is a part of how he can get an insane amount of shooting done in a short amount of time.” 

 I Am Here documentary selected for Morehouse Human Rights film festival

Students at the I am Here Festival Screening

“I Am Here,” a collaborative short film produced by students from Clayton State, Georgia State and Sheridan Universities has been selected for a screening during the Morehouse Human Rights Film Festival. 

The 20-minute short film tells the story of a brother and sister who were tragically separated in Syria. Due to remarkable circumstances, and the power of spoken word, the siblings are reunited and able to imagine their future lives together.

Sponsored by Morehouse College, the festival features documentaries that provoke discussion on global issues of race, poverty, social justice and politics.

Clayton State students Marina Hernandez-Gomez ’20, Kelsey Gilbert, Terrance Lomax, David-Dennis Morgan and Evangeline Newcomb ’19 served as the editorial team for the film. Last fall, the film won Best Student Short at the Rome international Film Festival in Rome, Georgia.  

Student filmmakers rack up awards, spot at Cannes Film Festival through Campus Movie Fest

Students At Cannes Film Festival

Clayton State University students were top winners during the 2019 Campus Movie Fest competition, earning a spot at an international film festival.

More than 20 student filmmakers submitted films to self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Student Film Festival,” which gives students one week and film equipment to create a five-minute movie.

Seven films from Clayton State took home multiple awards in writing, acting, cinematography and editing. The winners were:


Campus Moviefest Home

by Kayla Marcus, Kara Marcus, Sam Smith, Carley Reed, Sierra Hall, Caleb Lorentz and David-Dennis Morgan

View film

Silver Tripod Winner – Story

Silver Tripod Winner – Best Actress

Jury Award Winner

Campus Moviefest One Fight at A Time

One Fight at a Time 
by Carlos Douze, Erynn Gandelman and Quinn Reeder

View film

Silver Tripod Winner - Cinematography

Jury Award



Campus Moviefest Double Tap Me

Double Tap Me
by Vyvy Thai, Marina Hernandez-Gomez, Rennie Hawk, Bailey Stevens and Shane Chine

View film

Golden Tripod Winner – Best VFX

Silver Tripod Winner – VFX

Jury Award Winner



Campus Moviefest Miracle Mama

Miracle Mama 
by Sierra Hall, Carley Reed, Caleb Lorentz, Kara Marcus, Sam Smith and Kayla Marcus

View film

Silver Tripod Winner – Documentary


Campus Moviefest Mirrored Infliction

Mirrored Infliction 
by Jalen Williams, Bailey Stevens, Jordan Williams and Kyle Thompson

View film

Jury Award


Campus Moviefest Seniorita Caballero

Señorita Contra Caballero 
by Vincente Varela-Gomez and Yackeline Puente

View film

Silver Tripod Winner – Editing


Campus Movie Your Art is Showing

Your Art is Showing 
by Jason Spector, Alma Interiano, Kristen DeSantis, Claredon Sharp and Nathan Anderson 

View film

Silver Tripod Winner – Acting


Cannes Film Festival Students

In addition to the awards, film production majors Erynn Gandelman and Quinn Reeder were selected to attend the 2019 Cannes Film Festival to screen their 2018 film, “What?,” as part of the Campus Movie Fest program. The film followed a girl stuck between two cultures struggling to fit in.

“The Cannes Film Festival was extraordinary! It was an experience like no other,” said  Gandelman and Reader. “We got to see how film premieres come together, attend networking events with industry professionals – made some very valuable connections – attended the screenings and premieres as well as sub-competitions within the festival and so much more. We would go again in a heartbeat. It was an overall amazing experience and we are proud of what we were able to accomplish with ‘What?’”  


“Moonlight Blues” earns national, international awards for screenwriting

Film production major Celeste Smith has earned multiple awards and recognition for her short screenplay, “Moonlight Blues.” The script follows the story of Evangeline, a best-selling author, and Oliver, a local but well-known multi-instrumentalist, and explores whether the two can find love in one another or if they are too broken to be fixed.

The script won best short script at the Independent Shorts Awards, the Outstanding Achievement Award: Short Script from the Cult Critic Movie Awards and an honorable mention: Short Script from the New York Movie Awards. The script was also a finalist at the European International Film Festival and the Rome Independent Prisma Awards and was an official selection of the Austin Screenplay Awards. 

Other Film festival screenings and awards news

David-Dennis Morgan ’20, won an award from the Los Angeles International Film Festival's Indie Short Fest for his film “Perfect.” The film has taken three awards at the Illume Short Film Festival for best actress, best director and best proof of concept. 

Kayla Marcus film, “Nothing but the Truth,” was screened at the following festivals: New York International Film Awards, Lift Off Global network New York 2020, Southern Shorts (won awards for best director, best editor and best cinematography) and Top Shorts Film Festival (semi-finalist).

Marcus’s film also earned several awards including:

Independent Shorts Award Festival: Award Winner – Platinum Award for Best Short Script (highest award)

Cult Critic Movie Awards Festival: Award Winner – Best Short Script 

Rome Independent Film Awards Festival: Finalist – Nominated for best Short Script 

New York Movie Awards Festival: *Finalist – Best Short Script (won't know the results for a few more days)

Austin Screenplay Awards – Quarterfinalist

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