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County resident's short film screened at contest

Staff writer

While the past weekend’s Academy Awards captured the attention of the nation, one county resident’s cinematic achievement was celebrated much closer to home.

Tabor College student Austin Calam’s short film “Smooth Mr. Jonny” was one of 10 selected to show at Wichita CityArts first Webfest, a showcase of short films made by local artists.

Those who watched the films voted for different categories, including best actor, cinematographer, and director.

Calam heard about the short film contest online, and decided to enter a film he shot last summer with one of his friends in Oregon.

“We wanted to do a project together, so we talked about ideas,” Calam said. “I was sitting in a coffee shop, and I thought about this cute story and wrote it out.”

The film is a glimpse of fictional character Mr. Jonny and the little things he does to get a date.

Calam has a passion for film, he said, because he feels “film, and specifically visual storytelling as a whole, has great potential to communicate and inspire change in our culture today.”

“Film is a combination of many different artistic expressions, such as music, photography and design,” Calam said. “I believe this beautiful composite of artistic imagery, sound and motion is what draws me to it.”

For someone with as large a passion for film as what Calam has, he said living in a small town has its limitations when it comes to opportunity.

“Despite this I was able to rope my friends into helping over the years and continue to do so today,” Calam said. “It’s really about taking initiative, getting out there and making something.”

Calam is now at work on a feature film with other Tabor students called “The Running Joke.”

“A couple of my friends made a film last year at Tabor, and this year I’m helping them with their next one,” Calam said. “We’ve been working on it since early December, and we’ve been shooting on the weekends.”

Last modified March 1, 2017

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