HU film gains international success

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HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University animation students are taking the festival circuit by storm. The Toronto International Student Animation Festival has announced its decision to feature "Refresh," an animated film created by Huntington University seniors Sean Cruse of Melville, N.Y., Benjamin Kroll of Mount Lake Park, Md., and Matthew Weener of Hudsonville, Mich. This recognition marks the film's fifth festival approval.

"Refresh" deals with the disparity between people who are privileged and those who live without. Without delving into politics in any way, the film simply asks audiences to take a hard look at how people use limited resources and if there is any way to help those with less.

"I came up with the idea after feeling a need in my heart to help those without clean water," Cruse said. "Water is essential for life, and I believe in Jesus' teachings to help those in need."

The following festivals selected to feature "Refresh":

  • 2011 Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • 2011 Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • 2011 Toronto International Student Animation Festival in Toronto, Canada.
  • 2011 Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, Kan.
  • 2011 Columbus International Film & Video Festival in Columbus, Ohio.

"Making festival pieces was one of the goals we set for ourselves when building the digital media arts program," said Steve Leeper, associate professor of digital media arts. "It has taken a few years, but we're finally starting to see films like 'Refresh' reach a wider audience. This is a significant milestone for us. We tell our students from the beginning that being an artist and finding an audience is what we do now not just something to think about off in the future. Sean, Ben and Matt are making that statement true. We're very proud of them."