Student film ‘Refresh’ garners new recognition

HUNTINGTON, Ind. A Huntington University student-animated film has once again found success after winning the Water Day Film Festival.

Senior animation majors Sean Cruse of Melville, N.Y., Ben Kroll of Mount Lake Park, Md., and Matthew Weener of Hudsonville, Mich., took first place in the first-ever Water Day Film Festival for their stop-motion short "Refresh." The festival was hosted by, a nonprofit organization that strives to provide access to safe water and sanitation in communities in Africa, South Asia and Central America.

"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."

"Refresh" was shown in multiple film festivals last year including the Toronto International Student Animation Festival, the Stop Motion Magazine Film Festival in Los Angeles, Calif., the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival, the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, Kan., and the 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.