The College of New Jersey Logo

Apply     Visit     Give     |     Alumni     Parents     Offices     TCNJ Today     Three Bar Menu

TCNJ filmmakers achieve high honors at national student film fest

TCNJ student filmmakers channeled their creativity into eight films (and one original song) for this year’s Campus Movie Fest. Frontier, an animated Western, won the prestigious Silver Tripod award for Animation.

Campus Movie Fest provides student filmmakers with all of the equipment, training, and support they need to make five-minute movies in one week. Students then enter their films for the chance to win campuswide and national awards.

Interactive multimedia majors Greg Patten ’20 and Malachy Joyce ’20 created Frontier, an animated short that follows a cowboy’s journey to bring his dying brother’s children home across the western landscape. Their film won a Jury Award and a Silver Tripod for Animation and was named a Golden Tripod Finalist.

Patten says that viewers connected with the film’s themes of heroism and responsibility. 

“We chose the western setting well before the events of the ongoing pandemic,” he says, “but it worked in spite of it, in my opinion, because it represents freedom and opportunity.”

Patten and Joyce had one week to complete the film with equipment from CMF partners Synty Studios and Mixamo. He and Joyce worked day-and-night on story, characters, animation, editing, sound effects, and music before submitting the final version to CMF, Patten says. 

Mechanical engineering major Christian Simpson ’21 channeled his quarantine blues into a four-minute musical documentary, which features an original song about coping with loneliness in lockdown. His film, Anyone Else?, also earned a Jury Award and was named a Campus Finalist. 

TCNJ students created and entered six other films:

  • Jhon Beltran ’21, visual arts, Home’s End
  • Amanda Brewer ’21, interactive multimedia, RITUAL
  • Josh Grabenstein ’21, computer science, The Last Day
  • Jason Monto ’20, communication studies, Performance
  • Stephanie Sonbati ’21, communication studies, Summer
  • Ariel Steinsaltz ’21, mathematics, The Call

Patten says that it was a privilege to participate in CMF during these trying times because the competition brings together students who are passionate about filmmaking. 

“This really is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” he says. “Making movies that give people an escape and telling stories of characters they can relate to and root for along their journey.”

Sarah Voorhees ’20


Science Complex, P105
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628