BisonBison Film Festival presents awards to three filmmakers

Ponca City Now - April 8, 2019 3:51 pm

The fifth annual BisonBison Film Festival: A Student Competition ended April 6 with three Awards of Excellence going to students from Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

Each year, BBFF gives $1000 each to three student filmmakers who enter the Festival.

From the University of Kansas, Erik Harken submitted the film “Tell My Family I Love Them,” which shows the fleeting moments of a July 4 weekend when high school athlete Thomas loses his older brother in a multi-fatal car accident. As Thomas processes the immediate grief of tragedy, he must come to terms with the strained relationships he has created as a result of his egocentric tendencies.

Jeffrey Mundinger, a recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, submitted “Kostym,” a very intimate film about a costume designer, once a tailor, visited by his old friend who is in need of an alteration, but even more so, a profession.

The third Award went to Danielle Trausch from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for her film “A Very Unmerry Early November” which concerned a Christmas-obsessed couple putting up their Christmas decorations when they receive an unexpected visitor who wishes to punish them for their efforts. A very unmerry slapstick chase ensues and a confrontation forces the couple to make a difficult choice.

A total of 20 films were viewed by audiences on April 5 and 6, with a range including comedy, sci-fi, biography, thriller, social commentary and documentary. Fourteen different colleges were represented from the six states BBFF encompasses: Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled or recently graduated from an accredited college/university or technical school.

The films viewed on Friday were:

  • Chicago Lady” by Joshua Gallas, University of Texas-Arlington
  • Tell My Family I Love Them” by Erik Harken, University of Kansas
  • Not Alone In This” by Micah Watney, Sterling College, Kansas
  • Two Houses” by Jasmine Jones, Southeast Missouri University
  • Mom” by Hien Dinh, University of Texas-Arlington
  • Hugo’s Plane” by Jo-X Cruz, University of Texas-Arlington
  • Out of the Woods” by Andrew Epperson, University of Arkansas.
  • Kostym” by Jeffrey Mundinger, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • The Passenger” by Nathan Light, Wichita State
  • The Scotsman” by Russell Gummelt, Missouri Western State University
  • Homeless in Boomtown” by Denzel Jenkins, University of Arkansas

The Saturday films were:

  • Mono Color” by Ross DeFehr, University of Oklahoma
  • Defacement” by Maura Conry, Johnson County Community College
  • Mr. Sandman” by Ian Rogers, Northern Oklahoma College
  • Self Portrait” by Faun Harjo, University of Oklahoma
  • A Very Unmerry Early November” by Danielle Trausch, University of Nebraska.
  • The Book” by Kyle Womelduff, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • The Case of the Stuffing Slasher” by Anna Frieden, University of Oklahoma
  • Take Care” by Joseph Tesfaye, University of Texas-Arlington
  • A Shelter First” by Bryan Pollard, University of Arkansas

There were Q & A sessions with the filmmakers after each block of films.

BBFF hosted free workshops April 6 for the student filmmakers and the public.

“Don’t Kill Your Actors” by Darryl Cox, was a discussion of professional weapons handling and proper safety conditions for actors and crew on film sets. Cox has worked with directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Wes Anderson, Clint Eastwood, Terrence Malick, Oliver Stone, Bille August, and Paul Dano. Currently, Cox teaches “Acting for the Camera” in Los Angeles, Dallas, and at the University of Oklahoma.

The second workshop was “Telling the Truth, Or Are We?: A Deeper Look Into Documentary Film” by Craig Pasquinzo, from the University of Arkansas, discussing the different types of documentary, how to deliver “real life narratives,” and the process of creating a documentary. Pasquinzo is a highly accomplished leader in the field of documentaries and academia. He has more  than 10 years of experience in television, film, live events, development of international production, editing and screenwriting.

The afternoon workshop was an open panel discussion with the BBFF jurors, “Jurors – Who Are They and What Do They Want?” Participants included:

  • Sharon Garrison, a member of both SAG-AFTRA and Actors Equity Association, an actor, acting coach, director and producer based in Dallas, and serves on the Dallas-Fort Worth SAG-AFTRA Local and chairs the ProACT Conservatory committee;
  • Chris Oz McIntosh, a 2016 BBFF Award winner and now the Program Director of the Young Performer Academy at The Actor Factory, where he teaches filmmaking at summer film camps, and creates his own independent films;
  • Christopher Sneed, Program Manager for the city of Enid OK, where he has created over 300 promotional videos and oversees the daily schedule for television broadcast, and is the director of the JULA Foundation for Independent Cinema, creating the yearly FLY Film Festival in Enid.

The workshops were very well attended by the participating filmmakers, members of the general public and local high school students.

The Festival photographer this year was a student volunteer from Cowley College, Leah Darnell. Darnell is the Editor in Chief of the “Cowley Press” with the Mass Communications Program

The entire Festival occurred in the new City Central Building, operated by the Ponca City Development Authority.

BBFF showed the films in The Summit, a large space on the lower level designed for meetings, forums, and events. The workshops were hosted in The Gravity Room, which is a sizable classroom style facility capable of hosting training sessions and educational workshops.

PCDA is a public trust of the City of Ponca City with the mandate to accelerate economic growth in Ponca City through the support and development of primary enterprises.  Artistic expression, such as the BisonBison Film Festival, enhances the quality of life in the Ponca City region and assists PCDA to pursue its primary goals of increasing wages and jobs, diversifying the local economy, growing the local workforce and continuing to be a launch pad for small business.   PCDA was delighted to host BBFF as its Inaugural Event in the newly renovated City Central Building.

The BisonBison Film Festival is administered entirely by volunteers. The Board of Directors includes Stephen Long, Jeri Casey Nash, Christina Rich-Splawn, Sam Stuart, Todd Stuart, and Gayle Williams. 

BBFF was sponsored in part by the Ponca City Arts and Humanities Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council/National Endowment for the Arts, and the Oklahoma Office of Film+Music. For more information and pictures, go to or BisonBison Film Festival on Facebook.

Filmmakers, jurors and workshop presenters, from left, are Micah Watney, Ian Rogers, Craig Pasquinzo, Darryl Cox, Chris Oz McIntoch, Christopher Sneed, Maura Conry, Sharon Garrison, Kyle Womelduff, Anna Frieden, Jake Honer, Erik Harken, Joseph Tesfay, Jo-X Cruz, Nathan Light, Hien Dinh, Jasmine Jones, and Jeffery Mundinger.

BBFF Board members, from left, are Stephen Long, Todd Stuart, Christina Rich-Splawn, Gayle Williams and Sam Stuart. Not pictured is Jeri Casey Nash.



Latest Stories

Statement from Ponca City Board of Education and PCPS Administrators Released Concerning Eminent Domain Proceedings to Aquire Properties

The Ponca City School District wants the property of  Frances Welch along with other properties north...

Evans Children’s Academy of Performing Arts to Present “Adams Family The Musical”

The “Addams Family Musical” is coming to the Poncan Theater presented by the Evan’s Children’s Academy...

Third Street Will be Closed Between Walnut and Oklahoma for Reconstruction Beginning Wednesday

Ellsworth Construction OKC, LLC, dba A-Tech Paving, has entered a contract with the City of Ponca...