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Grand Valley films garner awards

  • Left to right, School of Communications faculty members Joseph McCargar (sound designer), and John Harper Philbin (director) are joined by actor Michael McCallum to accept the Eclipse Award for their film �Message Sent.�
  • Left to right:  John Harper Philbin, accepting for "Message Sent"; GVSU film and video production alumni Devin Polaski and Ben Barker, accepting for "Horizontal Accidents."

Posted on April 29, 2013

Two films from Grand Valley State University won an Eclipse Award for production excellence, presented during the April 19 ceremony at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The Eclipse Award is presented by WKTV with the West Michigan Film Video Alliance to honor the best regional works in film, video, sound and television production. All entries were reviewed and winners were selected by a panel of film professionals as judges.

Both films were produced by Grand Valley’s annual Summer Film Project, founded in 1995, to bring students, faculty and industry professionals together on the production of a film. “Horizontal Accidents” was directed in 2010 by Tom Seidman, a film professional from Los Angeles, and son of the late L. William Seidman, founder of Grand Valley.

“Message Sent”
was directed in 2011 by John Harper Philbin, associate professor in Grand Valley’s School of Communications, and a filmmaker who has worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles as an editor, producer, director, writer and camera operator. The film was also recently named Best Drama Short Film at the 14th Annual Bare Bones International Film Festival 2013 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. This festival is dedicated to screening feature motion picture projects with budgets less than $1 million. For more information, visit

Grand Valley’s 2013 Summer Film Project will be directed by award-winning filmmaker Marie Ullrich, from Chicago, an assistant professor in the School of Communications. Her short film “Faster!” has screened internationally at juried film festivals and is available on iTunes and Amazon. Ullrich’s new Summer Film Project features a female protagonist. More details will be announced in June.

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