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ITHACA, NY - A life-sized lobster and a tender tale of wisdom and experience took top honors at the second annual CellFlix Film Festival at Ithaca College. The nationwide contest challenges the growing number of wanna-be student filmmakers to create a 30-second film shot on a cell phone.

Zack Wilson won the $5,000 judges prize for his piece “Assisted Living.” Wilson’s grand-prize winning entry takes place in a nursing home contrasting an elderly patient’s zest for life with that of her young nurse. “Get out and live your life, is the moral to this story,” said Wilson. It took him about 90 minutes to set up and shoot and about 10 hours to edit because he had shot 6 cuts. “I had some difficulty with the lighting and the sound. I had to reshoot the sound because 70 percent of what you see is what you hear,” said the Ithaca College senior TV-Radio major.

“I’m amazed by the energy, diversity and hilarity of this year’s entries. From a six-foot lobster to a tender tale of human relationships, CellFlix once again brought in a range of small-screen stories that are both compelling and entertaining. There are a thousand similar film festivals out there now, but CellFlix was first, and it’s still motivating students to take storytelling to new levels of creativity and craziness,” said Dianne Lynch, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at the college.

The prize was awarded through a blind judging process that masked an entrant’s school affiliation and biographical information. Judges were professional Los Angeles filmmakers and editors: Rodd Perry, CEO and creative director of The Ant Farm, and Russell Harnden III, senior editor, Toy Box Entertainment. Both are Ithaca College alumni. All entries can be viewed at

Why did the judges select “Assisted Living?”
“Not knowing anything about this film or filmmaker, I selected ’Assisted Living’ for its ’double-edged sword’ quality, because in the course of 30 seconds, not only was I initially touched by its sentiment, I was then brilliantly ’set-up’ for its surprise and hilarious conclusion; it is indeed a wonderful piece of very short filmmaking,” said Harnden.

“Assisted Living” is a well-acted, efficiently paced and superbly shot snippet of filmmaking. It makes you forget entirely that you’re watching it through a phone" said Perry.

Billy Feldman took the Texas Instruments Audience Award for his piece, “Shellfish,” the highest rated film by web site viewers.

“TI delivers the technology to wirelessly connect the world, with a focus on innovation such as that nurtured by Ithaca College. In that spirit, we were delighted to sponsor the second annual CellFlix contest and help foster creativity among thousands of students nationwide,” said Avner Goren, worldwide director, Cellular Systems Solutions Marketing for Texas Instruments.

The viewers were asked to rate the films on a scale of 1 to 4. The audience favorite ratings had a total of 8,421 opinions for the 99 entries. “Shellfish” received the highest rating with a 3.28 overall score out of a possible 4.0.

Feldman a junior majoring in film, photography and visual arts, shot his film based on a joke comic strip he had drawn. “It’s about a man apologizing to his girlfriend for being selfish, it’s a romantic comedy,” he said.

It took Feldman about ten minutes to shoot and ten minutes to edit. View “Shellfish” at

What are the winners going to do with the prize money? Wilson plans to follow his own advice in the film and start really experiencing life. He plans to go maybe to Cambodia to do volunteer work for the next several months after he graduates.

Feldman plans to buy a camcorder so he can shoot larger format film.

List of CellFlix finalists for the Judge’s Award
“Assisted Living” Zack Wilson, Ithaca College
“War of Words” Chris Spinato, Ithaca College
“The Dishes Won’t do Themselves” Maria Adelmann, Cornell University
“No, Bad Erin” Jason Sheridan, Ithaca College in collaboration with Erin Tustin and Michael Iannacci
“Practice” Audrey Gray, Ithaca College
“In Case of Fire” Joshua Corey and Jacob Ritley, Ithaca College
“Broadcast” Tim Pfeffer, Ithaca College
“Good Morning” Rachel Sherard, Ithaca College
“A Moment” Kai Keane, High School Student
“Morning Hallucination” Navid Dianati Maleki, University Of Michigan
“Drag Race” Paul Calardo, University of Cincinnati


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