Film production professor wins award at film festival

Johnson won the Grand Jury Award at the 27th annual Florida Film Festival April 14. Johnson is a film production professor.

By Associate Life Editor Karah Wilson

UNA film production professor, Michael Curtis Johnson, won the Grand Jury Award at the 27th Annual Florida Film Festival April 14.

 

“Mike is my professor, but really I view him as more of a mentor,” said senior Jackson Townsend. “He uses his plethora of personal experience to help me learn and pushes me to be a better storyteller.”

 

Johnson’s feature film, “Savage Youth,” elected to screen amongst thousands of submissions. The Grand Jury award is the top prize given to narrative films, according to Johnson.

 

“Savage Youth” screened at the Atlanta Film Festival April 15 and won the Grand Jury Award at the Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival April 7. The film was selected for the Venice Film Festival.

 

“As a filmmaker and an educator, he has a great sense of cinematic history, which to me, is the most important thing,” said senior Bryant Hasheider.

 

“He’s a legitimate independent filmmaker. If you don’t know anything about film, you should know that it’s very hard to be a working

independent filmmaker.”

 

Johnson’s first feature film, “Hunky Dory,” screened at the 2016 Florida Film Festival in competition, but did not win any awards, according to Johnson. The film premiered at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival COMMA as well as winning the special jury award. The film went on to screen and win awards in “over 50 international film festivals.”

 

“The fact that he’s making award-winning films makes me only respect him and see his guidance that much more,” Townsend said. “I’m really thankful for him.”

 

Johnson said “Savage Youth” is a “horrorcore hip-hop, drugs and broken hearts mixed with a decaying, racially divided, rural town to deliver a tragically compelling film about the powder keg between adolescence and adulthood.”

 

“Savage Youth” is not available to view online yet, but the teaser trailer is available on Johnson’s Vimeo.