Thompson receives award

Kayla Trail

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 General studies major Austin Thompson was one of 14 recipients who won an award at the Fault Line Film Festival this month in Missouri.

 Thompson, who is a senior and set to graduate in spring of 2016, won the award for Best Mystery/Suspense category. He credited two professors for helping him achieve this honor.

 “The project was encouraged by my theater instructor, Carolyn Blackinton and my film professor, Roberta Di Carmine,” Thompson said. “Both of which I could not have done this without. I got to work with some great actors and had fun making this short film.”

 Di Carmine, who is a professor of film, advisor and one of Thompson’s professors, spoke very highly of Thompson as a student and feels that he is very gifted as well as deserving of this award.

 “Austin is a film minor and one of my students this semester,” Di Carmine said. “I am the faculty advisor of the interdisciplinary film minor and advisor of the Western Film Club so very often I have the pleasure to meet students who, like Austin, are passionate about films.

 “Austin is one of those students who, because of his passion of film, make teaching film at Western very enjoyable. He is always interested in talking about movies, films we are screening or discussing in class or other films watched outside the classroom but related to themes that we are covering. In short, he is engaged and always a curious student who is always paying attention to details and interested in knowing more. I was really happy to see Austin again in my film history class this fall semester and I remembered his short films.”

 Thompson also has his father to thank for inspiring him to start a career in film.

 “I got into film when my dad, a video guy himself, started using an old DV tape camera to shoot events and things like that,” Thompson said. “I don’t think he really encouraged my brother and I into doing film in any respect, but we shot a few things and were very inspired by stop motion films like Wallace and Gromit and eventually were able to make a few of our own using clay and things like that.

 “After a while we did a few live action shorts with just me and Gabriel, my brother, and anyone we could get to help. Before we knew it we were better at it than anyone in our small town of Carthage (Illinois) and we did people favors and even charged them if they could afford it. We started a small business known as TnT (Thompson and Thompson) Video Services and now our passion is now helping us pay the bills on top of giving us an opportunity to do projects that we want to as well.”

 The sixth annual festival had 32 students in total that submitted films to the Fault Line Festival, but only 14 made it to the end, Thompson being one of them.

 “When I was informed I won the Best Mystery/Suspense category, I attended the festival this past Friday to watch all of the winning films and to receive my award on stage along with the other out-of-town winners,” Thompson said.

 As soon as Di Carmine got information on the festival, she first thought of Thompson and how great it would be for him to submit to it.

 “When I received information about (the) film festival in Missouri, I immediately thought of Austin,” Di Carmine said. “I told him about this film festival and informed him that I wanted him to submit his films. This happened three weeks ago, we did not have enough time so we met and he showed me four different short films he made for that class and I watched them and gave my opinion on which ones to submit.

 “I am so proud of Austin, not only because he did make excellent work and clearly this award reflects that, but also because he allowed me to push him and submit his works,” Di Carmine said.