This year, Black Warrior Film Festival was proud to award the first annual Holle Award for Filmmaking to Julius Damenz, a senior at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
Damenz’s film, “Infinite,” was selected by a group of independent jurors made up of University of Alabama and Samford University faculty members and industry professionals. Damenz received a $10,000 scholarship and the Holle Award trophy. This was Damenz’s first film screened at Black Warrior Film Festival.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed. It is an incredible honor and I was absolutely not expecting it especially since the other films were amazing.” Damenz said. “It motivates me to continue working hard but it is also nice to be recognized in some form.”
Damenz said he will put the prize money towards future film endeavors and efforts. After graduation in May, Damenz plans to move to Los Angeles, submit to more film festivals and travel.
“Infinite” is about a young man who is learning to deal with the idea of death, according to Damenz. He said he was partly influenced and inspired to make the film due to his own feelings on death.
“I would be lying if I said that it isn’t at least partially autobiographical,” Damenz said. “I think everyone sometimes thinks about death and how it affects our lives. Especially as a young adult I think it is important to figure out what you want in life and what your values are despite the idea that everything will end one day.”
Originally from Verden, Germany, Damenz came to America to attend college at Lindenwood, which is where his passion for film began.
“(Film) is just a medium where all other aspects from traditional art forms come together,” Damenz said.” “I love working with a team and coming up with ideas to tell your story in an interesting way.”
Damenz made the eight-hour drive to Tuscaloosa, Ala. with three of his friends to attend Black Warrior Film Festival.
“My favorite part was getting to meet other student filmmakers and meeting the guest speakers,” Damenz said. “It was a pleasure to talk to everyone, and especially Mitch Levine and one of the jurors, Angelo Corrao, were very approachable.”
The criteria for the Holle Award for Filmmaking stated the film had to be 30 minutes or less, a narrative or documentary film, the filmmaker had to be a current undergraduate or graduate student at a university, and the filmmaker had to have all rights to everything in the film, including release of all talent. Additionally, the film was judged based upon its ability to demonstrate a unique vision and style of the filmmaker, its originality in concept and approach, and its display of technical skill and interesting aesthetic qualities.