A red carpet, live music, fancy dress and of course, the smell of popcorn meant the 2017 Frog Baby Film Festival was in full swing.

Filmmakers, guests and students of all majors gathered in Pruis Hall April 7 for a showing of the best student-made short films at Ball State. Cardboard cut-outs of Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart greeted audience members as they made their way down the red carpet, and minimalist posters of each film lined the walls, teasing what was to come.

“I think what I was looking forward to was fresh perspectives,” said freshman telecommunications major Nathan Walker. “Seeing how other people take 15 minutes and how they go about it might make me think, ‘Oh, that’s how I could have done it.’ It makes it more like a teaching experience.”

2017 Frog Baby Film Fest Winners:

Best Direction: Looming

Best Screenplay: Welcomes April

Best Sound Design: Looming

Best Color Grade: Looming

Best Editing: Looming

Best Production Design: Looming

Best Cinematography: Looming

Best Action Film: Magic Off: The Reckoning

Best Alternative/Experimental Film: The Doctor Steve Show

Best Comedy Film: Welcomes April

Best Documentary Film: Books Arts Collaborative

Best Music Video: We Don't Cuss

Best Drama Film: Looming

Best of Festival: Gale

Others, like senior philosophy and religious studies major Ben McIntosh, said they came to the event to support friends with films in the festival. McIntosh added that he was also looking forward to the Alternative/Experimental category of films — a new addition to Frog Baby.

“I’m interested to see what people bring to the table for that because it sounds unique and new and interesting,” McIntosh said.

The new category included films such as "Kyle and Emily,"and "INDIANA: A Different Perspective Vol. 2" — the second installment of a landscape drone video of Indiana. The winner of the category, "The Doctor Steve Show," was an alternative horror film which centered around hallucinations, a killer cook and the dangers of tomatoes. 

Although the event is student-run, submissions are faculty-judged, and winners are selected based off of those critiques and evaluations.

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Other big winners of the night included "Welcomes April," which won both best comedy and best screenplay for its exploration of what happens when people only interact superficially. 

Additionally, the complex and dramatic film "Looming" swept up a total of seven awards, including best drama, best actress and best direction.

But the biggest surprise of the night was saved for the most prestigious award, the Best of Festival. When the animated short film "Gale" was announced as the winner, there was a moment of silence before rows of filmmakers roared with excitement.

The film was made as part of a senior production class where students spent a year coming up with the concept and execution of the film, about a lonely lighthouse keeper who grapples with the loss of his wife. Foster Eber, a senior animation major and director of "Gale," said he didn’t see the win coming.

“I was just shocked,” Eber said. “It was like, 'Oh my gosh, that’s us. They said Gale?' And it was just so exciting. I’m the director, but my crew, they did all the work, and really it’s just a huge team collaboration. I’m just so proud of all of us.”

Natalie Rolodex, a sophomore visual communications major, said the short films were "impactful" and inspired her work as a graphic design artist.

“I like seeing what [the filmmakers] capture in film, and what I capture in picture, and how we connect in a way,” Rolodex said. “You see a lot of images coming together in a whole story, it’s very different than just capturing it in one image. It’s interesting to see the whole background story all in one rather than just a moment.”

View previous years' submissions for Frog Baby Film Festival here.