Design Students Win Awards at Film Festival

by Sheldon Bloom

            Over winter break, two students of Troy University received recognition and awards for their short film at the Troy University-hosted Yellowhammer Film Festival. 

            On December 17th, students gathered for the 2nd annual Yellowhammer Film Festival, a local short film and video festival directed by Troy University’s own assistant professor of design, Chris Stagl. Amongst the over 250 entrants to the festival were two Troy University students, Howard Purvee Jr. and Nathan Hobbs, whose short film “Unseen” would go on to win the Yellowhammer Award as the best student film from the state of Alabama.

            The festival, which was hosted here at Troy University, provided local high school and university students with an opportunity to flex their creative muscles, so Purvee and Hobbs decided to contribute. 

            “Originally, this specific short film I wrote as a way to improve my storytelling as far as specific shots in sequence,” said Purvee, a senior graphic design major from Hartford, Alabama. “Then, it got closer to the yellowhammer film festival, and it ended up being a good script to use for our film festival project.”

            The film, which was centered around an altercation between two individuals, featured a dramatic black-and-white setting meant to increase viewer suspense. 

            “It’s about this guy showing up to another person’s workplace and confronting them about some way he’s wronged him. There’s a tense conversation with more layers to it than meets the eye,” continued Purvee. “I’ve been really enjoying black and white movies, so I wanted to shoot a noir-type film set in modern day, but without any indicators as to what specific time frame it was set in.” 

            While Purvee acted as the writer and lead director of the film, fellow Troy University student Nathan Hobbs joined him in the development of the project. 

            “We usually work together on just about every project,” said Hobbs, a senior graphic design major from Hartford, Alabama. “We’re roommates and very into film, so I decided to help him out when he asked me. I ended up being the actor opposite to Howard and just assisting in the project in any way I could.” 

            Readers are encouraged to check out the award-winning short film “Unseen” on YouTube under Purvee’s channel at

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