The 39th New Jersey International Film Festival was held between September 13 and October 25, 2020, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and showcased the best in international independent film. Bella, co-created by Loras professor Seth Myers with international artist Sarah Stolar, was one of 40 films selected from over 840 submissions to take place in this year’s hybrid festival. The festival concluded with an awards ceremony online, where Bella was awarded the grand prize of Best Short Film. The film will screen again as part of the Best of the Fall 2020 New Jersey International Film Festival in early November.
“This is a huge win for our small crew, including Loras alumnus John Spencer Woerdehoff (’18) who served as co-editor and director of photography. With so many great filmmakers and films in our category, we are humbled that the festival recognized our unconventional work that integrates cinema with dance. This win is also very special to me personally since my extended family all reside in the New Jersey area,” Myers said when asked about winning.
The New Jersey Stage, a regional magazine covering the arts, interviewed Myers in conjunction with the festival. He spoke about the film, his crew, and co-creator Sarah Stolar. The interview can be found here:
Myers has plans to screen Bella to the public at Loras College when the festival season ends. He is currently in pre-production on his next major project titled Prayer Bridges. He looks to continuing collaborations with both students and alumni from the Media Studies program at Loras.
Myers explained further about his process, “We always stress the learn-by-doing method in the Media Studies program, and I’ve seen incredible results giving professional opportunities to our students. They always rise to the occasion, and it’s revealing of the quality of student we continue to get at Loras and in our program.”