Topeka native Colin Sanders wins awards for his shorts

In fourth grade at Berryton Elementary School, Colin Sanders got off the school bus at the end of the day and walked into his home, where he saw his brother watching YouTube videos.

Colin Sanders didn’t know what YouTube was. He sat down with his brother and they watched comedy sketches.

Those moments played a big part in where Sanders is today and where he hopes to go.

Sanders is a student at John Brown University in Arkansas studying to become a filmmaker. He has created four short films.

His most recent “Exodus” is making its way into the film festival cycle. It won the awards for best experimental and fantasy short film and received honorable mention for best student film at the Los Angeles Film Awards.

The film was also selected for the Montreal Independent Film Festival.

Sanders’ short film “Paradise” was the Audience Choice winner at the Made in Arkansas Film Festival.

Childhood and adolescence spent making films

Sanders fell in love with the effects the YouTube creators used in their videos. He decided to make his own video.

“It was horrible,” Sanders said.

Once he showed it to his mother, she went out and bought him a cheap camera that he ended up using for the next two years to shoot and edit videos with iMovie.

“Everything was still very bad,” he said.

It was at Cair Paravel Latin School that Sanders bought a better camera and gathered a group of friends to help him make videos and write scripts.

“It was just fun hanging out with guys and being a little awkward, and at that point, I never really wanted to make a career out of film,” Sanders said.

During his freshman year of high school, Sanders went through some hardships in his personal life. He turned to the cinema as a way to cope.

“I didn’t really know how to express myself to others, so what I did was write a script for a short film and buy a new camera and new editing software,” he said. Sanders said. “I made my first real short film.”

The process, Sanders said, turned therapeutic and helped him realize that filmmaking was his future.

After graduating from high school, Sanders began attending John Brown University. In the first year, he directed three short films.

Lessons learned at Cair Paravel inspire the films

Cair Paravel emphasizes classical training and teaching the principles of truth, goodness and beauty.

Sanders explores these concepts in a philosophical way, taking courses in philosophy that he did not necessarily enjoy.

It was at the end of high school that Sanders noticed the influence of these courses and concepts of philosophy which he finally took with him.

When Sanders writes, he uses his experiences, emotions, or philosophical ideas.

“I usually write something that doesn’t really answer questions but think about it,” Sanders said.

Go off the beaten track

Sanders has to think for a moment when people ask him what genre his films are in.

“I’ll show people screenshots of what I’m doing and they’ll say something like ‘Oh so you really like doing horror shorts’ and I’m like ‘What?’ Sanders said, “I’m going to see him again, and I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, that sounds a little scary.'”

The simple answer seems to be that Sanders films do not have a designated category.

“I think if I had to pick one word to describe it – and I’m hesitant to say it because I don’t really believe that’s the best way to describe it – but experimental,” Sanders said. “It’s a pretty common category at a lot of film festivals and I think that’s probably what I would qualify for.”

Experimental, Sanders said, can be described as a movie that doesn’t follow a normal narrative structure.

His most recent film, “Exodus”, falls into this category.

“The story is about a young woman who has a very tragic life and commits suicide,” Sanders said. “The movie is actually kind of a metaphor and takes place in another realm of reality. It’s basically about her accepting her life for what it is and finding a way to move forward with it. its own existence. “

Sanders’ dream job

In between his spring and fall semesters, Sanders is interning as a videographer for a third-party logistics company in Arkansas.

He will graduate from university in 2024.

The road is open and full of possibilities. But that doesn’t mean Sanders doesn’t have some ideas on where he would like his career to go.

“High end dream job – I would love to be a writer / director for a production company in Hollywood,” Sanders said.

One job Sanders sees as more achievable is setting up his own production company and residing in California or Georgia.

One production company Sanders would like to work for is A24 Films.

This company was launched in 2012 and has produced movies and TV shows such as “Moonlight”, “Ladybird”, “Midsommar” and “Euphoria”.

“They post stuff on a fairly regular basis that I think is more of the stuff I would be interested in writing or directing,” Sanders said. “I think that’s where I get a lot of my inspiration from.”

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