National Competition Honors Student Filmmaker’s Work

OGDEN, Utah – An aspiring filmmaker at Weber State University has had his short film recognized by the Fourth Annual Film Your Issue (FYI) Short Film Competition.

Hunter Saiz’s entry “Think. Believe. Act.” was honored with the USA Today Award for addressing the issue of free speech. Saiz used animation and rhythm to encourage free thought versus groupthink promoted by dictators and tyrants.

“I wanted to ask the question, are people just accepting the norm because that’s just the way it’s been?” Saiz said about his film.

Saiz will be heading to Los Angeles later this week to be formally recognized for his work at the Film Your Issue 2008 awards ceremony at the Sony Picture Studios. The award includes an internship with the USA Today newspaper at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The 22-year-old Ogden resident said he first became interested in filmmaking while attending Ogden High School and discovered he “really had a knack for it.” Last year, Saiz collaborated on a short film about obesity in America, which was a finalist for one of the honors at the 2007 FYI competition.
“I find filmmaking more therapeutic than anything,” Saiz said.

The two-minute final cut of “Think.Believe.Act.” was pared from a longer version. Saiz estimates he spent about three months working on the piece prior to the April competition deadline.

Saiz, a junior at WSU, has taken several accounting courses in WSU’s John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics and is deciding on whether to major in accounting or business administration with an emphasis in marketing. Saiz views his business studies as a tool to help support his long-term interest in film and graphic design work.

“Think.Believe.Act.” was one of 10 films to be honored from a pool of 500 submissions received from 46 states and 27 countries for the FYI competition (filmyourissue.com). Film Your Issue is a global initiative and competition aimed at getting young people engaged in the public dialogue on important issues, in partnership with USA TODAY, MySpace, The United Nations, The Associated Press, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the NAACP, Sony Pictures Entertainment, MTV, The American Film Institute and others. Teens and young adults age 14 to 24 were invited to create two-minute films on issues that impact their generation. Judges for the competition included Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite and Wolf Blitzer.

To view Saiz’s video, visit filmyourissue.com and scroll down to the link for “Think.Believe.Act.”

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
Contact:
Hunter Saiz, 2008 Film Your Issue Award Winner
Author:
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7212 • jkowalewski@weber.edu