SUNY Film Festival awards UB student with honorable mention

Akram Shibley’s experimental piece receives recognition


Akram Shibly, a senior media studies major, received an honorable mention at SUNYWide Student Film Festival.

The sixth annual festival, hosted at SUNY Oswego, brought students from throughout the SUNY system together to showcase their talents and give them an opportunity to network with professionals in the film industry.

Shibly’s film Heal the World won in the experimental category.

The film features two children playing with toys in a poorly lit room juxtaposed with an interview, which also provides a powerful voiceover narrative, of a Syrian boy speaking in front of what is left of a city after the military had gone in and blown homes up into pieces of rubble. Then, two men in military uniform disrupt the children’s playing and crush their toys via stomping across the play set.

This was only one of the 235 films entered into the festival this year.

Students may submit as many original works as they have available to a board of judges for a chance to be selected and screened in front of hundreds of contemporaries with the same ambitions. This year 35 films were shown.

The films that were selected ranged from an array of genres, as those who attended were subject to viewing short documentaries, animated shorts, experimental shorts, and narrative short films.

“Really there was some amazing work displayed this year,” Shibly said. “Honestly I’ve been to many festivals around the world and this one was one of the most well put together thanks to SUNY Oswego.”

The festival hosted students from SUNY Alfred, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Dutchess Community College, SUNY Environmental Sciences and Forestry and UB.

After each film was screened, a panel of judges criticized it. They then voted on the best film of each genre, the best overall film and the audience favorite. Two films were selected from each category, as either an honorable mention or first place winner.

SUNY Binghamton took home the most awards, including an honorable mention in the narrative category for the film Ember, the story of an abusive, alcoholic husband reflecting on how he met his wife just as she chooses to poison him once and for all; an honorable mention in the audience favorite category for Dead Meat, in which two incompetent hit men must deal with their latest screw-up; and the Grand Jury prize for Fallout, a short film about a couple who must deal with relationship struggles as they contemplate how to handle themselves just before the end of the world.

“I feel that more media students from UB should submit their work next year and be a part of this amazing event,” Shibly said.

Reuben Wolf is a contributing writer and can be reached at