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The MIRC ACE winner is...

Jul 24, 2012 7:11 AM
Third-year media arts major Nick Sullivan doesn’t apologize for the fact that his compilation of Fox Movietone News clips is funny.

“Pure comedy was intended,” he said of his project for Media Arts 371 The Moving Image. “If someone finds a message in there, then great, but I wasn’t really going after one.”

There is no need to apologize, anyway. “The Cold Milk Wars” is amusing and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. It is also the latest winner of the Moving Image Research Collections Award for Creative Editing MIRC ACE).

“I was surprised that I won,” said Sullivan, who is from Simpsonville, S.C. “Honestly, I’m not sure why. There were a lot of really good clips made by other students, lots of artsy pieces, and mine was just comedy. Comedy isn’t a genre that typically wins a lot of awards.”

One reason for the win could be the continuous, vintage-style voiceover.

“We were all given the same clips and told to choose whatever clips we wanted and make some sort of coherent video out of it,” explained Sullivan, who used Adobe Premiere CS 3 editing software. “It didn’t necessarily have to have a narrative behind it, but it had to have some sort of coherent feel. Since it was a bunch of old clips I thought it would be good to do a kind of 1930s or 1940s radio voice over it.”

Several instructors teach MART 371 in the spring semester, with each instructor selecting three or four student films to submit for the MIRC competition. Jen Tarr, media arts instructor, taught Sullivan’s class.

The course assignment is about learning how to make connections visually,” said Tarr, who has taught the course for six years. “We want students to learn to use formal elements, as well as rhythm and motion, to make connections between the different pieces of film. Each student is given the same archival footage to pull from: a variety of images from the University’s Fox Movietone News Collection. Then they complete films of about a minute in length.”

Sullivan taught himself how to edit film while he was in high school and discovered he wanted to go into the field.

“I like directors Christopher Nolan and Edgar Wright,” said Sullivan, who is minoring in advertising. “Being a director would be my dream job. Getting a job in the industry and doing that the rest of my life would be my dream.”

Watch “The Cold Milk Wars,” and be prepared to laugh, at

A unit of the University Libraries, MIRC welcomes use of its collections. Located at 707 Catawba Street, MIRC is open to the public 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday. More than 3,000 hours of rare archival material are available to view on videocassette and DVD.