WWU Students Garner ‘Academy Awards’ at Red Carpet Showcase

Student actors, directors and film makers at William Woods University displayed their efforts during the university’s first Red Carpet Showcase, and were rewarded with their own “Oscars” at the end of the evening.


The Red Carpet Showcase, conceived and coordinated by first-year film and broadcasting instructor, Jason Knowles, was held April 27 at Fulton Cinema 8.  Arriving in a limo, students came dressed for the star-studded event in evening gowns and even some tuxedos to walk the red carpet to the cheers of their adoring fans (mostly their parents, professors and other students). They signed autographs and posed for pictures.


Six student films–five shorts and one feature–headlined the event, which was free and open to the public. “Academy awards” presented at the end of the evening were:

  • Best Director—Lincoln Purvis of Montgomery City, Mo., “Smokin’ Guns,” a Western-comedy

  • Best Lead Actress—Rachel Patricka of Las Vegas, Nev., “The Utopia Conspiracy”

  • Best Lead Actor—Calvin Hawkins of Wentzville, Mo., “Smokin’ Guns”

  • Best Supporting Actress—Bailey Campanini of Camdenton, Mo., multiple roles

  • Best Supporting Actor—Jason Cavallone of Chicago, Ill., multiple roles

  • Best Editor—Sarah Knapp of Festus, Mo., “Dreams,” a documentary

  • Best Cinematographer—Christopher Norton of St. Clair, Mo., “The Utopia Conspiracy”

  • The C47 Performance Award—John Couper of Columbia, Mo., and Lincoln Purvis

In addition to those receiving awards, students involved in the event were: Drew Arnett of Columbia, Mo.; Samuel Binkley and Larry Ellis of Fulton, Mo.; Aaron Griffin of Jefferson City, Mo.; Kayla Pulliam of Bloomington-Normal, Ill.; Becky Roberts of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Moberly, Mo.; Courtney Shotwell of Chesterfield, Mo., and Jennifer Steindorf of San Diego, Calif. 

Joe Potter, assistant professor and artistic director of theatre, commented, “I thought the whole event was a great idea. The students deserved the little bit of pampering and recognition that they received. Kudos to everyone! What a rich experience these students are getting at The Woods.”


Potter’s son, Joshua, a WWU alumnus, wrote the screenplay for the 73-minute feature film, “The Utopia Conspiracy,” and starred as the detective, Jack Gunn, in the motion picture.  Joe Potter made a cameo appearance as a bartender in the film.


The showcase featured fictional shorts starring several members of the William Woods community, as well as documentaries researched across various disciplines.  It also displayed radio and television excerpts from WWU’s broadcasting program.


Some of the films were collaborative projects, developed and shot by students in Theatre 310—Acting for the Camera and Communication 232—Digital Production II. Many of the filmmakers plan to enter their movies into local and regional film festivals.  According to Knowles, the digital filmmaking program at William Woods University has more than revitalized itself.  It has progressed exponentially.


“Some of our film and theatre students have achieved more through their productions during this one spring semester than most undergraduates at big film schools can accomplish over a full academic year,” he said.  “And this is just the beginning; you have only seen about 15-20 percent of what we are fully capable of producing.  I am extremely excited to see how these students will continue to grow and mature in the years ahead.”



Students arrive for William Woods University’s Red Carpet Showcase in a limo.


WWU actors, directors and film makers walk the red carpet to the cheers of their fans.


Rachel Patricka and Drew Arnett check out the credits listing them on the movie poster for “The Utopia Conspiracy”


Joshua Potter autographs a program for his biggest fan, his mother, Kathy.


Lincoln Purvis, a graduate of North Callaway High School, shows off his “Oscar.”