Simpson alumnus and student win film festival awards

For Immediate Release


REDDING, Calif. – A Simpson University alumnus and a current student both won awards this spring at separate film festivals for their work in cinematography and screenwriting.

Drew Maw, a Redding native who lives in Los Angeles, won for best cinematography in the 168 Film Festival, which drew more than 65 entries from around the world. His work was on the short film “Just Cops,” the second most-honored film in the 8-year-old festival.

In Redding, Simpson University senior Jared Furze took home honors for best local experimental film at the local Sundial Film Festival, which drew 80 entries in its second year.

Maw, who transferred to Simpson from Shasta College in Redding and graduated in 2007 with a communication degree, did not expect to win once he saw the quality of camera equipment used by other filmmakers in the festival.

“I didn’t think we had a chance,” he said. But his work as director of photography impressed the judges, including “XMen” movie producer Ralph Winter, who contacted Maw personally to praise his work.

Participants in the L.A.-based 168 Film Festival shoot and edit films within 168 hours, or one week, based on a randomly assigned verse and the theme of the festival, which this year was “Hearing God.”

Maw’s film was an action thriller about two police officers, in which the younger officer tries to convey a message to his older, somewhat rogue, colleague. The 8 1/2-minute film was loosely based on Exodus 19:7-8, which begins, “So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him.” (The film can be viewed online; search for “Just Cops” on

Maw will graduate this fall with a master’s degree in cinematography from the San Francisco-based Academy of Art University. While at Simpson, Maw took advantage of the “study abroad” program through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities to spend a semester at the L.A. Film Studies Center.

Furze, a youth ministry major from Santa Rosa, submitted an 11-minute film titled “Grace” to the Redding-based Sundial Film Festival. It was first shown at Simpson University’s fourth annual student film festival, EXPOSURE, in November 2009.

“It was a portrayal of how Christians can become self-righteous and forget about grace and love,” said Furze, who serves as assistant youth pastor at Neighborhood Church in Redding. “It’s a serious film, which is not my normal forte. But it was something I was passionate about and wanted people to hear.”

Furze said Simpson President Larry McKinney encouraged him to enter the film – produced with the help of Simpson students Matt Lopez and Dustin Smith and graduate Dana Adams – in the local festival.

“We were shocked when they said our names at the awards ceremony,” Furze said. “It felt like a realization of film being a passion, something I’d like to pursue.”

Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate and teaching credential programs. Simpson’s athletic department offers intercollegiate programs in women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, basketball, cross-country, golf, baseball, and, most recently, women’s softball. For more information about Simpson University athletics, please visit, or to arrange a personalized visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


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