Southern students receive film award at Windrider Summit during Sundance Film Festival

Three senior animation majors from Southern Adventist University’s School of Visual Art and Design received the Windrider Best Undergraduate Student Film Award during the 2022 Windrider Summit & the Sundance Film Festival Experience. The Windrider Summit, held virtually this year, is an official partner of the Sundance Institute. Students and Christian leaders from around the world come together for screenings and thoughtful conversations about faith and film.

Mugi Kinoshita, Avery Kroll and Ruth Perez were awarded for their animated short “Knock Knock”, which they created during the 2020-2021 school year.

It tells the story of two masked primary school students who communicate by banging on the plexiglass between them and writing sticky notes to each other.

“It’s beyond my imagination that ‘Knock Knock’ won this award,” said Ms. Kinoshita. “I am amazed at how God can use any talent to reach more people in the world.”

The film previously won “Best Animated Short”, “Best of Festival” and “People’s Choice Award” at the 2021 Sonscreen Film Festival, an annual event for Christian filmmakers.

“Here at Southern, I learned how powerful a good story can be,” Ms. Kroll said. “By reflecting the situation we are all facing due to the pandemic, our story was able to connect with people in a meaningful way. Our animation teachers were extremely helpful throughout this process.

“We wanted to find a way to show that there can be a connection even when there are certain limits,” Ms Perez said. “I know the relationships I’ve made here at Southern will play a major role in my future goals.”

Faculty at the School of Visual Art and Design aim to teach their students a balance of artistic perspectives while grounding them firmly in their faith.

“Animation is a powerful medium of communication,” said Hendel Butoy, a Disney veteran and animation professor who oversaw the project. “We encourage our students and empower them to combine excellence in craftsmanship with the higher calling of uplifting others through the talents they have been given. ‘Knock Knock’ is a great example of this vision coming to fruition.

To see “Knock Knock” and other student projects, visit


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