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Student team in finals for LiveWell Colorado Film Challenge

Release Date: May 31, 2016

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo


Press Release

PUEBLO - Colorado State University - Pueblo student team is one of the four finalists in the 2016 LiveWell Colorado Film Challenge, a new statewide competition for short films about barriers to healthy living in Colorado. At a public screening and awards event on Thursday, August 18, 2016, winners will take home a total of $12,000 in cash prizes, with prizes going to both the filmmakers and the media/film departments at their respective schools.

The CSU-Pueblo student team consists of Spencer Daniels, a senior mass communications major, emphasizing in electronic media, minoring in business administration from Saugus, CA; Kieren Kuiper, a senior mass communications major, emphasizing in integrated communications from Anchorage, AK; Avery Lewis, a senior mass communications major, emphasizing in electronic media from Rye; and Josh Smith, a junior mass communications major from Colorado Springs, who co-produced "Taking Life into Your Own Hands."

"Colorado is flourishing with talent and innovation in the creative arts, and much of it is being directed toward educating and inspiring action around important social challenges," said Shepard Nevel, LiveWell Colorado CEO. "Too many Coloradans in our urban and rural communities face significant barriers to accessing affordable, nutritious food and engaging in physical activity, leading to significant health inequities. This film competition has given student filmmakers a platform for doing what they do best telling powerful stories so more Coloradans can understand and address these barriers in their own communities."

"We are proud of our students but not at all surprised that they were finalists in this competition," said CSU-Pueblo Mass Communication chair Leticia Steffen. "We have some extremely talented students in the mass communications program and at CSU-Pueblo in general, and it's always great to see them do well in these kinds of competitions. This award also speaks to the quality of education our students receive here. I know that Assistant Professor Jiaxi Shen helped provide beneficial guidance to these students, and I'm sure they were also encouraged and motivated by many other faculty members and staff."

Filmmakers were asked to produce a compelling one-to-three minute film of any genre. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges representing the film industry, health advocacy, and civic leaders. Judges screened and rated the films based on effectiveness in illustrating how a health barrier impacts people, persuasiveness in driving action, and resourcefulness in production.

LiveWell Colorado Film Challenge Judges included:

  • Luis Benitez, the state's first director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office
  • Michael Brown, a world-class mountaineer and three-time Emmy winning filmmaker
  • Matt Campbell, film programmer for the Denver Film Festival
  • Olga Gonzalez, director of community engagement for LiveWell Colorado
  • Shepard Nevel, CEO, LiveWell Colorado
  • Aron Warner, an Academy Award winning producer
  • Donald Zuckerman, a film producer and Colorado Film Commissioner

Judging took place the week following the close of the submission period. The films with the highest scores have been announced as finalists; although the judges scoring has already determined which film will win, those specifics will not be announced until the August 18 screening and awards event.

The three other finalists are from Front Range Community College and Colorado Mesa University.

In partnership with the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media, the LiveWell Colorado Film Challenge seeks to inform, inspire and rally Coloradans around the urgency of addressing barriers to health. All four finalists will be honored at a public screening and awards event at Denver's Sie FilmCenter on Thursday, August 18, 2016, from 6:30-8 p.m. More information about tickets will be posted soon at

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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