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Pepperdine University Student Film Wins Multiple Awards at Christian Online Film Festival



February 20, 2023 – Malibu, CA – Infinite, a short film produced by Pepperdine University sophomore Joshua Pitney and senior Autumn Johnson, has won several awards at the 65th Christian Online Film Festival. The 7-minute film garnered accolades for Best Student Film (Joshua Pitney, Autumn Johnson), Best Actor (Kyle Burnett – Charlie The Student), Best Actor Supporting (Jack Pitney – The Teacher), Best Music & Sound (Kyle Simpson, Nolan Ause), and Best Villain (Carlos Gomez – Casey The Bully).

Pitney wrote and directed the film, which depicts an autistic student who comes to accept his identity. Originally developed for a Screen Arts Production 2 class, the project is inspired by Pitney’s own experiences.

“I am on the autism spectrum, and I strive to tell authentic neurodiverse stories,” said Pitney. “So, this assignment was an opportunity for me to showcase correct autism representation. I was also able to pull in my own experiences of struggling with my identity and realizing I was made just the way God intended for me to be.”

A Screen Arts major, Pitney selected a crew of nearly all Pepperdine students to create Infinite, and he credits the University for supporting his cinematic and personal journies.

“I chose Pepperdine primarily because it was a warm and welcoming environment,’ explained Pitney. “My time in Screen Arts has been very enriching. I have learned many narrative and technical techniques. I have learned how to use industry-standard equipment and how to get the best image possible with a cinematic camera. Furthermore, my time at Pepperdine has been amazing so far. I have made lasting friendships with students and faculty alike, been able to participate in many organizations, and have grown stronger in my faith.”

Following the film’s recognition, Pitney is looking toward his future as a professional director, writer, and actor. He plans to pursue film internships and continue telling stories of neurodiverse acceptance and pride, Christianity, and the natural world.

“It brings me great fulfillment to see this film resonate with audiences of all backgrounds,” said Pitney. “This is a sign that we are moving in the right direction toward increasing authentic neurodiverse representation in media. I hope this story will inspire everyone to know that they are made in God’s image and should be proud of that.”


About Pepperdine University
Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


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