Short film by NSU alum takes top prize at Cane River Film Festival


NATCHITOCHES – A short film by Northwestern State University graduate Hammond Lake took the top prize at the 2022 Cane River Film Festival, along with earning prizes at other film festivals in the U.S. and abroad.   Several other NSU alumni contributed to the creation of “Zoomies,” a comedy/horror film that will be screened locally as part of the fifth annual Cane River Film Festival.

In “Zoomies,” former teen star, Adley Taylor, recounts the story of her return to the spotlight after she falls victim to an ancient curse known only as “zoomies.” The film stars Darby Taylor, Josh Munds, Melissa Munds, Sean Luke Grady (NSU 2021) and Steve Porter.

Lake directed, wrote, edited and produced the film. He is a native of Shreveport who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and liberal arts at NSU’s Louisiana Scholars’ College in 2017 and a master’s degree in advertising at Southern Methodist University. Lake has written, directed and edited numerous short films, managed camera crews for music and food festivals and has nearly 10 years of freelance film experience with work ranging from ads for local and national businesses to commercials seen on HGTV, Food Network and A&E. He is currently NSU’s associate director of Marketing for University Advancement.

The rest of the film crew includes Michael Taylor Dick (NSU 2018), director of photography/gaffer/producer;  Chad Hill, assistant director; Chris Smith (NSU 2016), sound mixer/boom op; Ryan Looper (NSU 2015), audio assistant, and production assistants Ruben Smith (NSU 2021), Jason Smith and Jacob Kiser, current NSU students.

The film’s additional accolades include the following.

Best Comedy Short (North America)

  • ALTFF Alternative Film Festival (Toronto, Ontario)

 Best Comedy (Short Film)

  • Budapest Film Festival (Budapest, Hungary)
  • Hollywood Blood Horror Festival (Los Angeles, CA)

Grand Prize Winner ($1,500 Prize)

  • Cane River Film Festival (Natchitoches, LA)

 Best Horror Comedy

  • Houston Comedy Film Festival (Houston, TX)

Festival Finalist:

  • Boden International Film Festival (Boden, Sweden)

 Festival Semifinalist

  • Dumbo Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY)

 Notable Official Selections:

  • Culver City Film Festival (Culver City, CA)
  • Fright Night Film Fest (Louisville, KY)
  • Portland Comedy Film Festival (Portland, OR)
  • Reno Comedy Film Festival (Reno, NV)
  • Texas State Film Festival (San Antonio, TX)
  • Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival (Muskogee, OK)
  • MystiCon Independent Film Festival (Roanoke, VA)

 The fifth annual Cane River Film Festival will take place March 18-19.  Film screenings will take place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 19 at Parkway Cinema, 1011 Keyser Avenue, Natchitoches.  Screenings are free and open to the public. Seating will be limited.  Filmgoers can RSVP at  Information on the Festival and its associated reception and other events is available at