UNT student’s film honored in TXU Energy film contest
Imagine riding a stationary bicycle to power your television, constantly shaking a hand weight to power your electric razor, or having your roommate turn an outside crank to heat water for your shower.
That's the scenario created by University of North Texas student Wojciech Stypko in his short film, "Man Power," which was recently recognized in the college category of the annual TXU Energy Light Up the Red Carpet Student Film Contest. The film took second place and was screened at the 2012 Dallas International Film Festival along with the other prize-winning films in both the high school and college categories. Stypko received a reward of $1,250, and the competition gave $1,250 to the UNT Department of Radio, Television and Film.
All films in TXU Energy's contest must be between three and five minutes long and created from one of five prompts posted on the contest website and in one of five required genres. Stypko, a senior radio/television/film major from Uvalde and the son of Dr. Andrzej and Malgorzata Stypko, is the third UNT student honored in the competition in two years. In 2011, senior radio/television/film majors Patrick Perkins and Dylan Voisard received third place for their film, "Zephyr."
Stypko described "Man Power" as "very sarcastic." The main character is a college student who is visiting his classmate's house for the first time, and sees the extreme measures the classmate and his roommates are taking to save on their electric bill. The main character explains there are easier ways to "go green," such as unplugging appliances when they're not being used or replacing light bulbs with more energy efficient ones.
"I thought of the idea of a Shake Weight and constantly using it to generate energy. Then I thought of ridiculous ideas to use the power of human energy," said Stypko, whose collaborators on the film were senior radio/television/film majors Joseph Thornton, the director of photography, and Addison Rose, the main actor.
"Man Power" is the second film Stypko has created that focuses on the environment. He entered his film "Econtra," a visual representation of how nature is becoming urbanized, in the iPic Members Film Festival Contest, and the film was screened earlier this year at the iPic Theater at the Village of Fairview shopping center, in Collin County.
"Doing these two projects has made me more aware of the importance of going green, which I hadn't really thought of before," Stypko said.
Stypko is currently completing his senior project for his advanced film class at UNT -- a narrative set in the 1930s in rural Virginia that follows two men on the run for an accidental murder. After receiving his bachelor's degree this August, he plans to move to Marfa to make films, and will eventually attend graduate school.