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Sunflower Matzen, a digital media student at Front Range Community College, won the first-place prize in the LiveWell Colorado Film Challenge, a statewide competition for student-produced short films about barriers to healthy living in Colorado.

Matzen’s film, titled “My Mom Loves Colorado,” focused on unaffordable and inaccessible food and a mother’s reliance on public transportation to get to a grocery store.

The video was a final project in Brandon Berman’s Video Editing II class at FRCC. She said she worked on the project for about four weeks, editing eight hours of filming down to the minute-and-a-half video. Friends star in the video.

Matzen received $5,000 with her award, and the Multimedia Technology Program at FRCC’s Westminster Campus received $2,500.

Matzen has two more classes to complete before earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in web design. She earned a certificate in multimedia in 2000. After being in the workforce, including eight years as a graphic designer for a T-shirt company, she returned to FRCC to earn a degree.

Scott Oney’s film, “Health Barriers,” earned honorable mention. It compared the cost of a home-cooked meal to a fast-food meal. Other honored videos came from student teams at Colorado Mesa State University and Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The films were screened this month at the Sie FIlmCenter in Denver, the home of the Denver Film Society. They can be found here:

LiveWell Colorado is a Denver-based nonprofit focused on reducing obesity by promoting healthy eating and active living. It partnered with the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media in sponsoring the contest.

“This was a tough challenge for the young filmmakers: to produce a compelling short film that could entertain, inform and encourage action on a complex subject – barriers to healthy eating and physical activity. It was an inspiration to see the quality of the films and the reactions of the judges and audience,” said Shepard Nevel, LiveWell Colorado president and CEO.

“While each filmmaker was given the same assignment, each expressed the challenge in a different way,” said Donald Zuckerman, Colorado Film commissioner. “From a documentary to an animation to a short narrative/comedy to an expressionistic word poem, the variety and creativity displayed here really was impressive.”

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.

The judges:

  • 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, Academy Award-winning producer of “Shrek” and other films
  • Donald Zuckerman, a film producer and Colorado Film commissioner

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 ensuring access for all Coloradans to physical activity and healthy eating.

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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online.

FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), the state’s largest system of higher education, with 13 colleges across Colorado serving more than 151,000 students annually. CCCS is a vital statewide pathway to individual achievement and economic vitality. Further, CCCS institutions provide an accessible, responsive learning environment that facilitates the achievement of educational, professional, and personal goals by our students and other members of our communities, and each fosters an atmosphere that embraces academic excellence, diversity, and innovation.

About The Film Challenge Sponsors

LiveWell Colorado is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to preventing and reducing obesity in Colorado by promoting healthy eating and active living. With the goal of eliminating health disparities and advancing health equity, LiveWell Colorado focuses its efforts on policy, environmental and lifestyle changes that remove barriers and increase access to healthy behaviors. Working in partnership with obesity prevention initiatives across the state, LiveWell Colorado aims to provide every Coloradan with access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.

The Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media takes pride in promoting the great State of Colorado to the film and television industry locally, nationally and internationally. We work to enhance the success of Colorado film projects through promotion, funding and education. The Colorado Office of Film, Television & Media attracts and facilitates content creation in Colorado to generate economic growth in all of its communities. It also connects filmmakers, animators, gamers and photographers to the resources they need, such as location assistance, crew referrals and inter-governmental cooperation.


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