Knoxville Film Festival Awards FSC Professor

Oct 13, 2015

by Salma Nawlo | Staff Writer

A Florida Southern professor has done it again! William Allen, M.F.A. of the communications department recently won third place in the documentary division at the third annual Knoxville Film Festival. The 2015 Awards were announced during a ceremony in Tennessee on Saturday, September 19, 2015, recognizing Allen’s film, No. 2: Story of the Pencil, as one of the best.

The Festival makes it its mission to celebrate the work of independent cinema, while providing a gathering for artists everywhere to come together and share their motion-picture creations.

Communications Professor William Allen accepting his award for Best Documentary.

“Hearing the Knoxville audience respond to my film cues was rewarding,” Allen said. “Especially after three years of development.”

The documentary juxtaposes the simplicity of the pencil with the complexity of today’s advanced technologies — both producing the same result when one attempts to get an idea across.

“Funny and poignant, the film inspired wonder at the chewed up pencils in my drawer,” notes Knoxville critic, Doug Floyd who mentions, too, that it was one of his favorite films. “At one time, those pencils gave voice to essays, poems, doodles, and journal after journal of reflections covering almost fifteen years of my life. The pencils and journals gradually faded into the background as I turned to computer screens, Palm Pilots, and other electronic devices.”

“Funny and poignant, the film inspired wonder at the chewed up pencils in my drawer.”
~Doug Floyd, film critic

“While there are benefits in the trade,” continues Floyd, “there are losses, like the loss of smelling and feeling a pencil in my hand and the countless doodles that covered my notebooks. After watching the film, I promptly ordered a box of No. 2 pencils from Musgrave Pencil Company. Maybe I’ll start chewing up my writing tools again.”

For Allen, the idea started by intensely staring at the wooden-cased pencil in his hand. Technological nostalgia is a key focus to his media-centric discipline and classroom interaction with students.

And fortunately, he works in the very place to embrace that creativity. Florida Southern contributed to his endeavor through a summer faculty stipend. This allowed Allen to work through various interviews with prominent pencil historians across the United States.