MBU junior and Staunton native Talula Mays has created a dark and suspenseful work that would make Edgar Allan Poe proud.

Talula Mays, an MBU junior, earned a trophy for artistic merit at Poe Film Fest.

MBU junior Talula Mays’ film “Delicacy” garnered praise at Poe Film Fest.

Her short film “Delicacy” premiered as a finalist in the college film competition at the Poe Film Festival in Richmond. Mays was one of four winners, nabbing the trophy for Artistic Merit.

“‘Delicacy’ is a three-and-a-half minute experimental film that serves as an audio-visual representation of the feeling of being overwhelmed by the compounding emotional effects of typical aspects of everyday life,” Mays said. “I wanted to create an immersive experience that would illicit an emotional reaction from the viewer, rather than pursue a narrative story.”

This was May’s first time working in film, and she approached it as a new form of self-expression to complement her art.

A studio art major with a double emphasis in photography and extended media, Mays credits her professors for helping her discover and develop her filmmaking talent.

“A major contributor to this achievement has been the outstanding support from my professors. Jim Sconyers provided the foundation I would need to pursue film work by helping me develop the skills necessary for manual camera use. I hadn’t ever really even considered making a film until my drawing professor, Martha Saunders, recommended I enroll in a film class in place of the cancelled May Term course I had been scheduled to take, which ended up being some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Thanks to my film professor, Allan Moyé — who provided me with all of the resources I needed and endless encouragement to pursue my vision — I learned not only how to create a film, but also what a wonderful form of expression it can be.”

Mays plans to continue making more films and is also interested in incorporating experimental film into her senior thesis exhibition next year.

“It’s an honor to receive this kind of recognition for my work,” she said. “The overwhelmingly positive reaction it has received is definitely a motivator to pursue filmmaking further.”

Mays (third from left) with MBU classmates at the film festival. Photo By Alan Moyé.