While mature filmmakers chase golden statuettes handed out by the Academy, students at Ithaca vie for the even more exclusive, if less illustrious, Golden Doorknob Film Award. The school’s recently reinstated tradition, conceived by retired professor Skip Landen, challenges students (previous entrants include Disney CEO Bob Iger and “Saw” exec producer Daniel J. Heffner) to make a short in which characters are inventively killed with a doorknob.
Rising to that challenge this year is Kevin Warnecke, who with classmates Brian Barnes and James Chapman, used a TV and film development class to hone their grisly ideas and co-write “Happy Thanksgiving.” “Our initial goal was to see how many people we could kill with one doorknob,” he says. The final tally? “Seven bodies in about three minutes — we’re still editing.” One fatality is an actress in her 70s, “who told us she hadn’t had such a juicy role in years,” he confides.