After 48 hours of little to no sleep, everything came down to the pause before pressing the play button.
Students were required to write, produce, edit and submit a 4- to 7-minute film within 48 hours. The project was sponsored by the student organization Movie Camera Militia, a group of SIUC film students formed in November 2010.
Christopher Parr, an instructional communication technical operator, oversaw most of the competition and assisted students with everything from stunt driving to equipment handling and checkout.
“We based a lot of our rules after the actual 48-Hour Film Project,” Parr said.
The project is an international competition that requires filmmakers to incorporate a prop, a line of dialogue, a character and occupation into each film.
As the title suggests, submissions must be filmed and edited within 48 hours.
SIUC’s version was no different. More than 25 students divided into three teams and worked throughout the weekend to create a film in two days.
Each team drew a genre out of a hat, with a chance to redraw once if desired. The seven genre options included horror, “buddy film” (a film in which two people of opposite personalities become friends), comedy, romance, super hero, suspense/thriller and drama.
“The trick about genres is how do you do it without being cliché,” said Aaron Mager, a senior from Columbia studying cinema.
Not only did the teams have to incorporate a genre, but they also had to add three required criteria.
The three teams, Team B and B, Team Bacon and Team Ducks on Ice, had to incorporate a beach ball, a character named Alex or Alexis who was a ballroom dancer and the line, “I’ve never had this happen before,” in their film.
Mager, one of the founding member of Movie Camera Militia, was one of the main people who helped organize the film project and bring it to SIUC, he said.
He said Mager sat down with a few other members of Movie Camera Militia before the event began, and randomized the teams.
“I think this is the only film project I’ve seen where you don’t get to pick your group,” he said.
Mager said Movie Camera Militia randomized the teams so no team would be at a significant advantage or disadvantage to the others and to force students to get out of their comfort zones and work with people they’ve never worked with before.
Tony Jou, a junior from Bartlett studying television and director of his team’s film, said the team randomization didn’t really affect his group.
“I don’t think we could have gotten a better team,” Jou said. “We trusted each other so much, which allowed us to do this project drama free and be the only team that got our stuff in on time.”
Jou’s team, Ducks on Ice, drew upon the “buddy film” genre. Their film “Wake Up Call” won three of four awards in the competition: best use of prop, best use of dialogue and best film.
Five mass communication instructors judged the film.
“It was a nice eclectic group that could really look at a lot of different elements of the film,” Parr said.
“Wake Up Call” was based on two friends getting dressed for what appears to be a wedding while reminiscing about their friendship.
“We went for simplicity,” Jou said. “Instead of focusing on the technical aspect of the film, we really wanted to show the characters and their relationship with each other.”
Although there were awards, Parr said he didn’t want this event to focus on who won or lost, but rather the experienced gained.
“I want the students to look at making films that gain recognition at festivals,” Parr said.
A film premiere was held Monday at the Mass Communications Building sound stage to view the submissions and hand out awards.
Before the films began, the room was silent, waiting to see what the teams produced and how their films compared to the others.
“I think everybody should try a 48-hour film festival, whether you’re a cinema student or not. Jou said. “It’s incredibly rewarding.”
Pat Sutphin can be reached at email@example.com
or 618-536-3311 ext. 251.