California Lutheran University’s Digital Cinema Guild screened seven student-directed short films Monday, April 9 at the AMC in The Oaks shopping center during this year’s second installment of the 48 Hour Film Jam.
The screening of the films marked the culmination of an event that began with an informational meeting in late February that invited all students with a passion for film to learn about the details of the competition. The Digital Cinema Guild held auditions for actors in the William Rolland Art Center Feb. 28.
The competition itself began on Friday, March 2 with its official kickoff event at 6:00 p.m., where a representative from each group chose between two genres selected in a random drawing.
“We got mockumentary and sports as our two genres and we just decided to mesh them together and make something completely silly,” said Mary Kalfayan, co-director of “The Great Games,” one of the seven films featured at the event.
In addition to choosing a genre of film, each group was assigned to use a flash drive as the prop required to appear on screen, Jacob and Emily Mayfield as the names of two characters, an entrepreneur as one of the character’s occupations and “I’m trying to help you” as the mandated line of dialogue to be spoken, sung or written on screen at some point during the film.
After each of the seven groups were given their film requirements, they were allowed to organize their cast and crew and secure any required equipment and shooting locations. The 48-hour time period began on Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m., which established a hard deadline of Sunday, March 4 at 7 p.m. for films to be submitted.
However, of the seven groups that entered, only four qualified for the competition as technical difficulties prevented a couple of groups from submitting their films on time.
“I would say our most nervous moment was at 5:30 [p.m.] when [Adobe] Premiere started crashing on us, hence why we were not in the competition,” said sophomore Ceryna Baens, who directed the drama film “Try For Us.”
Junior Josh Antorietto experienced similar technical difficulties with the video-editing software.
“We were done an hour ahead of time and already exporting it, then our thing crashed,” said Antorietto, director of the coming-of-age film “Flash Stick Failures.”
Each of the seven student directors reflected on their experience in the competition, shedding light on funny moments, struggles and things they learned during the Q&A forum held immediately after the films screened last Monday at the AMC.
“It’s really fun,” Antorietto said. “And every single time you do it you learn something new because it comes down to the wire and like one thing breaks, and then everything is just screwed and you can’t fix it. And it’s just really fun because everyone is super anxious to see if it actually works.”
Julie Wilson, who directed the competition’s lone animated film, entered the 48 Hour Film Jam with experience in 3D animation. Her film “Double Take” required her to go out of her comfort zone by making a two-dimensional animation film.
“I’m a 3D animator—I’ve never done hand-drawn animation, so learning Toon Boom and 2D animation hand-drawn was a big learning curve for me,” Wilson said.
Student director Hannah Duran said the 48-hour time limit made it difficult for her group to accomplish everything they sought out to finish.
“We focused so much on audio that we really wanted to get color correction done, but we were running out of time,” said Duran, who directed a social justice film called “Every Mourning” that portrayed the grim post-reality of a college student victimized by a school shooting. “We had exported it with audio and it was done, but we wanted to go back in and do some color correction, and it was going to take a long time to then export again, which would have put us over the time limit.”
Duran’s film placed first in this spring’s competition. During her acceptance speech, she cited Academy Award-winning director Katherine Bigelow as one of her inspirations for filmmaking.
“Katherine Bigelow is a great female director,” Duran said. “[Bigelow] is one to have won an Academy Award for directing for her film ‘Hurt Locker.’ She’s the first female director to do that, and I think that all of us female directors can look up to her and certainly become inspired to be the next one.”