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UWRF students compete in 48-Hour Film Festival

March 11, 2015

Prospective filmmakers were given the chance to show their skills on March 6-8 when UW-River Falls hosted its annual 48-Hour Film Festival.

The 48-Hour Film Festival was started in 2009 by a student as an independent study project.

“The first year that it was started, it was just called ‘Falcon Film Fest’ and it was just more of an exposition and not so much a contest,” said Erik Johnson, faculty advisor for the 48-Hour Film Competition.

It wasn’t until the second year that the 48 hours was suggested by a student and then eventually incorporated. The idea of 48 hours came from an international 48-hour competition that has been very popular and the idea was to bring the competition to the college level, which would allow students who either have experience with making short films, or love to make short films, to come together and compete for awards.

The name of the competition changed to 48-Hour Film Festival, but the name for the actual viewing of these short films is still called Falcon Film Fest.

Anybody could compete in this competition; they do not have to be digital film majors. Since videos are such a part of our culture and world, this competition lets students explore their abilities to create a short story.

Johnson said YouTube is a great example of anybody being able to become a storyteller.

“They range from young kids to senior citizens,” Johnson said. “If you can tell a story and you have access to a way of doing it, then absolutely you are able to do that.”

The process in which these films were created may seem easy but can be challenging. Students made teams, which could be any number of students, but must have at least two, and they picked their film genre out of a hat.

Within the hat there were 15 different genres. These genres could be anywhere from comedy to action to time travel to superheroes, and no group gets the same one. In addition to the genres, each group picked out three other elements out of a hat that were used in the making of their film.

The three elements are a prop that needs to appear, a character, which is the name and occupation of someone in the film and, the newest one added to this list, a line of dialogue. The reason that these items are given is to help guide creativity.

However, after each group had drawn their elements and genre, there was time for groups to negotiate with one another about either their props, dialogue, character or genre, but as soon as the 48 hour timer started, they were bound to those elements and genre.

After these films were created, each team turned the finished product into a video on YouTube and emailed it to UWRF Student Life from which it was posted to Orgsync where students could vote on their favorite short film.

The films were also reviewed by a panel of judges made up of alumni who are working in the film and television business. The alumni then choose who the awards of best director, best acting and best technical ability go to. The films can be seen on Orgsync or on the Falcon Film Fest webpage. The films will be shown publicly at 5 p.m. on April 8, in the Kinnickinnic River Theater.