By Lauren Drake
A group of six Western students took home the grand prize, audience choice and best dialogue awards at KVIK’s Fifth Annual 48 Hour Film Screening, which ended on Sunday, May 15.
Their prizes included tickets for all team members to the Mount Baker Theatre and Seattle International Film Festival, a paid submission fee to enter their film in another festival of their choosing and showings of their film at an Associated Student’s movie event.
The sponsor of the film festival, KVIK, is an AS program that facilitates and provides first-hand experience in the industries of film, video production and television broadcasting for Western students.
Cole Wilder, Alex Johnston-Thomas, Summer Storholt, Melanie Strickland, Ben Briggs and Tommy Heffernan made up this award-winning student team. Each member contributed to creating their 10-minute film in just two days.
The team formation began before the start of the film festival competition with Johnston-Thomas, Heffernan, Storholt and Wilder who knew one another through their work in sketch comedy production at Western, Storholt said. From there, they recruited friends Briggs and Strickland to fill the remaining two slots on their team.
To manage their time efficiently, the crew set up what Storholt referred to as a team hub at Heffernan’s house. From there, each member worked on writing, shooting and editing the film. While surviving off of minimal sleep, copious amounts of Mountain Dew and caffeinated beverages, Storholt said.
One morning, the crew even feasted on a breakfast of tater tots and mozzarella sticks, Johnston-Thomas said. He said he has participated in the event before and said it can really take a toll on one’s body.
“I slept for about three hours total over the weekend,” said Wilder.
On the first night, Friday, May 13, their team was randomly assigned the theme of a high school coming-of-age story. Each film entered into the contest had to contain three additional elements: a bad crayon drawing prop, a nosey neighbor character and the line “what’s your mother’s maiden name,” Storholt said.
Their film tells the story of 28-year-old man, who after having a falling out in his marriage, returns home to visit his sister who is in high school and he reminisces on that time in his life. The two main characters are played by team members Briggs and Strickland, who acted as the older brother, Sam, and his high school sister, Olivia.
“It’s someone who’s older wanting to experience youth again, rather than someone who’s young wanting to get older,” Storholt said.
The six members gathered for a meeting at Heffernan’s house on Friday evening to figure out their plot and outline a script, Wilder said. Heffernan worked hard throughout that night and into the early hours of the morning writing the script from the outline while having team members review it and give their input, Wilder said.
On Saturday, the team filmed and edited their scenes. Wilder worked on sound, Johnston-Thomas on cinematography, Heffernan on camera and Storholt helped with sound and lighting, while providing comic relief.
Looking to the future, Storholt, a theatre major, hopes to pursue her interest in improvisation and sketch comedy next year in Chicago. Wilder is a film studies minor and is considering pursuing further film education in graduate school.
Many of the team members are currently working on the event Show the Show, Storholt said. This event will showcase sketch comedy videos they have produced, which will take place on June 1 in the Old Main Theatre, Johnston-Thomas said.