Featuring drug deals, vampires, car crashes and rom-coms gone wrong, the 24 Hour Film Festival was held on March 22 and a whole lot of creativity came with it. The event, hosted by the Communication, Popular Culture and Film Student Society (CPCFSS), featured eight student-submitted films – a high number for a Brock film festival.
On Mar. 21, all entrants were given a theme and an object they were required to incorporate into a short film. This year, the theme was “a taste of your own medicine”, and the required object was a mirror. Entrants were also given the optional choice of including an intense zoom-in for bonus points. From there, the entrants were given 24 hours to write, shoot and edit a film ranging from two to 10 minutes. To be shown at the screening ceremony at 7:00 p.m., all entries were meant to be submitted by 8:00 a.m. the next day.
Given the short time limit to put together a short film — a process that, for many, often takes months to years — there was a surprisingly high quality to many of the films showcased. A wealth of interpretations were made of the underlying theme, which became an underlying theme for the night. Karma, the hysterical black-and-white silent film made by Sarah Seguin and Amelia Salerno, stood easily against the dark depths of Paul Droto and Luke Webster’s No More.
Prior to announcing the winners, the audience was treated to a comedy short meant for the cancelled Render This Film Festival — Jeffrey Toop’s Vumpires, featuring a battle between some vampire bats and a man with a bat of his own, along with dialogue consisting exclusively of grin-inducing catchphrases.
The Audience Choice Award went to Jeffrey Toop and Luke Webster’s Trailed, a film about a man being followed who turns the tables on the detective that’s been keeping an eye on him. Within the ominous red lighting were a number of inspired shots, where one character would move and the other would pop up right behind him, making for a brilliant use of the mirror essential to the festival’s rules.
The top two awards of the night were chosen by the judges, CPCF professors Liz Clarke and Anthony Kinik and teaching assistant Taylor Zajdilk. There were four particular films that caught their eyes, with Trailed being one of them and deservedly so.
An honourable mention was given to Gabriella Harper’s Living With Girls, a comedy hinged on a prank war. The film was highlighted for featuring a brilliant use of an ensemble cast, with Harper’s voiceover and the details of the pranks earning a lot of laughs from the audience.
The runner-up prize went to Matthew Scott and Zach Chabot’s Rewind, a film that hits every note of an average romantic comedy before the narrators behind the film make some voiceover mistakes that call for a rewind — again and again. This was easily the most unique idea to come out of the festival, shot and written with professional confidence.
And in first place, earning the filmmakers $200 and a networking opportunity with local production company Foregrounds Media, was Dylan Quaint and Aidan Boyle’s You Good? The film centered around a drug dealer who accidentally — and quite literally — gets a taste of his own medicine, sending himself on a comedic and outlandish drug trip shrouded in shaky editing and ever-changing colours that pulled the viewers into what he was feeling. The win was rightfully deserved.
As the first 24 Hour Film Festival to be held in three years, the event was much more of a success than the organizers could have imagined. The turnout in both filmmakers and audience alike was substantial. Aspiring filmmakers should keep a lookout for another opportunity like this next year from the CPCFSS. The challenge of 24 hours seems daunting to the point of hopelessness at first, but the films that made the screening ceremony radiated creativity and individuality. It’s clear that 24 hours of passion and effort went into every single one.