The 24-Hour Film Festival held by the Communication, Popular Culture and Film Student Society (CPCFSS) featured four short films following the theme “a blessing in disguise.”
At 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, participants were emailed the instructions for the competition and from there the groups hit the ground running to conceive, film, edit and produce a short film. Along with adhering to the theme, participants were expected to include an analogue clock within their two to eight minute long short film. A bonus feature filmmakers were offered was a long take, which is a shot that lasts longer than conventional shot in filmmaking. The judges, Professor Anthony Kinik, Professor Bohdan Nebesio and Teaching Assistant Brittany Melton, would judge the resulting short films to award first and second place, while the audience got to vote on a final Audience Choice Award.
Four incredibly unique and creative short films came out of this 24-hour competition. The screenings were kicked off by “Unfortunate” created by Angel Chang, Ethan Limsana, Dillon Cantello and Christianne Mitchell which earned second place in the competition. “Unfortunate” opened with the title appearing in gothic font and the distant sound of an old bell tower. An eerie tone oozed from the screen in the opening seconds, yet was dispelled quickly with the wittiness the creators incorporated throughout this quirky short film. “Unfortunate” hit close to home for most Brock students as it follows the story of a lost student card and navigating the labyrinth we call Mackenzie Chown. Like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner “Unfortunate” followed Ethan Limsana attempting to chase down Christianne Mitchell to return her student card. The old timey music added energy to the comedic cat-and-mouse scene. “Unfortunate” started the evening off with a bang, setting a high bar for the other short films to compete against.
“Daylight” created by Sarah Eadie, Jordan Morris and Gary Chohan kept the upbeat vibe going into the second screening of the night. “Daylight” featured a series of unfortunate events that resulted in Eadie, Morris and Chohan’s days perfectly colliding. “Daylight” was comedic, yet the light hearted nature of this short film was balanced with more serious undertones in Chohan’s subplot as an injured boxer. Morris’ do-it-yourself cooking tutorial leading up to his day derailing resulted in audience cracking up. From there the story unraveled and every inconvenience that could’ve happened to Morris, seemed to happen. This ultimately feel-good story resulted in the “Daylight” creators winning the Audience Choice Award which included a gift basket from the Campus Store and $50.
Although they left with a title the group was there for the experience over anything. The team was one of two consisting exclusively of BrockTV employees, but they suggested the competition was nothing but friendly.
”We wanted to do it for more of the competition of making a film in 24 hours, rather than winning. In the process we had quite a bit of fun,” said Chohan.“We only really lost to our own teammates, we are all a part of BrockTV and those guys beat us tonight. It was more for the experience.”
“We kind of [submitted a short film] not expecting a lot, we did it to see how we could challenge ourselves and do as much as we can in the 24 hours and see what our capabilities and strengths are. Trying to make a complete film, we can always think of ideas, but to formulate it, film it, edit it and have it completely done in 24 hours takes a lot,” said Morris.
With the clock ticking away, improvisation came in handy for the “Daylight” creators.
“We didn’t really have an ending planned, so we just kind of improvised.” said Morris.
Despite being under pressure to deliver a full short film in just 24 hours, the experience was well worth it for the “Daylight” group.
“It was really fun and challenging, but in the end it was all worth it,” said Eadie.
The night took a darker turn with “Shortcut” by Liam Nielsen, Braden Young, Jay Lumsden, Sebastian Andruchovici and Korynne Cousineau. This short film followed Young’s disorienting morning. An empty medication bottle and a haphazard attempt to get dressed leads to the protagonist rushing towards a forest in search of a girl who was consuming his thoughts. Young stumbled around a snowy valley as he grew frantic in his search. The creators of this short film took this opportunity to film in first-person which enhanced the desperation of Young’s search. In this moment of need and panic, Andruchovici appeared and offered Young solace in a momentous embrace. After the climax, the short film cuts to two years later. Andruchovici and Young’s unlikely encounter resulted in a friendship. “Shortcut” was undoubtedly a rollercoaster the audience was not expecting.
Lastly, “Roadtrip” by Zach Chabot, Matthew Scott and Remy Zanotto was put on the big screen.
“Our film is all about two best friends who kinda have to rekindle their relationship by going on a road trip. On this road trip, they experience their car breaking down so they have to learn to live off the land a little,” said Scott.
Chabot, Scott and Zanotto created a hilarious short film featuring a fight for friendship amidst a scandal with the Canadian government. Their wit and film making skills shone throughout the entirety of “Road Trip.” This group was the only one that did not integrate the analogue clock requirement in the form of an alarm clock. Scott checks the time on his analogue wrist watch which seamlessly fit into the film. Details such as this clever inclusion of Scott’s watch earned these creators the number one spot.
This comedic short film ended up taking first place.
“I feel pretty good. I don’t think it is something we really expected, coming into this it was a long 24 hours,” said Zanotto.
As much as “Roadtrip” had the audience and judges alike cracking up from start to finish, the creators were humble and thankful for the experience.
“I am just thankful that this opportunity was always there. This event is meant for young filmmakers, like us, who maybe don’t have the time [to make films] usually,” said Chabot. “Regardless of where we placed, we all did a good job and we should all be proud of what we did.”
The first place team took home a well-deserved 12 FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Film House passes and $300. The judges praised their use of slow-motion shots and strong sound effects.
The 24-Hour Film Festival was a success and showcased the talent of BrockU students. The variety of content and styles made this event a stunning demonstration of the power of short films.