Record Number of Entries Compete in 48 Hour Film Challenge
By Cooper Nelson and Doug Carroll
GCU News Bureau
GCU’s Quad looked more like the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday night as Assistant Professor Gregg Elder and the Digital Film and Production program screened student films from this year’s first 48 Hour Interschool Challenge.
“The 48” kicked off last Friday, when teams of students were given just 48 hours to finish a short, theatre-quality film. Teams were assigned three elements to incorporate into their films: a prop (toothbrush), a character (Pat, the messenger) and a line of dialogue (“Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three do”).
The challenge included 12 teams of students: two from the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe; one from Arizona State University; a hybrid team from Glendale Community College, Scottsdale Community College and GCU; and eight teams from GCU. Film genres were drawn from a hat and ranged from murder mystery and film noir to musical and war.
The largest crowd in the five challenges to date, estimated at about 200, turned out on the Quad outside the College of Education building on Sunday to watch the movies on the big screen.
Top films included:
- “A Religious Journey,” a mockumentary uncovering “Merquinism,” a new religion where followers worship the water, directed by GCU theatre major Adam Benavides.
- UAT’s “Apart From This World,” a musical parody of “Part of Your World” from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” in which a nerd sings of his desire to live in a geeks-only world of sci-fi and comic-book heroes.
- A war movie, “Do Not Go Gently,” directed by GCU film major Chris Riley, following the struggles of a man who delivers bad news to families of fallen soldiers.
- A GCU student film, “One Good Deed,” which told the story of a woman forced to deal with the stress of her partner’s involvement in the mafia.
UAT ruled the night, winning three of the four awards. Its film “Apart From This World” took the technical award for its stunning use of digital graphics and FXs and also won the overall award for best film, narrowly beating out GCU’s war movie. The lead actor in “Apart From This World,” Michael Benson, won for best actor.
“The biggest thing (in making a film) is trust and enjoying your crew,” said Neil Sparks, the director of “Apart.”
“We have a history together. … I picked my team because I knew we could work well under pressure.”
Riley won best director for the solemn ambiance of war he was able to elicit through the storytelling of his film.
“I really give all the actors and everyone else involved with this film all the credit,” Riley said. “They trusted that we could make something exciting and fun to watch, and we accomplished that.”
UAT will host the next 48 Hour Challenge in the spring, when the GCU film program, in only its third year, will try to reclaim the trophy.
“This was great, it was fantastic,” Elder said of the competition and the turnout. “The films were phenomenal, and the level of quality went up a huge amount this time.”