Spotlight on student filmmakers at 73 Hour Film Festival
By Julie Anderson
The 73 Hour Film Fest gives students the chance to create and produce a short film in only three days’ time.
The guidelines for the competition appear simple: teams of up to five Northern Arizona University (NAU) students have the opportunity to create a five-minute film based on a theme sent to teams at the beginning of the competition, which is noon on Nov. 2. Film entries must also include a specific line of dialogue and be submitted by Nov. 5. As electronic media and film (EMF) professor and judge for the festival, Kurt Lancaster explains the task is not easy.
“It’s extremely difficult to make a good film in one weekend — but it’s good practice in learning how to come up with a story, then shoot and edit it. The pressure is good for students and students have a lot of fun with it,” Lancaster said.
Danielle Cullum, a graduate student in the applied communication program, has partaken in this competition previously. Cullum learned about the competition through her time working at UTV 62 as an undergraduate.
“[My partner] Chelsea Clark and I wanted to give the competition a shot because we had seen the films that were submitted in previous years and thought we could make a film as good, if not better. We got a team together and contacted a bunch of actors we had worked with in the past and produced the film Anhydrous. We won the judges’ vote and got to take our film to the Sedona International Film Festival in the spring of 2011. The following year, we competed again and produced the film Ruby and the Wolf and got to the Sedona International film festival two years in a row,” Cullum said.
Cullum says the biggest benefit to entering the festival is the possibility of being screened at the Sedona International Film Festival.
“As a filmmaker, to have on your resume that you have had a film screened at the Sedona International Film Festival is very good. It shows that you have the dedication needed to work hard on a project and win a festival in a short amount of time,” Cullum said.
Lancaster explains that judging resembles that of his grading technique.
“I base [judging] on the same criteria I use for my production classes. It must tell a good, cohesive story following the principles of dramatic action, be shot cinematically — story told visually through the dramatic action of the performances, good lighting, variety of lenses and depth of field shots and camera movement,” Lancaster said.
Melissa Smith, a senior EMF major with an emphasis in screenwriting, is one of the directors of the festival. Smith is also a veteran of the competition; she and her team entered a film two years ago. Although she is not a judge, she still involved in the judging process.
“Something else that is judged is just the overall production value — how good the films look. We sort of leave it up to the judges, who are mostly EMF professors and are therefore practiced with film, to make the decision,” Smith said.
The films will be shown and the winners will be announced at the 73 Hour Film Festival Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. in Cline Library.