Film Festival puts UCF students to the test
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 20:05
Junior cinema studies major Cesar Rosario could breathe a sigh of relief as he sat in the Enzian Theater on May 21 with his friends and teammates. In just a 24-hour period, Rosario had accomplished a task that not many can say they have: creating a film.
Only two weeks ago, Rosario and his seven teammates spent 24 hours writing, filming and editing a short film to enter in Orlando's 24 Hour Film Festival.
"We literally stayed up all night," Rosario said. "We had to turn in the finished product at the given deadline."
Rosario's team, called Team Arsenal after the English football team Arsenal F.C., was one of 55 teams at the festival competing for the grand prize of $2,000.
This year, only two teams from UCF – Team Arsenal and Sans Pants Productions – participated in the competition, compared to the eight teams that competed last year, said Michael DiCarlo, producer of the film festival.
However, both teams' films qualified in the top 24, which were screened last Sunday at the Enzian Theater in Maitland.
Besides the grand prizes, other incentives included $1,000 to the second-place team and $500 for third.
Beginning May 14 at 9 a.m., every participating team was given exactly 24 hours to write, shoot and edit a short film that followed the requirements set by the organizers. On May 15 at exactly 9:01 a.m., the staff stopped accepting any additional submissions.
When the festival first started three years ago, the creators, including DiCarlo, considered the time period given to the participants as the most important component of the festival.
According to DiCarlo, that is why the organizers are strict when it comes to turning late projects, even if they're a minute late.
"The whole point of the festival is to demonstrate what teams can do in 24 hours," DiCarlo said. "If we allowed for the teams to turn in their films even a minute late, this wouldn't be called a 24-hour film festival."
The 55 teams that participated, with an average of eight people per team, had a choice to pick between two genres: romance or action. Each team also had to appoint a team leader, include at least one line of dialogue in the film and satisfy the three-to-five minute length requirement for each film. Additionally, each team had to use three out of 15 mandatory objects, such as a tanning bed, a prosthetic limb or a real black dog.
DiCarlo said each year the committee picks 15 different objects to promote creativity and prevent teams from shooting ahead of time.
For Rosario and his teammates, not being able to shoot ahead of time was the most difficult aspect of the competition.
"The fact that you don't know the topics until an hour before the competition, and [whether or not] you'll make the deadline after putting in such hard work, can be really upsetting and disappointing," he said.
It took Team Arsenal about 12 hours to compose their action film; three hours of brainstorming ideas and writing the script and nine hours of rendering and editing.
In the end, they made the deadline by three minutes.
Reuben Rogak, a graduate student and digital media major, is the director of Sans Pants Productions. Rogak is proud that both UCF teams made the top 24. But he's disappointed that only two teams participated, considering the university's large film program.
"Frankly, I wish there were more people and representation from UCF," Rogak said.
Rogak also participated in the film festival last year. Both years, he said he made it in the top 24, which, for him, is always satisfying to know because the team's efforts and hard work paid off.
The most difficult challenge for Sans Pants this year was having outdated technology.
"The computer that we were doing the post-production on was extremely slow," Rogak said. "We burned the CD in the car as we drove to turn the project in, and we made the deadline by 13 minutes."
DiCarlo believes the 24 Hour Film Festival is realistic for film students to understand the challenges of creating a film from scratch and turning it into a finished product.
"The 24 hours they have is all a rush of challenges," DiCarlo said. "From coming up with a cohesive story, having to shoot the film and finding the right locations, the festival can bring a great deal of mixed feelings for those who participate."