The 4-Hour Film Challenge

In Creativity and Innovation on Campus by John LaCrosse

(Pictured: A scene from the short film “Life,” which won the 4-Hour Film Challenge. The film was made by Maria Oscilowski, Colton Machado, Vince Salerno, Austin Matte, and Annie Bucheit. Watch “Life” here.)

— By Hannah Dorss —

We recently saw the inauguration of an event that will doubtless become a classic in the JPCatholic community. The event, called “The 4-Hour Film Challenge,” consisted of students gathering together for an evening to plan, shoot, and edit a short film in exactly four hours. Nicholas Wiley, a sophomore studying Communications Media with an emphasis in Directing, hosted the event as his RA activity in hopes of reigniting in his fellow students their love for filmmaking.

The event commenced with Nicholas gathering everyone together, outlining the rules, and handing out film equipment. Soon, groups gathered together in the student life building to discuss their film. Ideas ranged from a thirty-second horror to a minute-long dark comedy about a boy having an unforgettable birthday. In no time, each group was off to shoot their respective film.

Meanwhile, Nicholas bought popcorn and soda, and began turning the student life building into a movie theater for screening the soon-to-be-complete films. Over 75 students came out to view each other’s films and see which team would win gift cards for “best film.”

The winning team’s comedic short was a simple story of two guys in a classroom; the film opens on a boy getting irritated by an obnoxious pen-clicking fellow student. Soon, a word battle ensues, which then escalates into a deadly fight when the boys find out that their written words can turn into items when hurled at each other.

Vince Salerno, a member of the winning team, explains that the event allowed students to cross-mingle and taught them valuable lessons. He explains that he was able to work with people he had never before made films with. Also, the time-crunch taught him to trust this new team he had, and to keep moving forward. “In those high-stakes, fast-paced situations,” he explained afterward, “you can’t spend too much time disagreeing or trying to come to a consensus. You’ve just got to get to a point where you can move forward.” Due to University Day, there were also visitors who were able to get a taste of the JPCatholic film environment, even taking a physical part in making the films themselves.

The 4-Hour Film Challenge event is slated to reoccur twice annually, says Nicholas. To him, the event is worth repeating because it reminds students of why they are at JPCatholic. He explains, “I think it’s very easy to get bogged down in classes and studying and to lose sight of why you came here. Having an event like this can hopefully reignite the passion for filmmaking in students. That’s the hope.”