After 48 hours of tension and tolerance, five film production students handed in their final project for judging — a five-minute film called, “Sleight.” The group (Five Film Guys) completed the 48-hour film festival. Then, all they could do is wait.
On Oct. 9, seven days after project completion, the film everyone in the group had reservations about brought home a first place prize.
“I so don’t believe this,” Kristin Rolla said after Five Film Guys accepted their prizes. “I feel like this is a joke.”
Along with first place overall, “Sleight” also the won audience choice vote and best acting for Kyle Acheson, a senior acting major, who played the main character Tim.
“Sleight” is a mystery about Tim, a magician who gets murdered by a crazed pseudo journalist, Phyllis. Throughout the film, all fingers point to Frank, an angry ex-business partner of Tim’s. The end of the film reveals Phyllis as the killer. Most of the group was satisfied with the finished product.
“I think it turned out well,” Lindsy Lyner said. “There were some things that I wish we could have included, but because it had to be five minutes we couldn’t.”
Dave McDonald, on the other hand, was not as completely happy with the finished product.
“We needed the goddamn flashback,” he said, referring to a clip that would have shown Phyllis’s motive for murdering Tim.
The clip was cut for time in the editing process. Without the flashback, the group feels that it was not clear who the murderer really was.
Five Film Guys was made up of five sophomore film production majors — Dan Debrey, Lyner, McDonald, Rolla and James Westbrook. Having so many film majors in one group is a decision none of the members will make again.
Debrey, McDonald and Rolla said the group would have been much more functional had they differed in specialties. For example, two film majors, a lighting director, a scriptwriter and an audio expert would have made the production process smoother.
“It is difficult having four other film majors because we all have ideas and we all want them onscreen,” Debrey said.
Debrey and McDonald had differing opinions throughout the production process. When the two disagreed, Lyner played a vital role.
“I’m really happy that we had Lindsy,” McDonald said. “I was worried that with five film majors we would all butt heads, but Lindsy was like our mediator. She made sure we stopped butting heads even though me and Dan butt heads a lot … We’re both very stubborn.”
“Sleight” may not be a perfect film created in an ideal environment, but regardless of the bumps along the road, Five Film Guys managed to tolerate each other long enough to create a first-place film.
“It’s not a masterpiece,” Westbrook said. “It has some pacing problems and a little extraneous information that doesn’t need to be there, but for a movie that a bunch of college sophomores made in 48 hours, it’s technically great.”
Chris Clark and Brian Spath, from Cinema St. Louis and Kat Touschner from KDHX-FM judged the films. Adams, along with the other rule moderators Michael Kera, Claire Lunning and Tyler Deperro, combined their opinions into one collective vote in addition to the judges’. The films were judged on a point scale focused on editing, production and concept.
The film showed on Sunday in the Winifred Moore Auditorium along with five other films — “The Prince’s Beard” by Portal Close Productions, “Death of a Mathematician” by Burn Point, “Rowz-Ann” by Zpaze Boiz Ztrike Vak, “Killjoy” by Killjoy Hippos and “Mos Deaf” by Gatorshirt. One of the films, “Broken Statue” by Last Minute Entries was not played because of technical difficulties. There were originally 10 groups in the competition, but three dropped out for various reasons.
Killjoy Hippos’ film was not eligible to win prizes because they submitted their film after the deadline of 6 p.m. Oct. 2. All the seven teams, however, could win the audience choice awards.
The six groups who submitted their films on time were eligible for prizes awarded to the top three films overall. The prizes ranged from film memoirs to DVD collections for each place. The first place prize also included an imitation Oscar trophy..
“We try to keep the prizes as cool as they are educational,” Katie Lockhart Adams, president of Webster Film and Video Society, said. “They’re all things you should see as a film student.”