The Social Science Lecture Hall was packed with students Wednesday night as they read off a series of numbers on the big screen.
Teams of five had 24 hours to write, shoot and edit a movie. Over 70 teams started and only 46 finished. On the evening of Feb. 15, 25 of these movies were screened, five would be given specialized awards and only one would receive the grand prize and be recognized as the best film of UC Irvine’s second annual Mad Film Dash.
The event began with a mildly amusing intro video about a guy in an ape suit. Afterward, the guy in the suit came onto the stage to meet fellow co-organizer Andrew Capra.
No time was wasted as they dove into the top 25 of the competition. The best of the competition differed in length, tone and genre. There were horror movies, thrillers, comedies, spoofs, ambitious artistic attempts, a music video and an extraordinary number of chase scenes.
Four days before, 70 teams were given a prompt, which they had to follow while making a movie in 24 hours. Beyond the rules of the competition, each team had to incorporate an allusion to another movie, from something as small as a movie poster, to a line from the movie, to a whole recreation of a certain scene. The teams also had to have a reference to the UCI Bookstore and an Apple product and had to have a scene containing a Claire Trevor building.
‘If a team couldn’t handle the prompt with the Computer store [and] Apple sponsor cameo, it ended up looking like a commercial,’ Capra said. ‘That was not the intent of the prompt. You can see the winning teams did this properly with a simple background shot. If you take a minute to think about it before you shoot, it wouldn’t be invasive to your storyline.’
In the end, technical skill and professionalism seemed to conquer concept as Team Research Group was awarded Best Film for ‘White Collared Dream,’ which also won Best Direction/Cinematography and Best Editing.
It was clear that Team Research Group deserved the top prize for looking the most like a real movie, despite the fact that other movies may have been more inventive or creative.
‘Team Research Group wasn’t the most experienced team in the group, but they put a lot of effort into their film,’ Capra said. ‘Great lighting, choice shots and a comfortably short yet interesting storyline. It doesn’t look like any part of the process was rushed.’
Allen Ho from Team Research Group spoke about how his team’s win was the result of hard work, a frustrating task that was almost not even completed.
‘We were pretty demoralized around 6:30 a.m. when we were almost finishing shooting,’ Ho said. ‘We actually were talking about quitting. We also accidentally overslept and lost a lot of time in doing so. The last few hours were crunch time as we scrambled to get everything edited.’
Capra commented that editing is one of the major characteristics of success in this competition, both through execution and time management. Ho agreed, giving much credit to the group’s editor.
‘I’d have to give my compliments to our main editor, Darren Joe,’ Ho said. ‘He definitely gave our film a unique look. Guns and drugs are pretty common themes used in films. So when conceptualizing the idea in the beginning, we always knew we were going to have an [incongruent] narrative. We knew our idea had to be simple. It was the way it was told that mattered.’
In other categories, Team DOTinc’s very humorous ‘272’ won for Best Acting while the extremely clever ‘Book Club’ by Team Something won Best Use of Prompt.
Best Concept, which seems like the most rewarding of the subcategories, went to ‘You’re So Beautiful’ by Team EPIC, which created a music video for James Blunt’s ‘You’re So Beautiful.’
Each team from the subcategories received recognition with a Golden Reel, while the team awarded with Best Film was awarded almost $1,500 in assorted UCI Bookstore prizes.
Ultimately the screening was a very lively and enjoyable event. It brought together a small, but growing, group of students within the UCI community.
‘The Mad Film Dash at UCI has a long way to go,’ Capra said. ‘We’re hoping to stir up the artists on campus to include more and more people. This year we were about expansion, getting everybody from total first-timers to experts making films and having a great time. Next year and beyond we’re hoping to up the prizes, upgrade the equipment and make a film festival for the participants that’s bigger than ever.’
All of the movies that were entered will be able to be seen at http://antpos-test1.book.uci.edu/madfilmdash/team/about, along with specific results of the competition.