Film festival screening exceeds expectations

Abigail Wagner

The short films created during the 48-hour Film Festival debuted for a full audience in the campus center cinema Friday, Oct. 16. Film genres ranged from tragedy to fantasy in an eclectic display of creativity enjoyed by filmmakers, producers and viewers alike.
Seniors Katie Langenfeld and Stephen Anunson, co-presidents of the Lawrence Film Production Club and co-producers of the festival, said the results “exceeded expectations.”
Five teams of writers, editors, directors and actors created the films in just 48 hours, during the weekend before the screening. Each team was assigned a different genre and had to incorporate the same prop, character, and line of dialogue.
The festival featured the tragedy “Bad Luck for Benny”; “Background Noise,” a horror film involving an insidious record player; “Lazy Sunday,” which portrayed a college student’s daydream; “The Holiday Nightmare,” a comedic take on St. Nick’s yearly visit; and “Mind Freak’s Day Out,” which involved superhero sisters and an ex-boyfriend.
It was interesting to see how each film incorporated the required elements: a blue rubber ball, the character name Brighton Early, and the lines “I can see my reflection, and it’s telling me to do it” and “shift to the left.”
In “Background Noise,” the first line suggested violence, while it preceded a declaration of love in “Mind Freak’s Day Out,” of the “buddy” genre.
The filmmakers were inventive in their use of visual effects, music and humor. In “Lazy Sunday,” the audience laughed as the study-bound student drank pop in slow motion. Giggles greeted the music, which included “Mission: Impossible” and the “Star Wars” theme. Creative editing in “Mind Freak’s Day Out” allowed characters to disappear and objects to vanish.
The scenery in the films was familiar, with most action taking place in various dorms, in front of Main Hall, and in downtown Appleton.
The polished quality of the films, albeit with a few sound-level problems, was amazing, especially considering the time constraints.
Senior Carolyn Armstrong, co-editor of “Background Noise,” said this project was different from anything she had done before because she did not know what the rest of her team was doing.
Armstrong cited the genre requirements as her biggest challenge. Armstrong and Anunson used quick visual cuts and layered sound effects to make their “horror” film scary.
Senior Sirgourney Tanner, who came to the screening to support friends, said the films were unique and creative.
Both those who enjoyed the event and those who could not participate this time should look for more festivals to come in second and third term.