The 22 filmmaking teams at the seventh annual 72-Hour Horror Film Competition submitted pieces ranging from riveting to comical to somewhere in between. The Jury Award of $1,134 went to the film “Unwind,” produced by an all-female team from the University of Oregon Film Club. “Unwind” was produced by Colleen Quinn, Marissa Jensen, Sophie Ackerman and Noa Cohen. This psychological thriller with feminist undertones featured a female protagonist, hallucinating, as a coping mechanism; a perfect ‘50s housewife role that ends with a major twist.
The teams were given a mandatory prop and a line of dialogue. The prop was a stuffed animal and the line was, “Loneliness is a monster.”The “Unwind” team wrote their story concept in three hours and filmed it in one 16-hour day. As with most film projects, there are a lot of decisions to be made when editing. There are continuity errors and such that, with a longer timeline, one could reshoot or use b-roll to cover.
“Like usual, in the editing process, you kind of, recreate your vision,” Jensen said.
“It was really difficult to try to make the most of our time, while being controlled by, like, what props are up, and how the makeup has deteriorated so far,” Ackerman said.
A Lane Community College team also took home an award for their film, entitled “Don’t Go.” This team crafted a story that left the audience in suspense. Their success was predicated on teamwork and improvisation.
“For the most part,” said team leader Kyle Whitaker, “it was just everybody just kind of chips in where they can. And as far as the story is concerned, how we did it was we just kept throwing ideas around in a circle for a couple of hours and just kept taking that stone and using the chisel and making something out of it.”
Improvisation was crucial in overcoming the huge obstacle of securing a filming location, as every first choice fell through. Teresa Hughes, an instructor in the Media Arts Department at LCC, offered the team use of her house for the filming. Not having their first choice in location certainly altered some aspects of the story, such as why the character was even in the house to begin with.
Eugene Film Society is the organization responsible for the event. They pride themselves on being a grassroots film culture and cultivating a growing knowledge of visual literacy among local youth. Other events the Eugene Film Society holds are coming up in the spring, such as the 72-hour music video competition.
These events are not closed off to just students but to any production team willing to sign up. The Eugene Film Society will plan to bring back the 72-hour horror film competition again next October for the eighth year in a row.