SFI Students Awarded “Best Student Film” in 72 Hour Horror Film Race

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A group of students from Seattle Film Institute were recently awarded “Best Student Film” and named among the Top 15 finalists in a recent international 72 Hour Horror Film Race. Their film “Gratuity” was an 11-minute psychological thriller well suited for the horror genre.

Competitors were given four requirements: make a film on the theme of “vengeance,” include a scene of someone answering a phone, use a key as a prop, and complete the challenge in under 72 hours.

“I think I am addicted to film racing now,” said Eufemia Scarfone, the film’s director who is pursuing her MFA in Filmmaking and producing. “It really challenges the limits of what you think is creatively possible.”

Scarfone explained availability of shooting locations, budget for wardrobe, and their actors strengths largely dictated their plot line. They decided on a psychological thriller featuring a large cast but little dialogue because they had many actors available but writing and shooting elaborate dialogue would have been too time consuming.

The most difficult part of the project, they said, was coming up with a script. Writing an interesting and unique plot that met all of the requirements in such a short amount of time was no small task.  

“There's no time for rewrites or polish,” Scarfone said. “You just have to do your best and have actors who can bring the characters to life without a lot of time for character development.”

She also mentioned the lack of sleep that comes with a contest in that timeframe as a challenge, especially considering the contest took place during the last week of the quarter and they had projects and finals to deal with.

Scarfone and her team were proud of the contest results. While there is always room for improvement, she said, they were very honored to be considered in the top 15 films, especially since this was their  first film race, and first time working together on a non-school-assigned project.

Some members of the team will be taking on a 48-hour film challenge in July, to put their skills to the test in an even shorter time frame. Scarfone said this type of contest is a great creative challenge that will serve the team members throughout their careers as students and professionals.

“This was a great experience” she said. “ Even if we hadn't won, it was good to be challenged creatively. We learned a lot that we can apply to any kind of production in the future.”

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Gratuity including:


Brennen Hinkle  BA Film / Filmmaking

Wyatt Ott   BA Film / Filmmaking

E.K. Scarfone MFA / Filmmaking & Producing

Brandon Van   BA Film / Filmmaking


E.K. Scarfone

Director of Photography

Louis Ziob   B.A Film / Filmmaking

Art Director

Mia Francoso MFA / Filmmaking & Producing


Brennen Hinkle

Camera Assistant

Antonio Bernal - Certificate Film / Filmmaking

Costume & Makeup Effects

Mia Francoso

Eric JB Certificate in Film / Filmmaking


Wyatt Ott

Antonio Bernal  Certificate in Film / Filmmaking


Eric JB

Nicky Smit

Sound Designer + Video Editor: Nicky Smit

Titles/Credits: Eric JB


Bill Johns (lead), Instructor in Acting

Elana Minasse-Piha - Acting student

Robert L. Butler, Former acting/producing student 

Seth Manzel, MFA (Filmmaking & Producing) student, standing in for an acting role.

Blog images by Antonio Bernal​