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
Director of Photography
Louis Ziob B.A Film / Filmmaking
Mia Francoso MFA / Filmmaking & Producing
Antonio Bernal - Certificate Film / Filmmaking
Costume & Makeup Effects
Eric JB Certificate in Film / Filmmaking
Antonio Bernal Certificate in Film / Filmmaking
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