It was 5:00 p.m., Sept. 20, a Friday night. Despite this, the Lyons New Media Centre in Mills Memorial Library was full. The drone of conversation filled the room as students and McMaster alumni waited eagerly for the commencement of the second annual McMaster 24 Hour Film Festival.
The festival, co-founded by Chris McAllister and Greg Atkinson, was created as a response to the growing popularity of the Hamilton 24 Hour Film Festival. McAllister wanted to “bring [the level of competition] down to a level where everyone can participate and everyone can get involved.”
Mirroring the Hamilton 24 Hour Film Festival, its McMaster counterpart is a competition between teams of aspiring filmmakers. Each participating team must create a short film integrating three randomly chosen elements: a location, a line and a prop in the plot. These three elements are selected and announced at the beginning of the festival. Once declared, the groups are allocated 24 hours to create, shoot, edit and finally submit the short film.
Omar Siddiqui, a philosophy and political science major attending McMaster, described his participation in the festival as a stressful yet meaningful experience, saying “you learn how to deal with [the lack of time], you learn what worked, what didn’t and what you should spend more time on.”
Other participants also viewed their experience in a positive light. Spencer O’Connor and Ben Lee, both McMaster students majoring in humanities and multimedia, found the event to be, “stressful… but a good collaborative process.”
The only ‘non-McMaster’ team was made up of Westdale Secondary School students Spencer Reid, David Loukidelis, Blaise Petric and Michael Dismatsek. The team described their involvement in the festival as “a ton of fun,” despite facing some setbacks.
“During the night, we tried to film at a waterfall somewhere and the rain just started coming down and we had to flee the venue so that our equipment wasn’t damaged,” they said.
It was a memorable experience for Rob Dick, an alumnus of McMaster. He was aided by his children who were involved in creating “a track shot with rollerblade wheels and wood scraps that would roll down the railing to get a steady shot going up and down the stairs.”
The short films created by the teams will be critiqued depending on the level of “integration of the three elements… technical acumen… and [whether it] is entertaining to an audience,” stated Chris McAllister.
The ten highest-scoring films will be screened at a gala held in the Hamilton Art Gallery on Friday Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. There, a panel of five industry judges as well as the audience will evaluate the films and declare the victor of the festival.
The first festival, held in 2012, attracted over 16 teams. This year a total of 19 teams partook in the event, many of which participated in the festival the previous year as well as in the Hamilton 24 Hour Film Festival. 18 teams were composed of McMaster students and alumni, while one team was composed of students attending Westdale Secondary School.