Engineering students prevail in annual 24-Hour Film Race

Larson Seaver


Photo by Olivia Qualls

This is Film Club's third year hosting the 24 hour film race, sponsored by digital media professors Joe Brown and Kris Holodak. This year's criteria was the superhero genre, a toy military figurine and the line, "I can't believe you said that to me." Three teams competed for first place.

A group of five sophomores in the College of Engineering and one student from the University of Illinois won the Film Club’s 24 hour film race this weekend.

The first-place winning team, self-named ‘Sony Vegas,’ included students Michael Makdah, Danny Panosh, Anna Santilli, Jeremy Horky, Austin Bielek and Evan Rabiela (of the University of Illinois.)

Their film, titled “The Badger Exposé,” followed a mockumentary-style interview with a washed-out Wolverine copycat called The Badger who confronts his mortal enemy, The Golden Gopher. The first-place prize was a film clapboard for each winning student.

This was Film Club’s third year hosting the race, sponsored by digital media professors Joe Brown and Kris Holodak. The event includes three criteria for all submitted films: a surprise genre, props and lines, all of which must be used in the 3-5 minute short film. This year’s criteria was the superhero genre, a toy military figurine and the line, “I can’t believe you said that to me.” Three teams competed for first place.

Makdah, a sophomore in the College of Engineering and the star actor of the film, said the group’s work was “on the fly” and they didn’t do a lot of preparation. He believes most people don’t realize what they can do until they’re presented with the opportunity to make a film like this, where all the “crazy ideas” come to fruition.

“I think the fact that this was a twenty-four hour race made us use our creative juices,” Makdah said. “There’s certain aspects of engineering where we can be creative, in terms of design, but stuff like (filmmaking) is not usually something that a lot of engineers do.”

The race aims to boost creativity among students, and now Brown and Holodak said they are trying to rebrand Film Club to appeal to students outside of the College of Communication. They said most people on campus associate filmmaking with communication students, leading students of other colleges to feel excluded from the event. They said they want other students to feel creative in STEM fields, and take out-of-class time to find those creative outlets.

“I want the engineers to occasionally be creative. I want the nursing students to occasionally be creative,” Holodak said. “And I want them to feel like there’s an outlet for their creativity.”

Brown, who created the club a few years ago, said he wants students to get more involved with filmmaking on campus.  He said he plans on making several film projects with Film Club throughout the school year, including commercials, short films and documentaries. As of now, Film Club has no student E-board or club officers, but Brown is looking to build the club with students who aspire for a career in digital media and the film arts.

“We want Film Club to be what the students want it to be,” Brown said. “It’s not about what (the professors) want it to be. We do want to be involved  we want to work with students if we have some ideas, and maybe we’ll implement them. But really, we want students to say, ‘Hey, can we go to Sundance?'”