At 11:30 last night, 14 teams assembled in Kirner-Johnson to receive instructions and materials for Hamilton’s seventh annual 24-Hour Film Festival. The rules are simple: Teams have 24 hours to script, shoot and edit an original piece. Every team chooses a genre by a lottery system (comedy, documentary, commercial, etc.); cries of despair ring out whenever another team snags a sought-after genre. After the genre distribution, teams immediately begin brainstorming, feverishly blurting out ideas and possibilities. Some teams leave the midnight meeting to head to bed, while others set out to shoot their pieces right away.
Twenty-four hours later, hundreds of friends and classmates pack into the Tolles Pavilion for the screening. Only 11 teams have made the deadline. All festival-goers receive a ballot to cast votes for their favorite piece. Creativity abounds. Entries include a gas-station horror film, a mockumentary about Kirkland College and a piece following the adventures of a beer-drinking superhero.
Some teams have borrowed school equipment for shooting, while others have used what was at their own disposal. But over the years, the results have become more sophisticated and more professional. This year’s results show a surprising jump in submissions shot on Digital SLRs and other high-definition recording devices.
The winning entry, Federal Undercover Campus Safety Unit, features two detectives bent on ending Hamilton’s Varsity Streaking Team. Dozer and Sasquatch, the submission produced by the author and his team, can be viewed at www.hamilton.edu/magazine/24hourfilms.