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DSU filmmakers win Prairie Grass Film Challenge

February 28, 2016

The task was to create an entertaining film in 48 hours, and the Dakota State University Lights, Camera, Action Film Club and DSU Film and Cinematic Arts students took on that challenge. The result was the "Best of Show: College" award for their film titled, “Feel My Desire,” in Dordt College's "10th Anniversary of the Prairie Grass Film Challenge." The DSU students discovered they were the winners at the awards ceremony held on Feb. 19.

Joseph Staudenbaur, associate professor of the film and cinematic arts program at DSU, not only taught the students about the discipline, he also attended the awards ceremony with them. Staudenbaur highly praised the students, “They are a great team that worked hard and fully deserve this award.”

“Making a short film is never easy; it takes time, effort and teamwork,” said the DSU Lights, Camera, Action Film Club President, Darian DeVries. “When you only have 48 hours to complete a film, you have to put in your maximum effort and use optimal teamwork. Everything went smoothly this year because of how much we all put in to making this short film and we all knew what roles we had.”

The comedy film, “Feel My Desire,” begins at a local coffee shop with Jackie “JJ” Jeets (Cole Peterson) and his girlfriend, Jo (Lauren Yerigan), breaking up because of his behavior towards Jo. She tells him that “if he wants to control women so badly, he should become a director.” That is where the film truly gets entertaining. Jackie decides to take on a director’s role, and holds auditions for females, and the story takes on an interesting twist from there. It is a light-hearted and entertaining eight minute film.

Creating films is not new for the DSU cinematographers, but the challenging part about the Prairie Grass Film Challenge is that the participants only learn the criteria for their film submissions 48 hours before the film is due. All of the filming and writing for the five to eight minute film must be completed during the 48-hour competition, including the script writing.

This year, the criteria for the films was given to the filmmakers at 4 p.m. on Thursday, January 14 via an email stating the four specific elements: the genre, the props, the line of dialogue and characters. Knowing that information, the DSU filmmakers went into action.

“We started scripting right away at 4 p.m. and were done quickly,” stated DeVries.

On Friday morning, they took their film gear all over Madison, and began editing at 7 p.m. Friday evening.

“After seeing our finished film for the first time Saturday morning, I knew we were winners, even if we didn't win an award,” DeVries continued. “It’s one thing to make a short film, but to do it in only 48 hours really shows how far we've come as film students.”

Besides the time constraint, the other rules for the Prairie Grass Film Challenge are that participants be high school age or older and be volunteers. Also, the only work the participants can do before the start of the competition is scouting locations, recruiting talent, lining up music and getting releases signed.

The DSU students acting in the eight minute film include Cole Peterson, Lauren Yerigan, Tyler Boe, Ryan Willie, Mostafa Haque, Derek Hoefert and Joel Carmona-Rojes. DeVries, Craig Sanden, Mitchell Bouchard, Nolan Moser, Tiffany Sommer were crew members, as well as Willie and Yerigan.

For more information about the Prairie Grass Film Challenge and to view this year’s films, go to http://dordt.edu/cgi-bin/events/film_challenge/films.pl.