On Friday, the Student Events Team held its third annual film festival, Stomper’s Student Shorts, in Ostrander Auditorium for MNSU students who put together their own films.
This year, Landon Bresnahan won first place for his piece, The Singing Souls for Paradise. Andrea Hill won second for her fake humorous show, and Luke Larson received the audience choice award for his film Paper Plane.
Bresnahan, a marketing major, intended for his film to be a mystery or suspense. He said his idea of having two sister bells also helped moved the idea along that they have a spiritual connection and can cause teleportation.
“The ideas for the sister bells also came about from trying to figure out a logical way for the characters to find each other again towards the ending of the film,” Bresnahan said. “Also, I was thinking of a way to make the title make sense, by having two sister bells the film could be named the singing ‘souls’ instead of just ‘soul.’”
It took one full week of shooting and two weeks of editing for Bresnahan to make his movie since the time period presented its own challenges.
“Many of the days we filmed in negative ten-degree weather,” he said. “Many times we had to stop filming to protect the camera from getting damaged by the falling snow or rain.”
Bresnahan said that his first place award had surprised him and hopes to enter another film next year.
Hill, a psychology major and sophomore, had chosen to direct a short film similar to the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America because she said she watches them religiously, along with her friends Alex and Michelle, the other two actors involved in the comedic sitcom.
“We made the film basically for our friends and then submitted it to the festival just for fun and to get some feedback too,” Hill said.
Their collaboration also came from their chemistry in having been friends for over a year.
“We always had this great chemistry telling stories, chatting, gossiping, and playing off each other, so the idea came last semester that we should make a podcast or something of the sort, and share it with our friends,” Hill added. “We were always told that we need to make a radio show or something because of our personalities and the things we do.”
All three of them had entered the short film as a joke so winning second place shocked them.
“But when we won we were just so happy that people got a laugh out of it…that’s all we wanted,” Hill said.
Larson had formerly directed a movie called The Self with his neighbor, who is living in Thailand this year. When Larson saw the poster for the short film, he got the idea for his Paper Plane film and asked his neighbor if he would be interested in producing a movie with scenes from both Thailand and Minnesota.
“But then I thought, ‘Why stop at two countries?’” Larson said.
Originally, he had planned for his plot to center around an art piece found in an attic and to be taken to an art curator. But before that could happen, the protagonist’s roommate ended up taking the work to another country by accident. Larson also realized how quickly the March 13 deadline was approaching so he settled on the simple plot of paper planes traveling the world.
“Paper is accessible to everyone around the world and paper planes are naturally mobile objects,” Larson said.
It took him immense coordination, even with the people he said he has networked around the world with from his international travels and he contacted nearly everyone through Facebook.
“Naturally not everyone responded to the request, which I anticipated,” Larson said. “Probably under half the people I contacted actually produced a scene for the film.”
Saijal Bhakta, who became a board member for the Student Events Team last year, felt overjoyed when she saw the turnout this year. She had hoped for twenty more people, but this year surpassed her expectations and the count ended up being around 80.
“We’re trying to keep it every year and get students or filmmakers involved,” Bhakta said, “or people who just love making films or just wanted to get across a message or whatever they wanted to do.”
Bhakta also enjoys seeing what films the students make and said she cannot wait to see what surprises will come onscreen in Ostrander Auditorium next year.