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Westminster Broadcasting students compete in 48-hour horror film project

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Posted on Friday, October 22, 2021

This fall, Westminster College broadcasting students got a hands-on filmmaking experience by participating in the annual Pittsburgh 48-Hour Horror Film Project that challenges teams to research, shoot and edit a short film in a single weekend.

Students in Kandice Hartner’s Single Camera Video Production course divided into two teams and headed to Pittsburgh on Oct. 1 to draw categories for the film competition, a scary twist on the original 48-Hour Film Project. From there each team had 48 hours to pull together their horror films before submitting them for judging.

“It Comes at Night,” selected from the horror category “Creepy Doll,” tells the story of a group of friends who enter an abandoned building and discover chaos. Filmed in Hillside Hall on Westminster’s campus, the team was led by sophomore Marcus Tokar of New Wilmington, Pa., and included first-year students Brittany Marburger of Evans City, Pa., Jalen Douglas of Walkertown, N.C., Taron Wilson of Sumter, S.C., and Ralph Branchedor of Naples, Fla.; and sophomores Ryan Thibault of Glenshaw, Pa., and Dale Sizemore of Irving, Texas.

“The Figures,” chosen from the “Sci-Fi: Invasion” category, centers around an alien invasion on campus. Filmed in the Westminster television studio, the team was led by junior Morgan Waag of Slippery Rock, Pa., and included first-year students Maurice Smith of Rivera Beach, Fla., and Mason Peck of Cary, N.C.; sophomores Maxwell Robinson of Pittsburgh, Savion Baker of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Andrew Tedesco of Elmsworth, Pa.; and senior Chris Powers of Erie, Pa.

With the help of a grant from Westminster College’s Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, the two filmmaking teams were able to purchase SD cards, props and even groceries for their teams.

“We would not have been able to afford all of these things if it were not for the grant,” Tokar said, adding that the funding allowed them to focus on the creation of the film by purchasing supplies ahead of time.

Tokar and Waag said Hartner, lecturer in the School of Communication, guided them through the filmmaking process and urged them to apply for the Drinko Center grant.

“Students in the Single Camera course get real life experience with deadlines during the 48-Hour Horror Film Project. They get to see what it’s like working in a team and now have an understanding of what goes into making a short film,” said Hartner.

“This has been my biggest and most complex group project I have ever participated in since it required collaborative skills, technical videography equipment and severe timelines,” said Waag. “This festival and research experience will help me focus on accountability, professionalism and working in a tight timeline with a large group of people.”

Both Westminster teams’ films will be featured in the Group A viewings at a screening held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, at the Tull Family Theater in Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available the day of the ceremony and can be purchased in house. An awards ceremony will be held from 8 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29.

Learn more about Westminster College’s School of Communication here.  For more information about the 48-Hour Horror Film Project, visit

Westminster’s Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research financially supports undergraduate research through various grants aimed at either the undertaking of research and creative projects at Westminster College or the external presentation and dissemination of research and creative works at conference.

For more information about the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, please contact Dr. Karen Resendes, director, at or visit