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Westminster team earns 'Best Student Film' at 48 Hour Film Festival

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Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2023

A short film created by a team of Westminster College students for the fall 2023 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project was selected as the competition’s Best Student Film.

“Loose Grip,” produced by the team Give ’Em Props Productions from Kandice Hartner’s Single Camera Video class, earned the honor at the film project’s Best of Screenings and Awards Show on Oct. 29. The film was also nominated in the categories Best Use of Required Character and Best Leading Actor.

The annual contest challenges teams to research, shoot and edit a short film in a single weekend. For the fall competition, the genre themes fall into two categories: horror and science fiction. Teams were provided guidelines and required elements and given just 48 hours to craft, shoot, edit and submit a four- to seven-minute film. Teams chose from one of two genres and were given a required prop, a line of dialogue and a character.

The Westminster students selected the genre “parallel universe” and were required to use an adhesive bandage as a prop, include the line “I learned this secret long ago” in the script, and incorporate the character of skater Shawn Taker into the story.

“Loose Grip,” written by Alex Marinski and Joseph Matese, is the story of Shawn Taker, a skater who finds himself in a mind-numbing loop, leaving him to wonder which reality is the real one. Taker is portrayed by Marinski, a senior strategic communication and social media major from Washington, Pa., who also served as the film’s director. Matese, who also managed filming, is a junior strategic communication and social media major from Brookpark, Ohio. He received a grant from the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research to support this project.

Other members of the team included senior Daniel Thimons, an environmental studies major from Tarentum, Pa.; Anna McGinnis, a junior strategic communication and social media major from New Wilmington, Pa.; sophomores Rachel Summers, an environmental science major from Harmony, Pa., Emma Hull, a strategic communication and social media major from Lawrence, Pa., Bryce Carroll, a broadcasting and sports communication major from Sharon, Pa., Alex DiVitto, a creative media production major from New Castle, Pa., Noah Wolford, a creative media production major from Butler, Pa., and Morgan Reidy, a sophomore strategic communication and social media major from Pine City, N.Y.; and Silvio Corso, a first-year biology and environmental science major from Washington, Pa. Hartner served as producer of the film.

Hartner, lecturer in the School of Communication, said all the students in her Single Camera Video class spent weeks leading up to the competition learning camera techniques and building on the concept of storytelling.

“The students worked hard and every team had its challenges. This was a huge task and the hands-on learning that comes from a project like this creates unique experiences that last a lifetime,” she said.

The film can be found on the School of Communication YouTube page, along with all the other Westminster submissions.

Learn more about Westminster College’s School of Communication here.