Students Compete in Lake Placid 24-Hour Film Festival

Many movies take months to create, but we Marist students only needed a day to script, cast, shoot, and edit our short films.

This is the second year that Marist communication students have brought back an award to Poughkeepsie. Last year, team Marist won the fan favorite film, but this year, our team took the award for Best Actor at the 6th annual “Sleepless in Lake Placid” 24-hour film making competition in Lake Placid, N.Y. The event festival was held on June 14 and 15 this past summer. The other competing teams consisted of students from Syracuse University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, SUNY Purchase College, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Jon O’Sullivan (12’) handled all of the cinematography for Team Marist.

During the competition students Ryan Rivard, 12’, Jon O’Sullivan, 12’, Dean Silfen, 12’, and me, Nicholas Homler, 13’ produced an eight minute short film titled “The Wild”. We were accompanied by Marist College’s Radio/TV/Film professor Jeff Bass who volunteered to be our advisor.

The “Sleepless in Lake Placid” competition is part of the Lake Placid Film Forum, which is held each June in the city famous for the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics. Students are required to incorporate certain elements into their script -challenges for us film enthusiasts. This year, all submitted films needed to include dancing, taxidermy, and a scene incorporating the historic Palace Theater on Main Street. Our team was also required to quote two of six provided lines within the film. The two lines selected were “The thread broke” and “Life isn’t like the movies”.

Dean Silfen (12’) and Nick Homler (13’) tackled the lighting and audio for the flick.

The five student teams cast their films from a pool of actors, some directly from Lake Placid and others from as far south as New Jersey and New York City. The five films premiered in front of Lake Placid locals, movie theater owners, Sun Dance film directors, and other film students who attended the forum.

I personally thought that it is really amazing to see our personal work on a big screen.   Our film had the honor to premier in an authentic theater, with an actual audience, with a genuine applause. The whole experience was just a sample of what I someday hope to accomplish.

            After 24 hours of non-stop work, the event may seem more like a decathlon than a contest us film makers. The four of us were willing to sacrifice precious summer sleep for the ongoing experience. One team member Dean Silfen, a recent graduate of Marist, had this to say. “It was a great time; everyone is running on enthusiasm and fresh air! In just one day we filmed at motels, residential houses, parking lots, restaurants, and town squares. It’s just the day in the life of a professional production team.”

One of my favorite professors seemed to sum up the experience. Professor Jeff Bass commented, “It’s such a pleasure to go to beautiful Lake Placid and represent Marist in this competition.  Both years I’ve gone, it has been a good experience for the students and for me. I spend quite a bit of time talking with people who live locally, the organizers of the forum and the actors, some of whom have been participating for years.  They say good things about the films we’ve made, but perhaps more importantly, they mention the professionalism of the Marist students, the respect and courtesy they display.  It makes me proud to be their faculty advisor and speaks to the quality of our program and the type of students we attract. Even after the competition ends and the winners announced, there is a wealth of opportunities for students and teachers in panel discussions and film screenings.   I hope our association with the Lake Placid Film Forum continues for many years to come.”

The entire cast and crew of “The Wild”

I know that I will be participating in next 2013 competition. I’m easily willing to sacrifice another night’s sleep in exchange for another memorable Red Fox experience.

Nick Homler

Class of 2013

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