Eric Rowe – Staff Writer
The 2014 Prairie Grass Film Challenge, in which contestants write a script, film, produce and edit an original short movie in only 48 hours, will culminate in the awards gala at the B.J. Haan auditorium at 8 p.m. on Feb. 21.
To begin the event, free screenings of the films start at 5:30 p.m. in various locations in the campus center and classroom building. The awards ceremony will follow.
“We’re hoping for a good community turnout,” Digital Media professor and film challenge organizer Mark Volkers said.
The organizers of the Prairie Grass Film Challenge have enjoyed preparing the awards gala in the past, but this year they brought in technical theatre major Jessica McCarty as the show producer.
The idea of having a producer is to relieve the pressure and let the organizing committee focus on the awards and big picture of the competition, rather than the details of organizing a stage production.
McCarty is in control of the look of the stage as well as coordinating the technical equipment needed. The awards gala will integrate multiple screens and video clips.
“Even I am not sure how it’s supposed to look yet,” Volkers said.
McCarty is preparing the script and the video interludes.
“Megan Kaiser is helping with a lot of the film editing and clip montages,” McCarty said. “We’ve got some surprises.”
As in the past, Professor Volkers will be the emcee for the evening.
“Since he’s been here since the inception of Prairie Grass,” McCarty said, “we thought that he should continue doing it.”
As in the past, The Prairie Grass Film Challenge will give awards for the best film in each age category: high school, college, and post-college. This year, there is also an overall best of show award: the “Dordty Award.” The people’s choice winner will be determined after a 10-day voting period following the awards ceremony.
Senior Mark Dadisman has been involved with a film challenge team for the last four years. Dadisman started with a cameo his freshman year. After his scene, he hung around and helped out with production. This year is the first time he is a part of the production team.
“I am looking forward to watching ours along with everyone else’s,” Dadisman said of the films.
Prairie Grass Film Productions is Dordt College’s production company. Its purpose is to provide the opportunity for students to work for real clients and to be able to put a real production company on their résumés.
“We operate it under the roof of Dordt College,” Volkers said, “but it’s one foot in, one foot out.”
Along with the film challenge, Prairie Grass Productions has attempted to host a snow derby with a snow sculpture competition, but they have never had the volume of snow required.
“If we suddenly started getting snow, we’d love to resurrect it,” Volkers said. “We’d love to have an event for every weekend in February.”
This desire to inspire students during one of the coldest and bleakest months of the year has been the driving force for the now traditional film challenge. The Prairie Grass Film Challenge has become something to look forward to every year.
“I love Prairie Grass,” said freshman Kyle Fosse. “You can quote me on that.”