Jaclyn Vander Waal—Staff Writer
A prop, a genre, a character, and a line of dialogue.
In 48 sleepless hours, these four elements are fused together to create a five to eight minute film.
Since 2006, the Prairie Grass Film Challenge has encouraged people — from high school to post-college age — to tap into their creativity for two days each year. Typically, the screening and awards ceremony for the film challenge occur towards the middle of February. This year, due to COVID-19, the PGFC has been cancelled so that its 15-year anniversary can be celebrated in person.
This, however, has not stopped Dordt University students from developing their film-crafting skills.
Emily Broersma, a sophomore digital media production major, is organizing her own film challenge this year called Cine-Rupture, considering the PGFC’s cancellation. Last year, she enjoyed how the PGFC provided the opportunity to grow her skills alongside her friends in a nonacademic setting.
“I just like the creative process of it and challenging your mind to think outside the box,” Broersma said.
Mark Volkers, a digital media production instructor at Dordt and founder of the PGFC, is thrilled to see his students creating new opportunities to make films.
“There was a lot of disappointment here,” Volkers said. “We left a vacuum, and people are figuring out ways to fill the vacuum.”
Broersma does not plan to sit on the sidelines for this event. She will form a group and film alongside a few other groups that have committed to participate in Cine-Rupture.
“I like being behind the scenes and knowing how something came together that everyone enjoys,” Broersma said.
Although similar to the PGFC in its guidelines, Broersma said Cine-Rupture is not meant to be a competition. This event functions simply for the pleasure of making films with friends.
Each team will be given a prop and genre from a randomizer at 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15. The films must be submitted by 4 p.m. Friday, Feb.19.
Noah Deist, senior digital media production major and director of last year’s PGFC Best of College film, plans to participate in Cine-Rupture.
“I like storytelling,” Deist said. “There are a lot of powerful messages that you can get across through stories. I love the whole process of video making and editing and coming up with ideas and putting them together.”
Deist felt the PGFC’s cancellation was unwarranted since most of the interactions during the filmmaking process are with the people he already spends his life with on a daily basis. Yet, he understands people from many states participate, which could make filming difficult for some groups during the COVID-19 era.
Broersma thinks part of the fun of filmmaking is sitting down and enjoying the movies after they are completed. The community is invited to join the screening scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, in SB 1606 of the Science and Technology Center.
As for next year, Volkers encourages everyone — even non-digital media majors — to consider taking part in the PGFC and to “stay tuned” for unique twists that will occur for the 15-year anniversary.
He references an old saying that best sums up the joy of this challenge: “Films are never done; you just abandon them.”
“When you have a very strict 48 hours, it’s a unique opportunity to have a blast with your friends, and then you’re done,” Volkers said. “And you move on with your life.”