Eckerd students use 60-second film contest to ‘Think Inside’

Published April 29, 2020
Screen capture from film

Senior Michael Dayton wanted to capture the strangeness of the interruption of our lives caused by the pandemic.

By the time you grasp what’s happening in Michael Dayton’s Hello, Goodbye, Until Next Time—the first-prize-winning entry in Eckerd College’s ThinkInside 60-Second Film Challenge—it’s over, and you’re left with a sinking feeling. That’s by design.

“A nonhuman entity doesn’t often disrupt the entire globe in such a short period of time,” said Michael, a senior visual arts and film studies student from Plymouth, Minnesota. “I wanted to briefly capture the strangeness of the massive [COVID-19 pandemic] interruption we continue to adapt to, the uncertainty we face, and a timeline where a situation initially feels like a joke but quickly becomes menacing.”

Shortly after campus closed, the Film Studies discipline launched the contest to give students a creative outlet. Entries were accepted through April 19, and winners were awarded $250 for first prize, $150 for second and $75 for third.

It was just the kick in the pants Joanna Gaspar needed to exit her rut and win second place with Quarantine Turned Us into Artists. “I decided to enter the contest because, as explained in my video, I felt that I was being unproductive. This was a great way to get my creative juices flowing and do something I’m passionate about,” explained Joanna, a sophomore interdisciplinary arts and sociology student from São Paulo, Brazil. “I kept seeing social media influencers tell the public about ways to be productive. It started to make me feel inadequate. Finally, I saw one post saying that being unproductive during quarantine is okay and that everyone is going through some intense changes right now. I wanted to film the process of me learning to be okay with taking time to just breathe during quarantine.”

Inspired by the 60-second film challenge of No Film School, an online community of creators who rely on one another for tips and tricks instead of formal film school training, Eckerd’s film studies faculty put out the call to all Eckerd College students to make a short film in any genre with an important public safety caveat.

“At Eckerd, we usually ask you to Think Outside, but now that campus is closed, we want to continue to connect through film from wherever you are,” wrote Christina G. Petersen, Ph.D., the Christian Nielsen Associate Professor of Film Studies. “It can be any genre, just don’t leave your home to make it.”

Stefan Anthopoulos, a sophomore marine science student from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, drew on the everyday comedy of life for his third-place-winning entry, Frozen Meat.

“Filmmaking is a process in which I am always learning new techniques, skills and processes,” Stefan said. “I want to create content that people can relate to and enjoy watching. Making a film in under 60 seconds is a big challenge for a filmmaker, and to receive recognition for my work inspires me to continue growing as a filmmaker.”