Two teams of cinema production majors took second and third place in the National Religious Broadcasters’ 24-hour film competition in Nashville on Feb. 26. Competing against multiple Christian colleges, the eight students wrote, shot and edited short films within a single day.
Brandon Riddell, a senior, directed the second-place team of Gaby Gaduh, Paul Meyer and Emily Porter, all juniors. Mark Kamibayashiyama, another senior, led the third-place team including junior Faith Boardman, senior Chantel Dewar and sophomore Marshall Hammer.
Although Riddell has acted in a 24-hour project before and participated in other time-pressured film projects, he said directing this type of film was a new experience for him.
“[I wasn’t] necessarily worried about functioning,” Riddell said. “It’s just different for me being a leader in this kind of environment.”
The competition began at 9 a.m. on Feb. 25, and teams had to turn in a finished short film by 9 a.m. on Feb. 26.
“You have to write, shoot, edit, export and hand in a finished short film in the next 24 hours,” Riddell said. “It’s really down to just scheduling it all out very tightly.”
When the competition began, the teams were given elements they had to include in their films. All the short films needed to include a theme of hope, a balloon and the line “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift from God, which is why we call it the present.”
“That’s the whole difficulty with a 24-hour film competition like this,” Riddell said. “You can’t write it beforehand.” In order to prep for this event, Riddell said he thought through character ideas that his team could easily stick into a story the day of the event. “It’s hard to really solidify anything,” Riddell said.
Additionally, Riddell tested the equipment they used before heading to the competition. He shot footage and put it through the process they eventually used for their film. His team also gathered music and sound effects ahead of time.
“When we get to post-production, we can just throw it all together,” Riddell said. All the films from the competition will be available for viewing on Facebook.
In addition to competing, the eight students attended the National Religious Broadcasters convention for the week. The convention is the largest Christian communication event that gathers Christian media makers from radio, television and film industries together for screenings, workshops and networking. Riddell said he was looking forward to seeing who he would meet at the convention.
Speakers at the convention included Attorney General William P. Barr; Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee; Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; former Arkansas governor and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee; Dr. Jay Sekulow, counsel to President Donald Trump; actor Kevin Sorbo; Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias and film directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, who directed films such as Unplanned and God’s Not Dead.
The convention ran from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28. BJU students have competed in the 24-hour competition in the past, placing first in 2018 and second in 2017. North Greenville University, another South Carolina-based Christian college, placed first in the competition.