“The Wendigo” short film took first place in the Hillsdale College Film and Production Club’s 48-hour film contest.
Sophomore Dan Grifferty said “The Wendigo” was inspired by a Native American myth about cannibalism.
“It’s kind of like a Native American vampire,” Grifferty said. “We decided to do something a little thematically unique.”
The Hillsdale College Film and Production Club held a 48-hour film contest on March 1, in which five teams had 48 hours to record and edit a short film. Each film had to be between one and seven minutes and had to be about mythology.
More than 20 students gathered at the Club’s film festival on March 5 to watch the films that had been created during the contest.
A panel of three faculty members – Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Public Address Ethan Stoneman, Distinguished Associate Professor of History D.G. Hart, and Associate Professor of Politics Kevin Slack – judged the films on a 50 point scale, where each team could earn a possible 150 points.
“The Wendigo” earned 122 points from the judges and a $50 gift card prize. Sophomore Tom Southwell directed and wrote “The Wendigo,” while Grifferty contributed to the writing, and sophomore Ethan Lehman edited the film.
The goal of the film, Grifferty said, was to get at the core of what the Wendigo myth is about.
“It’s this idea of what food looks like when it’s perverted and what the sin of gluttony looks like,” Grifferty said.
The film concludes with the Wendigo, played by Grifferty, chomping away at raw meat. Southwell said the goal of the final scene was to get a reaction from the audience.
“Some reaction was better than no reaction,” Southwell said. “We didn’t want to make something mediocre. We thought, ‘Let’s just get a close-up shot of a dude eating raw meat.’”
Even with its shocking conclusion, Stoneman said he liked the genre and technicality of “The Wendigo.”
“I like things that are horror or comedy,” Stoneman. “But technically, it was put together really well. The cinematography, the sound, the acting, and the plotting.”
Stoneman said he awarded the second place winner, “Echo,” the same number of points. The second place winner was decided by an audience vote, but it happened to correlate with the judge’s voting.
Directed by sophomore Gabe Listro, “Echo” earned a total score of 119 points from the judges and a $15 gift card prize. Senior Shiloh Carozza, an actress in the film, said she and Listro originally had the idea of making the film about Ovid’s myth of Echo and Narcissus.
“As our thought process developed, it became more about Echo,” Carozza said. “Echo falls in love with Narcissus, but she is cursed so she can’t speak, and she’s never able to communicate verbally her love.”
Stoneman said he didn’t expect to be as entertained as he was with the films.
“I thought they were all really professionally done,” Stoneman said. “The cinematography in all of them was great. The plotting with a lot of them was pretty impressive, and they were all entertaining.”
“The Edge of the World,” directed by sophomore Maggie Ryland, earned 115 points. “Asphodel,” produced by senior Jordyn Pair, earned 105 points. “The Labyrinth,” produced by junior Samuel Musser and sophomores Collin Lehmann, Michael Whitman, and Jack Hall earned 102 points.
Vice President of the Film and Production Club senior Lydia Reyes said she was most impressed with the originality of each of the films and thought the contest went well.
“This is going to bring a lot of attention to the club,” Reyes said. “I’m really excited about it.”
Reyes added that the club is hoping to collaborate with different clubs and organizations on campus to organize more events.
On March 21, Reyes said the Film and Production Club is partnering with the Dow Journalism Program to hold on a viewing of “Moynihan,” a biopic about Patrick Moynihan in Lane 125 at 6 p.m. There will be a lecture and Q&A with Joseph Dorman, the writer, director, and producer of “Moynihan.”