February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 34°F

Life & Culture

Students fall head over reels at 48 hour rom-com film festival

Three teams anxiously await the verdict. Three films, each written, shot and edited in under 48 hours, face judgment as the hosts tally their votes. An audience of about 30 people and a panel of two judges decide their fate.

The Rom Com 48 Film Festival, as the name suggests, challenged students to make the best 3–5 minute romantic comedy short in 48 hours. The festival was a charity event sponsored by the Ithaca College chapter of the Delta Kappa Alpha National Professional Cinema Fraternity, a coed organization that seeks to foster a relationship between students and film. The festival premiered at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in Textor 101.

Groups could be composed of no fewer than three people and no more than six. The entry fee for each group was $15. Of the total money collected, 60 percent of the funds raised went to SeriousFun Children’s Network, a nonprofit camp for children with terminal illnesses. Three films were submitted: “Lovubble,” which follows a girl who, newly unleashed from her bubble, has an allergy to everything; “Pizza,” an animation about a man who wants to break out of a friends-with-benefits relationship; and “Coffee for Two,” which depicts infatuation among three strangers. “Lovubble” claimed victory, receiving the approval of the judges and audience as well as a cash prize of $20.

Senior Hannah Basciano, president of Ithaca College’s sector of DKA, oversees the community outreach for the film organization as well as the organization’s charity efforts. She said DKA is more than just a professional organization: Its donations include SeriousFun and several smaller organizations.

“The other profits that we make throughout the semester doing, like, different fundraisers … go to different organizations,” Basciano said. “We’re doing a Relay for Life team, and we’ve already raised, like, more than a hundred dollars for that organization.”

Senior James Manton, DKA vice president, said DKA members recruited students through social media and word of mouth.

Manton said he hoped the cash prize, an element often lacking from competitions he has entered, would motivate students to participate, and he stressed the importance of the donations.

“Most of these contests I’ve been a part of, there’s an entry fee but no prize besides winning,” he said. “But most of the money is going to charity, and that’s the main goal.”

The festival attracted roughly 15 participants and about 30 audience members, including judges from outside and within the college. The panel consisted of senior Byron Bixler, the editor in chief of Filmic magazine; Mike Skvarla, the writer and editor for the Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival, who was ultimately unable to attend and whose vote was given to the audience; and Brett Bossard, the executive director of Cinemapolis.

Basciano said the inclusion of judges outside of the college was an important way to bridge the gap between the rich film community in the City of Ithaca and the eager population of film students at the college.

“We’re trying to get the community involved in the film festival,” she said. “We want to get the community involved by having judges that are out in the community and are doing cinema-type things in the community to … bridge the gap between Ithaca campus productions and community and people involved in community affairs.”

Alex Bird, a freshman film, photography and visual arts major, was a director on the team that produced the winning film, “Lovubble.” He said he faced several challenges, most prominently trying to film in busy areas, but with the limited time available to his group, they persevered.

The creativity that Bird and his partners exhibited was exactly what Manton said he wanted out of the event.

“I think that giving people limits is a good way to get them to be more creative, so that’s why it wasn’t, you know, just ‘Make a film,’ it’s ‘Make a romcom, be goofy with it,’” Manton said.

Manton said he hopes that with the success of the first festival, DKA will host another competition next year.

Basciano said the college was the perfect place to run the competition because the film community in both the college and the wider town of Ithaca is artistically strong.

“We’re kind of lucky because we have the infrastructure for a cinema community because we have all of the festivals that already happen,” Basciano said. “We have Cinemapolis. … It’s already there, and we’re just tapping into it.”

Jake Leary can be reached at jleary@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @jd_leary