‘The Rebels’ prepare for NRB 36-hour DV challenge
by Rachel Hunter
Four students. 36 hours. One short film.
It was the most intense challenge “The Rebels” had ever been given, but the four-member student film crew didn’t panic – instead, they prayed to God for guidance.
“We just said, ‘Don’t let us have a heart of hate – we don’t just want to win, to have a video that wins,” Matthew Miller, a senior film major, said. “No, we want to have a heart of creativity. We want to go in and make a film that we can be proud of, that tells a convicting story, that an audience can connect with and cause them to think.”
The Rebels is a crew consisting of Cornerstone University film majors: Matthew Miller, director; Nathaniel Porter, cinematographer; Crystal Sherbondy, audio engineer; and Katelyn Fox, actor and first assistant director. They competed against five other teams during a 36-hour digital video challenge, which was held at CU Jan. 20-22.
The instructions were simple: produce a short film within a 36-hour timeframe that exemplifies John 3:19-21, incorporating both an OCD character and a ceramic mug in the storyline. So, with five pizzas, boxes of cereal and ample amounts of coffee at their side, The Rebels – as well as the other teams – plunged into the task ahead of them, knowing they’d be using all of their available time to write, shoot, produce, edit and export their short 4-7 minute film about life’s choices.
The Rebels’ film showcased maturity and excellence in storytelling, according to Kathleen Sindorf, an associate professor of communication and media studies.
“It’s not just a happy go lucky story. You know something dark, sinister element coming up,” Sindorf said. “But, I liked how they ended it with the sunrise coming up, as a symbol of hope.”
According to Sindorf, the communications and media studies department organized the contest in order to prepare (and offer an all-expenses paid trip for) their students to compete at the national 36:DV competition Feb. 17-20, which is held annually at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tenn. The top prize at this competition is $1800 in cash and prizes.
After seeing this contest in action for several years, Sindorf expected the CU students to be like the ones she had seen – anxious, or at least very competitive. But, Miller said, they had no reason to be uptight, because of the level of deep-abiding trust they had in one another.
“I’ve never worked with a group, in which I am directing, and, yet, I can take 20-30 minutes and take a nap, just trying to recoup and recover, and trust that the others will carry on, continue filming it even when I’m not there – and they’ll do it just as good as I could’ve done it,” he said.
Now, only a week before the competition, The Rebels are meeting with advisers, planning strategies to decrease their inefficiencies. They know they didn’t do everything perfectly during the in-house competition and want to eradicate any weaknesses possible before they enter in another competition.
Even still, their motivation isn’t fed by the desire to win. They just want to produce a good story, one they can take pride in even after the contest is over. “
I’d be happy if we go down and win, but I’d be just as happy if we make something great and I am able to put it on my demo reel to show people,” Porter said. “I don’t really care if we win or lose.”