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The Scarlet & Black

7-Day Film challenge sparks alternate filmmaking scene

Michael Cummings, Community Editor

The next Steven Spielberg could be on this very campus. Tonight, Feb. 26 marks the showing of this semester’s Seven-Day Film Challenge where Grinnellians can watch films created over the course of the past week by their fellow students.

Sophiyaa Nayar ’17 created the film challenge two years ago when she decided to add some fire to Grinnell’s meager film scene.

“I noticed that Grinnell doesn’t have much of a film [scene],” Nayar said. “There’s not much opportunity for filmmaking except Tithead, so I thought it would be kind of nice to have a smaller, more intimate space where people can come in and show longer films, some serious, some comedies, and then get people a little more excited about film.”

This semester, Nayar has handed off the reins to Artis Curiskis ’18, the organizer of this event.

“She’s running the ‘Lord of the Flies’ play and she asked if I could run it. I thought it was a lot of fun when I participated in it,” Curiskis said.

The challenge itself doesn’t have many rules. The biggest requirement involves props borrowed from the Theatre Department.

“I set up an array of 15 props from which the participants can choose whichever one they want, and they have to include [that prop] in their film,” Curiskis said.

The props are distributed exactly seven days prior to the start of the event, giving participants a week to create their films. Other than that, the rules are simple.

“Keep the film under ten minutes and have fun,” Curiskis explained.

This semester, seven groups are participating in the challenge. Students enter the challenge for many reasons.

“I’m doing it because it is fun, and it’s what I want to do with my life. I want to make movies,” said Joseph Knopke ’19, a member of one of the groups taking on the challenge. “Our prop … is a peg leg, so we’re making a film about Craig Pistorius, Oscar Pistorius’ lesser-known brother.”

The event is expected to go well, as Nayar recalls the challenge’s great success over the last three semesters.

“We’re always overpacked. Lots of people, lots of excitement. I don’t think it’s gone bad any of the semesters it has happened,” Nayar said.

Nayar fondly remembers films created in past semesters.

“I think my favorite one was this one called ‘Peter Piper Panic,’ which is kind of just this man in a green suit on a chase … It was this really funny, weird, strange thing,” Nayar said. “There was another one about falling in love with Leonardo DiCaprio. Somebody Photoshopped or placed Leonardo DiCaprio photos on top of random bodies. It was just hilarious.”

For Nayar, the Seven Day Film Challenge has a special place on campus.

“I think it gives people a springboard to start thinking about filmmaking,” Nayar said. “It gets people thinking in that sort of sense, which Grinnell didn’t do before.”

Curiskis hopes that the challenge will become the first of many new film-related events on campus.

“I think there could be more opportunities for students to create more film-production environments at Grinnell, and that there are plenty of resources on campus,” Curiskis said.

The free and public film viewing will be held Friday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wall Theatre Lab in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

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