North Texas Daily

Film club to race against time this weekend

Film club to race against time this weekend

Film club to race against time this weekend
July 16
18:44 2014

Nicholas Friedman / Senior Staff Writer

Casting, directing and editing a film takes filmmakers months upon months, but participants in the UNT Short Film Club’s First Narrative Film Race will have just under three days to get the camera rolling.

Participants will form groups of two to five members Thursday night and head out to film in hopes of having their projects ready to be judged and screened by Sunday evening. Each film will have to work in a randomly selected line of dialogue, such as:

“There is no time.”

“Wait, wait. I can explain.”

“It’s not what it looks like.”

These are just some of the surprises that will be part of the race rules, said Wesley Kirk, club founder and recent UNT graduate. Films must be between 1 and 5 minutes, with credits lasting no longer than 30 seconds.

“It’s kind of a standard for film races,” Kirk said. “There is always some kind of weird element so that people don’t just turn in something they’ve already made. It helps to spark some ideas.”

Registration costs $5 per person and will take place at the kickoff party at 9 p.m. Thursday at Banter on the Square. Finished films will be screened at 8 p.m. Sunday in Radio, TV, Film, & Performing Arts Building, room 184.

In addition to the line of dialogue, groups will have to work in a specific color and prop, which will be selected at random.

Kirk is serving as co-president of the club with RTVF senior Bryan Greene, as part of a transition period that Kirk hopes will ease the group into the upcoming school year. This summer has been spent trying new events and ideas, beginning with last month’s documentary film race that drew nearly 100 participants and spectators to the Square for the final screening, Greene said.

“I think this race will serve to build off of that,” Greene said. “We had seven solid entries, and by the end of it, I was like, ‘Damn, I want to give everyone a prize.’”

One of the things that worked well was the decision to have three judges, each from a different aspect of Denton life, Greene said. One of those judges, RTVF assistant professor Eugene Martin, said he doesn’t necessarily look at which film is the best technically, but which is able to hold his attention and still feel complete.

“For me, it just comes down to what story works,” Martin said. “For a narrative race, it’s going to be looking at performances and seeing which film captures that and tells a story.”

Martin will return as one of the three judges for this weekend’s race, but the other two are being kept a secret until the night of the screening.

“The benefit in having secret judges is that no one can tailor their film to the judges’ tastes in order to win the Jury Award,” Kirk said.

Participants can win in two categories: the Audience Award and the Jury Award. The group that wins each category will receive a $100 Amazon gift card along with a trophy, but Greene said the prize is supplemental to the experience.

“We wanted to make it so that the prize was nominal,” Greene said. “This is about having something to put on your reel and share with your friends. This way, it’s much more natural than doing something for a grade.”

The UNT Short Film Club has also been working on three stand-alone films. One of those films, “Zombie in a Shed,“ was written by RTVF junior Drew Allen. It is now in pre-production and will premiere at an end-of-summer screening at a location to be determined.

“My job is to give our wonderfully talented cast and crew a script that not only excites them but also challenges them to come together and make something truly memorable,” Allen said.

Allen won’t be participating in this weekend’s race, but he will be attending the screening Sunday night.

“Events like these are sort of a trial by fire, and I absolutely love them,” Allen said. “It really puts your creativity to the test, and I think it can be a vehicle of growth for an up-and-coming filmmaker.”

Interested filmmakers who are not a part of Short Film Club but would like to participate in this weekend’s race can come to Banter for registration.

For more information on the Narrative Film Race or the UNT Short Film Club, visit the group’s official website,

Photo courtesy of the event’s Facebook page.

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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