• Department of Sociology
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Film and Media Studies
Features & Articles

Got a Minute?

A person sitting in the corner of a dark red room with a camera facing them
In September, the Center for Creativity kicked off a new One Minute Film Festival, a virtual event that included screenwriting workshops and audience voting and resulted in an online gallery of submissions and winners.

Believing that everyone has a story to tell and knowing that most people now have filmmaking tools in their pockets, the Center for Creativity created the One Minute Film Festival to give a platform for visual storytelling to anyone with an idea and a smart phone or digital camera.

“Telling a story in one minute is a challenge, but we were blown away by the range of genres and skills our OMFF filmmakers featured in their submissions,” said Erik Schuckers, manager of communications and programming at the Center for Creativity. “Their work demonstrated so clearly that you don't need expensive tech or elaborate sets or big casts to make compelling films. You can do it with a smartphone and a good story, and that's something we all have inside us. We're all storytellers.”

Following the launch, participants had until the end of October to write, shoot, edit and submit films. To support both filmmaking participants and potential entrants who wanted the festival experience but were not interested in creating a short film, the Center for Creativity also hosted a One-Page Screenplay Showcase and screenwriting workshops.

Social distancing guidelines required an especially creative approach using limited crews and remote collaboration, but the effects of the pandemic were apparent in participants’ submissions in other ways, as well.

Winners were announced in November. To view more films and read screenplay submissions, visit the festival’s website.

The warped perception of time

The festival’s audience choice winner was Aditi Sridhar’s “Procrastination.”

Sridhar, a second-year student studying film and psychology, said she was pretty organized and stayed away from procrastinating while in high school, but that changed with college, especially during the pandemic. “There was always this feeling that there would ‘be more time,’ especially because of the warped perception of time I think we all had during lockdown in March and into the rest of the summer,” she said.

Sridhar wanted to play on the experience in a lighthearted way. “We’ve seen so much negativity surrounding the election and the polarization within the country, and those are super relevant and important to talk about, but I found myself focusing on them a little too much, which got overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. This was a great outlet,” she said.

Taking advantage of the center’s screenwriting workshops proved a benefit for Sridhar, who ended up having a “meta moment” in that she procrastinated submission of the film itself.

“I pushed it off until the day before it was due, then filmed in the morning and edited until the crack of dawn,” she said. “Due to COVID restrictions, I was a one-man crew, managing the camera, directing, editing and feeding my roommate (and lead actress) tacos in appreciation. I’m super grateful to the Center for Creativity and look forward to future events.”

Definitely too much time

“The pandemic has left kids like us a lot of time (definitely too much) to contemplate the world around us and our lives,” said junior Jake Rucket, who, with second-year health services and sociology student Cristina Chew, contributed “Uncertainty” to the festival. The film was based on conversations the two had about feeling overwhelmed when it was difficult to plan three months in the future, never mind a career.

“The two of us would constantly have this conversation and I wanted to express all of these feelings of doubt, angst and uncertainty into a project for the film fest,” said Rucket, a film and media studies major who has been creating short films, including music videos, since high school. “Piling all of these complex emotions into one minute felt manageable. These feelings aren’t unique to the two of us.”

Rucket, too, reported getting a late start and producing his project quickly. “Having the freedom to make something from start to finish and finally seeing the end product is rewarding in itself,” he said, noting that he found he really likes writing screenplays and plans to keep making creative projects in the future.