Team UNCA Takes Home First Ever “Asheville Spirit” Award at 48 Hour Film Festival

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Team UNCA filming "Death Takes a Holiday" for the 48 Hour Film Project.

Team UNCA, a group of UNC Asheville faculty, students, alumni and friends, are used to winning at the 48 Hour Film Festival. Over the last decade, the ever-evolving team led by Senior Lecturer in Mass Communication Anne Slatton, has taken the challenge of writing, shooting, and editing an entire short film in just 48 hours and developed an award-winning strategy that succeeds year after year. This year the team’s film garnered the Audience Choice Award, Best Graphics, and the inaugural Asheville Spirit Award—an accolade created to recognize Team UNCA specifically for the Asheville-centric theme in their film, “Death Takes A Holiday.”

The action-packed weekend kicked off the night of Friday, June 15, 2018, when teams from all over Asheville randomly drew the genres their films must adhere to as part of the contest. Team UNCA drew “holiday,” and “horror,” and instead of picking just one, decided to combine their selected genres—just to keep things interesting.

“It is sometimes more fun to combine the two genres,” said Gabi Metzger, a senior mass communication student who served as second assistant director and production coordinator. “It does give it a little bit more of a challenge.”Anne Slatton, senior lecturer in mass communication, on the set of "Death Takes a Holiday."

This is on top of the challenge of writing an entire script Friday night, organizing equipment, actors, and the crew for a full day of film production starting bright and early Saturday morning, followed by a marathon all-night film editing session due on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Turn your film in late, and it’s out of the competition.

The films must also include three elements assigned at the kick-off; this year they had to feature a character named Brad or Brianna Pasteur, a dollar bill as a prop, and the line, “you forgot something.”

“I had such a fun time,” Metzger said. “It is crazy, but it’s also always so much fun. It’s such a rewarding experience to be able to know that you completely threw together an entire film in two days.”

“I really don’t have a lot of opportunities to work on a film set,” said Lindsay Miller, also a senior mass communication student. “I really just wanted to put myself out there and take on a job, even if it was running around changing lights, just so I could have the experience of it.”

Miller started out as a production assistant, but over the course of the weekend her job evolved into assistant script supervisor—and occasional dog-wrangler.

“The most rewarding part was just being on a set like that, having that experience,” Miller said. “I don’t think I would have gotten that experience until senior seminar.”

Miller and Metzger are both graduating before the next 48 Hour Film Project, but Metzger encourages students who haven’t experienced the weekend-long filmmaking marathon to give it a try next year.

“Definitely do it,” Metzger said. “But be prepared to not really sleep and be completely exhausted. By the end of the day everyone’s fried; but it’s always so much fun, it’s such an exciting thing to do.”

Death Takes A Holiday from Mass Communication - UNCA on Vimeo.