SUNY Oswego Panic Film Festival participants proud of works despite short time frame

OSWEGO, N.Y – SUNY Oswego’s Panic Film Festival invited students to form groups and develop a short horror film in 48 hours.

Some participants had mixed feelings about the short time frame.

Sean Campbell, a first-year SUNY Oswego student and film major, felt that the timing made filming difficult. 

“It’s only 48 hours,” said Campbell. “You know, watching back on it, I’m looking and I’m like, ‘I could have done this differently, it’s too late now,’ you know what I mean?”

Campbell makes films as projects for his classes, as well as personal skits at home, parodying shows like Chopped and Ghost Hunters. He enjoys filming even when it isn’t for an audience. When he does make portfolio pieces, though, he likes to take his time with them.

“If something were to go on my portfolio, I’d want to put more time into it,” said Campbell. “You know, longer than 48 hours. But I think that it’s definitely a great start, and you can always go back and readjust, and re-edit something you didn’t like at first.”

Another festival participant, third-year Ace Smith, agreed that the time frame was short.

“Personally I would prefer a little more time,” said Smith. “But considering everyone got 48 hours, it seems pretty fair.”

Although he hoped for more time, Campbell also said that it was fair, as all participants were on an even playing field.

“I think that it’s fair in a film festival,” said Campbell. “In the sense that, everyone has 48 hours, so you know that not everyone’s film is going to be perfect.”

In Campbell’s eyes, the film he made for the film festival can’t be put right into his student portfolio. However, it can be used as a starting point for a larger portfolio piece.

“I think that you can use these films that you make in 48 hours greatly,” said Campbell. “And I think it would look pretty good on a portfolio.”

On top of the 48-hour time limit, the film festival also requires the submissions to include interesting items and phrases.

“One that I did was saying the required line, which was the word ‘panic,’” said Smith. “And it was pretty easy, considering the subject matter of the film.”

The festival’s requirements acknowledged the genre of the festival, allowing students to use common elements of horror films.

“In one of them (requirements), you had to have an echo in your film,” said Campbell. “And that was really, really good relating to a horror film. You can have an echo, and we were able to put that in our film very easily.”

Although the requirements are meant to provide an extra challenge to participants, Smith felt that they were positive additions to their film.

“I’d say it kind of helped it,” said Smith. “You could incorporate them pretty easily into the film, and if not, it was a recognizable little challenge to overcome.”

All of the film submissions were screened on Oct. 26 in the Marano Campus Center auditorium, allowing students to see their completed films on a big screen.

Seeing their work on the screen was satisfying for the participants.

“It puts a smile on my face,” said Campbell. “We worked so hard on it, and made it look so real, and then actually seeing it– If we put it on a website, people actually would be like ‘wow this looks real.’”

After seeing the finished product, Smith, a graphic design major, was encouraged to continue creating his own films.

“The film fest really made me interested in doing more,” said Smith. “So I decided once it was over, maybe I should do more of this on my own free time.”

The festival was opened to the public, and many of the student’s family members watched the film’s either in person or online.

Catherine O’Brien, the younger sister of one of the film festival’s participants, was impressed by what her sister produced in such a short time frame.

“It’s pretty cool when I see a work done by my sister,” said O’Brien. “Sometimes I think, ‘Wow even I can do that,’ like it can’t be that hard, but it really is that hard.”

The film festival showcased nine films, featuring the work of over 20 student participants. At the end, awards were given out for various aspects of the films.