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Prairie Grass Film Challenge

By Kaylee Schuermann

Nathaniel Jordan (left), Mitchell Keeran (middle) and Bela Ruiz (right) at the Prairie Grass Film Challenge

Waldorf students traveled to Dordt College on Friday, February 22 to see their production and other short films for the 2019 Prairie Grass Film Challenge.  

In mid-January, Mitchell Keeren, Jadan Smith, Bela Ruiz, Kaylee Schuermann, Katie Rodriguez, Kyle Ennis, Nathaniel Jordan, Mandi Wright, Rakailla Pauley, Stross Newcom and Jenna Miller gathered to begin working on the project.

In the Prairie Grass Film Challenge, participants only had 48 hours to make their script, film and edit their short film, and finally submit it.

At the start of the 48 hours, all teams received an email with criteria for their film, including a name, line of dialogue, prop and genre they must use and after that, everything is fair game.

Waldorf’s team, WalTV, quickly knocked everything out in less than the 48-hour time limit and got their romantic comedy short film, “The Romance Language,” submitted.

“Given that the time we had was short, everything fell into place,” said Keeran, the director. “I, luckily, had a cast that had great chemistry, Jadan and Kyle (two of the lead roles) proved they were natural actors both on stage and in front of a camera, and I just think everyone proved their worth in this process.”

After this, their hard work paid off when the film made it through the two rounds of judging. Teams that made it through both rounds had their short film presented last Friday at Dordt College in Iowa.

Teams were allowed to come see their own and each other’s films that day. The films were shown on a schedule, allowing teams to go from room to room to see other 48-hour films.

After the teams got the chance to watch some of the films, they made their way to the awards ceremony. Awards were given for the best of each category: high school, college, post-college, and best of show.

Although WalTV did not get an award, they are all proud of their hard work and their finished product.

“I really enjoyed the process of creating the film as well as attending and getting to see many other great films in comparison,” Keeran said. “Definitely inspired me to up my game,” he added.

“I love the experience,” Ruiz said. “I continue to learn more through the whole process. Even at the film festival, you always learn something through those who won.”

WalTV got into this film challenge last year after the previous WalTV station manager, Danica Cheney, suggested entering the contest. They enjoyed the experience last year, so Keeran and Ruiz decided to do it again this year and hoped others would want to join in.

Ruiz is wanting to do the film challenge again next year, saying, “It really sets us up for a challenge. It also allowed for our work to be seen by not just our own university, but by others.”