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Students Awarded $10K To Produce Film On Loyalty

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:12

Update: The video can be seen here

Five undergraduates in the Boston College Film Department have become finalists in Hyundai’s “Lens of Loyalty” film contest, comprising just one of seven university teams awarded $10,000 to produce a short film.

As one of Hyundai’s 25 sponsored collegiate football programs, BC was offered the opportunity to enter the contest earlier in the year. John Michalczyk, a professor in the Fine Arts Department, first contacted the five students—Max Prio, CSOM ’16; Stephan Panico, A&S ’15; John Blanford, BC ’13; Adisa Duke, A&S ’15; and Nick Genovese, A&S ’16—earlier this year. “We had known each other and worked with each other before,” Prio said. “We just knew how passionate we were about film, and thought it would be a productive, creative team.”

In order to enter the contest, the team wrote a 500-word treatment outlining their idea for the film, then given the opportunity to execute it, and based on their piece, the five became one of only seven teams selected to win the $10,000.

In keeping with the contest’s theme of loyalty, the students created a story centered around lifelong loyalty to BC. “It’s the story of a Superfan at birth, whose parents bring him to his first BC football game, then we see him in his life as he grows older, and it comes full circle when he had his first child, and brings her to her first football game,” Prio said.

He described the whirlwind that followed their success. Although each of the finalists was granted 40 days after the announcement to create the film, the BC team ended up with closer to 20, after the process of obtaining the money and equipment. Additionally, because of the size of the Film Department at BC relative to that of some other universities, the team needed to rent some of the filming equipment.

But the situation has also stimulated a generosity the team hadn’t expected.

“I’ve made maybe 50 phone calls to different companies and told them what we’re doing, told them about the whole project, and they’ve really helped us in so many ways,” Prio said. “We’ve gotten discounts, we’ve had samples of software and equipment sent to us to use on the set.

“I can’t express how much gratitude I have for all the people who have come through for us. It’s really been a collaboration of so many minds. They understand that this is a huge opportunity for us, and we’re trying to make the best of it and really use everything in our reach to make it the best product we can make.”

At this point, the team is in the final stages of the process. “We’ve worked endlessly, over the past four weeks, but now we’re winding down,” Prio said last week. “We’re shooting to have a pretty close to picture-locked product close to the end of this week, and we’re trying to get it out to our composer as soon as possible so he can start brainstorming. Even when I’m not actually planning it, or shooting it, it’s always on my mind. So I definitely want to give him the time to let his creativity roam.”

Panico’s off-campus house was used for many of the scenes, to represent both the main character’s childhood home and his first house with his wife, as well as a base for the actors and crew. But the team also filmed on campus, at sites such as the St. Ignatius statue, Linden Lane, and especially Alumni Stadium.

 “We were on the field for the past three games, we shot tons of footage of the fans having fun, doing their natural thing. We brought in our actors and showed them what it was like to be BC Superfans, and we filmed them interacting with all the kids on campus and taught them all of our traditions at the game,” Prio said.

“Brad Bates, the athletic director, helped us immensely,” he said. “Anything we needed, he was there, open arms. He was passionate about our idea, he saw how much we cared, so he really wanted to help us any way he could.”

He hopes the emotion of the BC students, on game day and beyond, comes through in the film. “Our editing suite is in my friend’s house, and so every once in a while his mom will pop her head in and watch some of the footage, and a tear will come to her eye,” Prio said. “And that’s not even the full product, so I hope that when it’s all put together, it’s going to be an amazing experience. That’s the goal, to make it itself a movie, but in three to four minutes, where you get tied into it, and you really understand what’s going on in our main character’s life, you really get how important BC is to us as students.”

Hyundai will retain the films until December, at which point the company will release all of the finalists on their advertising and social media outlets, an opportunity for the film students to gain national recognition.

“When I’m shooting it, I see it in my head, but it’s not the same in my head rather than actually on a computer,” Prio said. “Now that I see it on a screen, it’s so exciting, and to finally be able to show people what I’ve been thinking about for months. I’ve shown four or five people, and their faces just light up when they see it. That’s how I’ve been feeling, so to actually be able to share it with someone was the best feeling ever.”

“It’s been an incredible experience,” Prio said. “Exhausting, but amazing.”

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