WHAT IS THE PRAIRIE GRASS FILM CHALLENGE?
…ALL WITHIN 48 HOURS
Our History &
ur goal is really quite simple: we want to expose as many people as possible to the visual arts, moving images in particular. Telling stories with film is so thrilling and so powerful, we wanted to create an event or venue that would entice people–experienced and first-timers–to the experience!
And because this is coming out of Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, we do it in a very family-friendly way and are intentional about content worth consuming. So jump in to this ‘sleep-optional’ weekend and maybe–just maybe–you’ll walk away with this year’s “BEST OF SHOW!”
FILM CHALLENGE BEGINS IN
wise words from past competitors
The key to this thing, and perhaps the whole point of it, is to take your weaknesses and make it the best thing about the project. Don't have anywhere cool to film? Make something cool happen in an ordinary location. Don't have a great camera? Get super familiar with whatever's on hand and make that baby sing. Audio issues? Make your music or sound effects the focal point of the film. Don't worry about what sets you back. Just get out there and see your project from beginning to end. You're already miles ahead of everyone who never even tried.
48 hours, make a film, crazy schedule, you know the drill. What keeps me coming back year after year to make a film isn't just the thrill of seeing my work on a big screen, or the 2am adrenaline rush of nailing a really exciting shot while running on fumes. It's those things too, but mostly it's because mid-January my creative energy is just about gone, sapped by the cold and holiday vacations. The Film Challenge rolls around it's an opportunity to put down all my other responsibilities for a weekend and do something purely creative. It helps me recharge and reinvigorate my vision.
I'll start by saying that everything I thought I knew making a film in 48 hours was wrong! Incredibly challenging and incredibly fun! My wise words are: Resist the urge to tell your character's backstory, just jump into that moment and resolve that moment. Also, know your gear better than your best friend, the last thing you have time for is tech issues!
The PGFC is a blast and an exceptional opportunity to hone your skills at guerrilla film making.
Don’t worry about everything, just have fun with it. If you’re having fun, your movie will be fun.
If I had any advice for teams, it's to make sure your film can be summarized easily in one sentence and to keep your scope really tight - 12 or so hours to film is NOT MUCH and quality is more important than quantity. Make one statement, communicate one idea, and do it well.
The Prairie Grass Film Challenge is an amazing event that I look forward to each year. Unique to Dordt, the challenge welcomes people from all over the country. It is a great bonding experience for you and your team, and it produces some of the greatest memories. It helps strengthen skills such as communication and time management. Speaking from experience, decent audio and a great storyline is the key to a winning film. Though winning is the goal, at the end of the day it's about having fun creating your film, and Dordt does a great job highlighting this by screening all the films at a fantastic ceremony. I greatly encourage you to spend a crazy 48 hours taking on The Prairie Grass Film Challenge.