A “One-of-a-Kind” Opportunity: Flash Films 2023 Showcases Wide Variety of Student-Created Films

Cheers sounded as the Kemper Auditorium screen dimmed, applauding all seven works of the Flash Films event. After a 21-hour overnight collaboration process at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, various student moviemakers produced films that demonstrated their creativity, including titles such as “Love Island,” “PA Stalker Ft. Chad,” and “Caged,” the latter of which was nominated Best Picture. Theo Kim ’23, one of the organizers of the event, explained that the purpose of the event was to introduce the student body to filmmaking.

“Flash Films is an event held by the moviemakers every year in the library. It’s technically a twenty-four-hour film challenge, but this year it was twenty-one. It’s a good place for new filmmakers, people who don’t have that much experience, to experience how fun it can be. A lot of people sign up with their friends. They get to sleepover in the library and spend a day filming. It’s also a good place to meet [new friends],” said Kim.

Many participants described the event as a “one-of-a-kind” opportunity, as staying overnight at the OWHL is a rare occasion. Participants enjoyed refreshments, put together their films, and played games together. Ellie Sun ’25, director of “PA Stalker Ft. Chad,” explained that she enjoyed having fun with her peers in a low-stakes environment.

“The overnight part was really fun. Everyone was super energized the whole evening. I don’t think anybody got more than four hours of sleep… Some highlights from the experience — we did Just Dance at 1:00 a.m. I also saw a couple of people playing laser tag, ” said Sun.

Because the objective of Flash Films was to put together a film within 21 hours, the participants had to figure out all the logistics of their movie production within a limited period of time. Gui Lima ’24, an actor in “Caged,” highlighted how despite the time crunch, the challenges contributed to the fun.

“Part of the experience was how chaotic it was and how tight everything had to be. We had to edit in time, come up with a title, decide what audio to use, think of an idea and script that won’t fall apart… It was all very hard, but it was all very fun too,” said Lima.

Having no other guidelines other than a time frame, the participants were provided with the freedom to experiment with their creativity. As a result, a wide variety of films, from “Love Island,” an imitation of a popular dating reality show, to “PA Stalker ft. Chad,” a documentary, was produced. Josh Lee ’24, a crew member on “Caged,” described the process of choosing the location of the film.

“I think it’s just about the want to leave people with something. In this case, I think we [were] going for something really scary. We had to spend a lot of hours in the Morse [Hall] basement, where student publications [are] done. It was a very small room. I’ve never actually spent time there before. [It] was interesting and definitely a bit creepy,” said Lee.

Overall, several participants report taking away valuable experiences with teamwork and special memories with their peers. For participants passionate about movie making, Flash Films provided a space for students with a common interest to come together. Kim emphasized why students should consider participating in the event in the future.

“The biggest thing about Flash Films is that it gives people time and an excuse to put aside school work for a bit and get to express their creativity. For the screening, it’s just interesting to see what other people make. Even if you’re not interested in filming itself, you should explore what other students did,” said Kim.