Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Cinema Brawl to Screen Films at Apollo, Features Wacky Rules

The College’s first-ever Cinema Brawl lasted 48 hours and will come to fruition at its screening at the Apollo Theatre on Sunday at 11 a.m. Students entered the competition in groups, and the process of producing a film began at 5 p.m. March 1. Submissions were due in person at 5 p.m. March 3 to the editing room in the upstairs of the Apollo.

Four student media associates in the Cinema Studies department arranged this event with the help of faculty. The media associates are resources for people who are shooting movies on campus, providing assistance with equipment or offering advice on productions. Each of them are also teaching assistants for the Introduction to Filmmaking course, facilitating the learning process in film. 

One media associate, College fourth-year Quinn Neubert, has served this role since the beginning of the fall 2023 semester. Majoring in Cinema Studies and Creative Writing, they commented on their experience with the other media associates and noted  their friendly dynamic and humorous rules. 

“A lot of the time, our ideas start with a bit that we just have with each other or individually, and then it blossoms from there,” Neubert said. “So a lot of rules are jokes we have with each other.” 

Some of the rules that the media associates made for the brawl included that the film must show the exterior of the Apollo, an insert of an eyeball, and a scene with a character falling dramatically to their knees — among other zany specifications.  Participants had to do all of the writing, filming, and post-production in the allotted 48 hours.

While this time restriction proved to be a slight challenge, College second-year Gabe Liftman created a short film entitled “Bingus and Bongus Go to Hell,” which was almost entirely improvised. The story includes two friends, Bingus and Bongus, going on a trip to Hell together. 

“By Friday evening, we had to get all the stuff, and then by Sunday evening it had to be completely done,” Liftman said. “It was kind of a whirlwind, but it was fun because I love making movies. By having this very tense way of [making movies], you have to let creativity take over.”

Though the process was not easy, Liftman recommended that people, including those not in Cinema Studies, participate in future Cinema Brawls. In addition to Liftman’s short film, six others were produced. 

“It’s stressful to make a movie in 48 hours,” second-year College student and Media Associate Asher Kaye said. “It’s really a testament to how great of filmmakers people can be.”

Kaye noted the impressive amount of interest, garnering 43 participants which made up the seven teams.

“I was blown away by the number of people that signed up,” Kaye said. “It just shows how much people like making movies in this department. I think that has definitely been my favorite part so far —  just seeing everyone come together to do this.”      

College fourth-year Tiago Furtado, another media associate, wanted to emphasize that the passion for making movies is not limited to those seeking it as a career.

“I think this is a really exciting venture into getting more attention from other people because it’s an event that’s open to anyone in the College, not just Cinema Studies people,” Furtado said. “I just think it’s really cool to see how much we’re expanding and changing.”

Media associate and College second-year Vivian Wolfson agreed and wishes for the event to continue next year.

“​​I’m really hoping that it becomes a tradition,” Wolfson said. “I think that would be so cool for me and my [fellow media associates] to feel like we started something. I also think it’s a great thing to have school-wide, even outside of the Cinema Studies department because so many people are interested. [For example], Conservatory students want to score films, Theater students want to act. I think this is a good chance to open up [cinematography] to the whole school.”

This event was possible with the help of the Cinema Studies department, including Media Lecturer Joey Rizzolo, OC ’98. As this is their first time planning this event, Wolfson and the other media associates hope that it unravels seamlessly. 

“We had some kinks to iron out, and honestly — knock on wood — I thought that we would encounter a lot of struggles,” Wolfson said. “Still, all the film faculty, and everyone else, were super excited to jump onto this and help us, which was really cool. They gave us free rein to make this what we wanted it to be.”

Neubert anticipated the success of this event given its novelty. 

“Hopefully, it’ll go well,” Neubert said. “It is the first year, so we’re ironing out some kinks, but I think it’s been going pretty well so far. What I’m most excited for is having the big screening of all the movies, and I think that’ll be a lot of fun.”

At the screening, each film will be played, and awards will be given based on best production design, use of creative elements, sound, editing, cinematography, acting, and best short film. A 3D-printed award will be given to the winners. Additionally, those who attend the event will vote for their favorite. 

“We’re planning on doing an audience award,” Neubert said. “I think that voting for that is going to be a lot of fun.” 

Although the time constraint was stressful for participants, their dedication will be showcased via the final reveal of each short film on Sunday.

“It’s going to be such a fun time with everyone seeing everything that [the participants] made, as well as their hard work and getting to enjoy it with everyone,” Kaye said.

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