EU filmmakers win Best Cinematography at SATO 48, will be featured in New York film festival
May 17, 2013 | Valorie Coleman
48 hours. Hundreds of filmmakers. Zero sleep.
Welcome to a local tradition, the Springfield and the Ozarks 48 Hour Film Festival, often referred to as SATO 48.
Gabriel Mays, Evangel University’s TV and radio adviser, enters the competition every year with a team of students and alumni.
This year, the 15-member EU team accomplished a major goal. Their film, Champion of Fire, was named Best Cinematography entry out of 81 films submitted.
They also won Best Sound Design and were nominated in three additional categories — art direction, poster design and film editing.
But the cinematography award was special to Mays.
“Cinematography is the art of filmmaking,” he says. “It is the lighting, composition and movement of shots.”
Their film is one of three chosen to play in the New York Brownfish Popup Festival on June 13. This is the first time SATO has awarded this honor.
“The Brownfish people chose our film to be a part of their festival. It could land a person in our group a job,” Mays says. “It’s nice to know your work is appreciated by judges from all over the nation and the world, not just this area.”
Competition is the best instructor
Mays enjoys the challenge of the SATO 48 competition.
“During the competition, you learn to adapt,” Mays says. “If it rains, you can’t just shoot tomorrow. It’s good for students because in the real world you have to think on your feet.”
“As a filmmaker, you’re constantly trying to compete with the multi-million dollar film industry. Audiences have seen it all,” Mays says.
This year, the EU team tackled drama and presented a story line based on the premise of what one would say to a suicide bomber if given the chance to talk him out of it.
“A lot of them don’t have any story line,” Mays says of the other films in the competition. “It was the first time I had tried to do drama in a short film. After the audience viewed it . . . silence. Then they turned to each other and started murmuring.”
“Content is king,” Mays says. “If what your actors are saying or doing doesn’t make any sense, it’s pointless.”
Team members not pictured above include alumni Brent Bolinger (2012, broadcasting) and Andrew Farmer (2010, electronic media); students Caleb Campbell (senior), Elijah Austin (junior), Josiah Austin (senior), Juan Gonzalez (senior) and Jared Carpenter (sophomore); and communication department chair Dr. Cameron Pace.