Take the 72-hour “Challenge”

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Columbia College Arts Management grad students Jason Stephens and (Ms.) Jacky Lewkovich have flung “The Independent Moviemaker Challenge” to Chicago’s creative community to participate in a fast-paced, original collaboration of short film production.

“The Challenge” is open to anyone?actors, writers, directors, coordinators, editors ?- who is agreeable to spending the May 23-26 Memorial Day weekend making films.

Memorial Day evening, May 26, is the screening date for shorts that win “The Challenge” in the prescribed 72-hours.

Stephens and Lewkovich designed “The Challenge” so that entering teams each contribute to a different aspect of multiple films within the prescribed time frame.

The number of films completed depends upon how many teams can be assembled from the number of filmmakers who sign up. If there are five teams, then the expectation is that five films will fulfill “The Challenge.”

Here’s how it works.

Writers meet at a central location Friday night, May 23, where they are given headshots of a variety of actors who will perform in their short. “The writers then have 12 hours to collaborate on a script for the actors they’ve been given,” Stephens said.

With scripts in hand, production teams, using mini-Dvcams, get 24 hours to shoot the written scenes. Editors are also given 24 hours to assemble the footage into a final film.

“A team may be writing a script for one movie, producing another on digital video and editing a third,” noted Lewkovich. “The process allows people to layer their own unique brand of creativity on top of others’ creativity.”

The theatre at the Empty Bottle in Wicker Park is tentatively set as the May 26 venue where filmmakers will either celebrate the making of their film, or simply chalk it up to a weekend of fun.

Stephens and Lewkovich are confident, though, that “The Challenge’s” goal of bringing artists together for multiple films will be achieved.

“It really emphasizes the collaborative nature of filmmaking and the way in which different perspectives and interpretations can affect the final work,” said Lewkovich, a communications graduate of Iowa State.

Lewkovich spent a year in Australia on a work visa after college before returning to Chicago to work for Continental TV Sales. She and Stephens are half-way through their graduate studies. She will pursue film production/business management when she earns her master’s next year.

Indiana native Stephens is a Ball Stage graduate who spent three years in the Peace Corps in far eastern Russia teaching English and American history.

Find a “Challenge” application via www.splitpillow.com or call Stephens at 773/703-2402.

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