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Painting of a fox and her kits wins first-ever MAD 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge

A Media, Art and Design event returned this month under a new name: the 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge.It's been five years since MAD hosted its...

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HomeArtsPainting of a fox and her kits wins first-ever MAD 48-Hour Storytelling...

Painting of a fox and her kits wins first-ever MAD 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge

A Media, Art and Design event returned this month under a new name: the 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge.

It’s been five years since MAD hosted its last 48-Hour Film Challenge.

Despite only a week of promotion after the break, the challenge was received very well and got “great feedback” according to Megan Pickell, the event coordinator and student support technician.

She said now that there is a solid foundation, all that’s left is for the MAD department to “decorate the cake.”

A woman wearing black hoodie with the words Durham College smiles at the camera.
Megan Pickell organized the 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge. Photo credit: Brendan Robins

The 48-hour Film Challenge was a mandatory part of certain MAD programs between 2018 and 2019.

Students were tasked with creating a film project with a certain theme, character, and dialogue. The necessary prompts were sent to students two days before the deadline.

Due to COVID-19, the event didn’t start again until this year, now running as the voluntary 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge.

A woman wearing a jean jacket poses in front of a window.
Jennifer Bedford is one of the jury members for the 48-Hour Storytelling Challenge. Photo credit: Brendan Robins

Jennifer Bedford, a MAD professor and a member of the event’s jury, was “excited to see” the challenge return to Durham College.

“This is something extracurricular that students went over and above to decide that they wanted to do,” Bedford said. “Submit a work and create something that was outside of the framework of their core studies to have a chance to tell a story.”

This year’s challenge saw more than 114 participating students and 37 submissions, over 60 per cent of which were non-video projects. They had to create a story based around the theme of “spring.”

Every submission was judged with the same rubric to ensure every medium was treated fairly. A screening and exhibition of the submissions was held a day after the deadline, Tuesday, March 12.

During the hour-long screening, the four-person jury rated each submission from 1-100 across five categories. These included creative expression, visual and audio appeal, storyline and thematic relevance, technical execution, and evidence of effort and professionalism.

Cadance Mercer
Cadance Mercer Photo credit: Cadance Mercer

The winner of the challenge and the $500 prize was Cadance Mercer, 20-year-old Fine Arts student. Her submission was a painting called “foxes in the field,” which was inspired by foxes she sees come around the backyard of her home in Port Perry.

“There’s a pair, a breeding pair, and they will come around and have kits every year and I see them playing and sleeping,” Mercer said. “It’s a really important part of my springtime routine just to see them.”

Mercer liked that the challenge forced her out of her normal workflow. She finds without a strict schedule like this event imposed, she’ll take a lot of breaks. If she gets another opportunity to participate, she “definitely would do it again.”

“It’s a good idea to include more mediums,” Mercer said. “There’s a lot of mediums because people get to try different things, like I obviously do a lot of painting, but maybe next time I might try and illustrate with pen and paper or maybe make a short film or an animation.”

“Reminiscence,” a film created by a team of first-year Video Production students, won fan-favourite submission and a $250 prize in the challenge. Sohan Maharjan acted as writer, director, cinematographer and editor. Joining him was cinematographer Ayomide Kuye, actor Denzel Kenhai, and sound recordist Timur Shapaouv.

The film’s plot is about a man who can’t stop thinking about his dead wife and ends up getting trapped in his thoughts. Maharjan described the production process as “both enjoyable and chaotic,” due to the tight deadline. Despite this, he liked that his team was challenged to think fast, work closely together, and take artistic risks they might not have otherwise.

“On the day of the film screening, we were prepared to be the winner, but we ended up securing the ‘fan favourite’ award, which was the most beautiful thing because so many people in the audience loved our film, which was our main goal,” Maharjan said.

“Overall, the experience was incredibly fun and unforgettable.”