Slug 48: The new 48 hour film challenge for students

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Kevin Nolting; image courtesy of Nolting

The Department of Film and Digital Media is introducing the first event of its kind, Slug 48. Participating undergraduates will have 48 hours to create a film from start to finish including script writing, filming, and post production. Students can participate in groups or sign up alone, it all starts this Friday April 19. 

The idea for Slug 48 comes from University of California, Santa Cruz alumnus Kevin Nolting, who is also on Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu’s Arts Advocacy Council. Nolting is an award winning film editor who’s been working in the industry for almost 40 years. He is best known for his work at Pixar Animation Studios where he helped create some of the most beloved movies including Up, Inside Out, Finding Nemo and more.

With Slug 48, Nolting brings to campus the principles of Dogme 95, an avant-garde film movement from the 1990s that started in Denmark. The movement includes a series of rules that students participating in Slug 48 must follow as well. These include, but are not limited to: filming on location, the camera must be handheld, and the film must be in color.

“I did a number of these when I worked at Pixar,” says Nolting. “It took us four or five years to make a movie, so a group of us did these 48-hour films just to do something that didn't take years.” These short film projects helped Nolting get out of his comfort zone and forced him to create something without getting bogged down by the details.

“I think it's a really good exercise, especially for students,” he says because it keeps them from getting stuck in a rut and gives them something new to work on. The goal of Dogme 95 and Slug 48 is not to create a masterpiece, but simply to create something. “I've made five or six of these; some of them are unwatchable, and some of them are sort of fun.”

Nolting’s main goal for Slug 48 is to have as many students join as possible, and make sure they have a good time. He will be on call to help students at any point during their filming process, ready to offer expert advice.

After students create their 48-hour films this weekend, all works will be shared next Wednesday and prizes will be awarded. Nolting will be joined by two other judges: Nicole Jefferson Asher, who has written and/or produced shows for Showtime and Netflix amongst others; and alumnus Adrian Syben, who worked with Nolting at Pixar.

Slug 48 comes as part of the Art Advocacy Council’s work to bring professional artists to campus so students can learn from those working in their industries. While this includes a variety of events, including the recent workshop by artist Fritz Chesnut, Nolting hopes that Slug 48 won’t be the last of its kind. He hopes to make it an annual event stating: “If this is successful, we hope to do it every year.”