Cyclone 48-hour film festival a success


Dalton Gackle/Iowa State Daily

Some of the students who submitted films pose along with the MC’s for the festival screening after the films were shown.

Dalton Gackle

The first-ever Cyclone 48-hour Film Festival was a success.

Cyclone Cinema screened five student film submissions Monday night that were written, filmed and edited in 48 hours. The films were open to feature anything, but they had to include an umbrella and include the line, “I can’t believe you were so blind.”

Here are the breakdowns for the films:

“A Murder Unsolved”

This comedic crime-thriller, created by Isaac Biehl, Joey Cataldo, John Kocur and Kevin Ruth, followed a detective trying to solve a case with ample evidence, but no suspect in sight. He had to look no further than his own partner to make an arrest. His partner had other ideas, however.


Vanity, created by Matt Wilkinson and Michael Peterson, was another crime-centered film. It followed the interrogation of a man who had been present for three of his friends’ deaths. The police went through each crime with the man, but they could not link him to any foul play. Only he knows the truth.

“Caught Up”

This film, created by Lauren Wibe and Brandon Beecham, was an adapted Sherlock Holmes story intertwined with real life. A man reading a Sherlock Holmes story realizes that the murder mystery is turning into a play-by-play in his very own apartment complex.

“Your Uber Training Video”

Uber driver Richard Martinez takes you through the different types of people you have to pick up as an Uber driver in this comedic training video. Expect vomit in your back seat, passed-out passengers and unsocial riders on any given night.

“Darwin’s Theory of College”

Most college students come in to college with expectations, and this dramedy, created by Val Charter and Chase Seibert, highlights some of the reality that kids don’t foresee. Do not fear, however, things usually turn out all right.

Final thoughts:

The best film overall was “Darwin’s Theory of College.” It had a nice, simple plot that was also very relatable. This film also had the best camera shots and angles by far. The creative decisions for the camerawork were on par with a normal feature film.

The best story was from “Caught Up.” It was a very interesting choice to have a present situation follow an old Sherlock Holmes tale. The audience also did not have any irony of knowing something before the lead character. We were along for the ride with him.

Best sound mixing is a tie between “A Murder Unsolved” and “Darwin’s Theory of College.” “A Murder Unsolved” had a couple of hiccups, but it was also the longest film and was well-edited. Darwin’s featured clean voice-over throughout the film.

The most creative use of the umbrella was in “Your Uber Training Video,” as  Richard uses the umbrella as a poke-stick to wake up drunk passengers.

And the winners are…

Best Actor/Actress went to “Your Uber Training Video.” More specifically, it went to a girl who sat in the back of the car on her phone, ignoring Uber driver Richard Martinez. I really disagree with this decision. Her only dialogue was ‘yeah’ and all she had to do was be on her phone, something we all do anyway. Just about anyone else would have been a better choice here.

“The man with the umbrella in ‘Caught Up’ had a really underrated, subdued performance,” said Scott Siepker, the Iowa Nice Guy and celebrity judge.

Perhaps he should have won.

Best Screenplay went to “Caught Up.” I definitely agree. The adapted screenplay mixed with an original plotline made for the best script overall.

“’Caught Up’ was poetic with its writing,” said Justin Remes, assistant professor of English and faulty judge.

Siepker had similar thoughts.

“’Caught Up’ seemed to have the best combination of script and technical aspects,” he said.

Best Director went to “Darwin’s Theory of College.” As I said before, the camera choices were exemplary. The shots and angles were heads above the other films.

Although, Remes and Siepker praised “Caught Up” for one shot in particular.

“There was a shot where the book the main character was reading was reflected in the sides of the elevator and it really complimented the pace of the story at the time,” Remes said.

Drumroll please…

Best Film went to none other than “Caught Up.” Yes, the judges loved the story, and it proved to be the deciding factor for the victory. My choice for best film, “Darwin’s Theory of College,” was runner-up. Obviously I feel that it should have won. It was the most complete film, especially considering its shot choices and editing. It did win Best Director, though.

“I can’t say I voted for the winners for best picture,” said Jeff Ames, broadcast journalism lecturer and faculty judge. “However, the best films featured a turn. They had some sort of twist that really gave the stories a boost.”

“Darwin’s Theory of College” did not have a twist or turn. Perhaps that was what kept it from winning.

Overall, the event was fun and engaging. Its success should spawn future film festivals put on by the Film Producers Club.

Both Ames and celebrity judge Stephanie Caleb, co-producer of the recent Jennifer Aniston film, “Cake,” called for students to keep making films and expressed a desire to partake in future ISU film festivals.