Jared Nesbit’s short film “Darth Vader’s Birthday” was chosen as the first place winner of the biannual Five Minute Film Festival last Friday.
The festival featured 22 entries, followed by audience voting for numerous categories, including Best Film, Best Actor/Actress and Worst Film.
Junior Jacob Norwood hosted the festival this semester and also entered a film of his own. His film “The Lone Rubber Band Man” took second place.
Norwood said he enjoyed hosting the festival, and hopes to be able to do so again in the future.
“Hosting was great,” Norwood said. “I had an absolute blast doing it. Grant Dillion, the sponsor of the Festival, is also an adjunct professor that I’ve had for a couple of COMM classes. I guess he figured I fit the bill for host and asked me out of the blue. I’m very hopeful I’ll get to do it again, but I honestly have no idea if I’ll be asked. It’s really up to Grant.”
Norwood said the inspiration for his film stems from the yearly Chi Sigma Alpha “assassin” game. Club members are tasked with tracking each other down and shooting each other with rubber bands.
“I wanted to turn that into an epic western with absolutely no stakes,” Norwood said. “I wanted to play the whole thing straight, like a real action movie, but people were just getting hit with rubber bands. That way, hopefully, it would be funny without me ever having to tell a single joke.”
Norwood said he has considered entering the film festival again next semester, although he is uncertain whether his next film will be comedic or dramatic in nature.
“The thing about comedy is that it needs to be funny, and I don’t trust myself with writing that on my own,” Norwood said. “The thing about drama is that it can easily be cheesy or unintentionally comedic. I don’t really know the answer to that question. It just has to be the right idea.”
Nesbit, on the other hand, fully intends to produce more films for the festival, and he is certain he will continue to create comedies. Nesbit’s film was a Claymation-style video cast entirely by Legos.
“I don’t make serious Lego films, there’s no such thing,” Nesbit said.
Nesbit frequently creates short films using the Lego pieces. He has posted a total of 10 similar videos on YouTube. Nesbit said he uses a webcam to shoot the footage frame by frame, and then uses various computer programs to animate the films and add special effects such as the light sabers in “Darth Vader’s Birthday.”
Nesbit said some of the most challenging aspects of this style of filmmaking are the nature and delicacy of the pieces he uses. Nesbit must constantly re-position Lego characters with a limited range of movement and adjust or re-film if the Claymation isn’t just right.
“I have rather large hands, so sometimes I’ll bump the camera and I’ll have to re-film an entire scene,” Nesbit said.
For Nesbit, part of the appeal of creating videos like these is that he has the opportunity to work with a series of computer programs. Nesbit, who is 16, is dual-enrolled in several classes at Harding that provide him with both college and high school credit. Nesbit plans to pursue the computer science field when he attends college full-time.
Nesbit chooses specifically to work with Legos because he believes they transcend the boundaries between childhood and adulthood.
“Legos are so diverse,” Nesbit said. “Legos are the one toy that no one ever outgrows. I know adults who still have fun with them.”