LATROBE, PA – A short film created by a team of three Saint Vincent College juniors for the Pittsburgh 48-Hour Film Project (48HFP) has been named to its Best of Screening Group and will now be recognized at a special screening and awards ceremony on Aug. 2 at the Tull Family Theater in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.
Twin brothers Bradley and Brandon Hallick, along with classmate Kendall Janosko, produced the short film “House Sitters” for the 2021 Pittsburgh 48HFP competition, in which they were given the task to complete all of the film’s writing, shooting and editing in 48 hours.
“On Friday night, there was an opening ceremony at which each team randomly was assigned two genres of film to pick from,” said Brandon Hallick. “We were also assigned a line of dialogue, a character and a prop that had to be in the short film. Even though everyone gets a different genre, all the teams use this same line of dialogue, character and prop.
“Once all the teams learned their genre and all of the other requirements, the clock starts. This was at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, which meant that films had to be turned in no later than 7:30 p.m. Sunday.”
The group was assigned either the genre of romance or buddy comedy – they chose the latter – and were required to include a dentist character, a sealed envelope and the line, “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“We spent Friday night throwing around ideas and writing the script, and then Saturday we shot the whole thing,” said Brandon. “Once we had finished shooting on Saturday night, it was time to edit and we didn’t go to sleep until this was completed.”
"House Sitters" then premiered, along with more than 40 other entries, at the Pittsburgh 48-Hour Film Project screening on July 26 at the Tull Family Theater.
Natives of East McKeesport, Pennsylvania, the three have been lifelong friends. They started to make short films as middle schoolers and began to post their content on YouTube will students at East Allegheny High School. Brandon Hallick believes that the close relationship between the production team proved beneficial in working under such a tight deadline.
“Since we’ve known each other for so long and have worked together on things like this before,” he said, “we were actually able to work under a process that was sort of a condensed version of what we typically do anyways. We weren’t allowed to do much planning in advance besides getting equipment and casting and whatnot, but because it’s just the three of us, we didn’t really worry about any of that too much and just sort of jumped into it without a safety net.”
The group learned of 48HFP from associate professor of communication David Safin, who felt that this type of challenge would be right up their alley.
“They are a very creative and motivated group of young people,” said Safin. “I recommended they consider entering 48HFP because of the limitations that come with it. I wanted to challenge them to harness their creativity around someone else’s concept, and to do so under a tight timeframe. I’m not at all surprised they did so successfully, because the work they do for me is always of a high quality.
“I also thought it was important that they insert themselves into the Pittsburgh filmmaking community. Their work was screened alongside many talented local filmmakers. It is good for them to see the work of their peers and vice versa.”
“Mr. Safin reached out to us via email earlier this summer to tell us about the festival,” recounted Brandon. “We thought it would be a good idea to push ourselves a little outside of our comfort zone. We have to give a huge thanks to Mr. Safin, because if it weren’t for him, we never would have known about this festival and would have never been able to challenge ourselves in this way.”
Brandon and Janosko, both communication majors, and Bradley, a mathematics/engineering major, look forward to continuing to create films together. The young filmmakers don’t have any specific aspirations beyond continuing to create content that resonates with their audience.
“If there’s anything we’ve learned in this period of making films,” Brandon said, “it’s that nothing ever goes according to plan. We’re just going to keep working to really establish our audience and expand our brand as creatives. I think the overall goal is to keep being able to connect with people with our work. We enjoy making things that people feel – whether it be laughs from fans or embarrassment from our family, we love expressing ourselves and love it even more when people enjoy it."
After winning Best of Screening Group at the July 26 event, “House Sitters” now advances to the Pittsburgh 48HFP Best of Screening and Awards Ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 2, at the Tull Family Theater.
PHOTO: Bradley Hallick, Kendall Janosko and Brandon Hallick at the Pittsburgh 48-Hour Film Project screening on July 26 at Tull Family Theater in Sewickley, Pennsylvania