Villanova Television Hosts Third Annual 48 Hour Challenge


Courtesy of Andrew Mister

“Writer’s Room” won Villanova University’s third-ever 48 Hour Challenge.

A.J. Fezza, Co-Culture Editor

After a week of rest and relaxation during spring break, members of Villanova Television (VTV) returned to campus ready to participate in a beloved tradition: the 48 Hour Challenge. 

The 48 Hour Challenge, now in its third year, gives students 48 hours to film, edit and submit a short film using a given prop and line of dialogue. 

This year, students began their films at 3 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 11 and had to submit them by 3 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 13. The prop was a trash can, and the line of dialogue was: “This is like Milwaukee 2016 all over again.”

As usual, the prop and dialogue prompt lent itself to a wide array of creative interpretations. In one bizarre instance, the trash can was used as armor.

The films this year included “Who Knows,” “Arpeggio,” “Sir Ranch and the Quest for the Holy Relic,” “MOTH3R (Mother 3),” “Writer’s Room,” “The Man on a Walk…” and “Have You Heard the News?”

“Who Knows” was created by freshman Isabella Ledet. The film follows a young man who professes his love for his friend, supposedly in an attempt to close a time loop. 

“Arpeggio” was made by a group of VTV sophomores named the J Lambs (after their film “Silence of the JLambs” from last year’s 48 Hour Challenge). The group members are Margaux Snow, Ashton Rodriguez, Joe Adams, Brendan Tierney, Lexi Brenner and Sarah Ager. In “Arpeggio,” the characters Billy and Jolie wistfully reminisce about a previous experience of theirs at a bar that they can never recapture, set to Billy Joel’s iconic tune “Piano Man.”

“Sir Ranch and the Quest for the Holy Relic” was made by Patrick Lyons, Miguel Badia, Brad Wohlleber, Sean Evans and Siobhan Dillon. This 12-minute film was by far the longest one of the night, but in terms of entertainment value, it did not miss a beat. Set in 1378 AD in the Kingdom of Schiteville, this film takes the viewer on a quest with Sir Ranch, The Bard and Princess Troll as they seek to retrieve the bones of St. John the Baptist for King Rudolph CDXX.

“Have You Heard the News?” was made by the winners of last year’s 48 Hour Challenge, Audrey Agnew, Taryn Twohig and Chris Witte. As a thriller, this film stood out as the only non-comedy submission this year. “Have You Heard the News?” follows three criminals as they descend into paranoia and turn against each other after their crime is exposed on television.

  “Being able to use the prop and the line in a different genre than we usually make content in was definitely a very cool experience,” Twohig said. 

“The Man on a Walk…” was made by sophomores Matthew Brenner, Andrew Kline, Giana Abbas, Sam Harris, Ryan Hodnett and Cole Jackson. This mockumentary follows five friends as they worry about their sixth friend’s disappearance amid rumors of a murder on campus.

“MOTH3R (Mother 3)” was made by Rebecca Finke. The film is a near-replica of 2020’s “Mother” (and 2021’s “Mother Remastered”), though with the new prop and dialogue from this year’s challenge inserted. In “MOTH3R,” students role-play as members of a family to combat the isolation and social ineptitude endemic to their generation and to improve their social skills.

The final film shown on Sunday was “Writer’s Room,” which was created by Andrew Mister and Justin Groel. The film follows a group of comedy writers as they struggle to come up with jokes in time for their weekly sketch show, following the President’s death. 

On Sunday afternoon, after all short films were submitted, a film viewing took place open to all VTV members in Tolentine Hall.

The films were judged by a panel of active VTV members. Ultimately, the judges selected “Writer’s Room” as the winner of the challenge.

As per tradition, a ceiling tile in VTV’s office in Tolentine Hall will be dedicated to this year’s victor.

“I’m truly thankful,” Mister said. “I’m really grateful for my friends who participated in the film because they’re some of the funniest people I know. Their performances really lent themselves to the script, and they took it to such a further level than I was anticipating. They took every crazy direction I gave, and I think it shows in the final product that they were really willing to be insane for this.”

The 48 Hour Film Challenge comes on the heels of VTV’s much larger annual event: The Villys. Film submissions for The Villys are due on Sunday, Mar. 20, and the event will be held at the Connelly Center Cinema. One can expect to see some of the films from the 48 Hour Film Challenge, such as “Writer’s Room,” in the comedy lineup at The Villys next month.