March 21, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Mike Savoie Wins VSU 48-Hour Film Competition

VALDOSTA — With a pair of rubber gloves, a character named Conspiracy Kevin, six words, a deadline, three actors, and a producer, production assistant, director, and cinematographer, Mike Savoie created an experimental film that won Valdosta State University’s 48-Hour Film Competition. The event was held the weekend of March 1-3.    

Savoie’s film, “Rosebud,” plays on the manipulative qualities of cinema. He said that his goal was to come up with a concept that was very easy to execute and incredibly minimalistic; he had limited resources and limited time. The end result was a team effort, a strange, hard-to-understand art film with no plot and no storyline — which was the plan from the very beginning.

“It’s a joke about film school films,” said the VSU Mass Media Program professor and interim dean of the Honors College. “It’s really kind of silly and pointless, but we did it for fun, and we did it to learn.”

“This is the kind of film these students will not have a chance to make once they leave school,” he added.

Although his film contains no narrative or character development, Savoie noted that it was an ideal opportunity for him to teach his teammates, most of them students in VSU’s Mass Media Program, about technique and the process of creating a film.

“We had time to talk about it,” he said. “It was informative for the students and one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had with my students.”

While many of his coworkers went without sleep and produced "some pretty big" — yet short — films, Savoie invited his team to his home on Saturday morning, cooked breakfast for them, and shared his basic concept for the film. His students then took the idea and manipulated it, and in the end, the film became something completely different from the original idea. His 6-year-old son operated the camera, recording roughly 20 minutes of footage, which was edited down to less than six minutes later that afternoon.

“I was really entertained by the film,” said the former music video director from the 1980s and 1990s, when MTV actually revolved around music. “I laughed when I saw it, and I am not usually entertained by my own work.”

“Rosebud” features a man, a woman, and a luchador, loose ends, a shocking moment, and a reference to Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane.” Nothing that the viewer expects to happen happens, but that is how Savoie’s team planned it.

“I think we’re all in shock,” he said. “We were the long shots in this competition; the odds were certainly not in our favor.”

At 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, six Valdosta State University Mass Media Program faculty members were given a prop, a character, a line of dialogue, and 48 hours to write, shoot, direct, and edit a four-to-seven-minute film.

Frank Barnas, Marie Elliott, Talley Mulligan, Jason Brown, Colin Walker, and Savoie used the limited resources available to them on campus during the film competition; their students served as their cast and crew. They were able to complete the project at any location available to them, on or off campus.

Elliott, an assistant professor in VSU’s Mass Media Program who facilitated the 48-Hour Film Competition at the urging of her students, said that she slept a total of six hours during the event weekend. However, she said the packed house at the viewing party and awards ceremony on Sunday, March 3, made the experience worth every minute of lost sleep.

“The students were the ones who compelled me to do it,” said Savoie. “I am not very competitive. I just like making movies, hanging out with students, and having fun.” 

Elliott hopes to make the 48-Hour Film Competition an annual event at VSU and has already started planning for next spring’s competition, which may include an alumni component and may even involve the entire campus community. She and her fellow faculty members received an overwhelming show of support from some Mass Media Program graduates who expressed an interest in being a part of future events.  

Visit to view the winning film.  

Contact Marie Elliott at or (229) 249-4876 or Mike Savoie at or (229) 249-4894 to learn more.

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