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Kent State University Videographers Earn Six Awards at the 48-Hour Film Project

Posted Oct. 31, 2011 | Issac Profitt
enter photo description
Kent State videographer Dustin Lee directs a scene of
the Transistor movie. The movie won six awards in
Cleveland's 48-Hour Film Festival, including best film,
best writing, best directing, best ensemble acting,
best supporting actress and best musical score.

Imagine for a moment that you are taking your daily jog when a loud sound of radio static interrupts everything. You continue to hear it while at work and later when you get home. After a while you try to tell your parents, but they think you’re crazy.

This is the plot of Transistor, a short film produced by two Kent State University videographers, students and alumni, that recently took home top awards in the 48-Hour Film Festival Project.

Dustin Lee and Jon Jivan, videographers with University Communications and Marketing, entered the film in Cleveland’s
48-Hour Film Festival, July 29-31, where Transistor won six awards, beating 39 other teams. Among those awards are best film, best writing, best directing, best ensemble acting, best supporting actress and best musical score.

The 48-Hour Film Project, created in 2001 by Mark Ruppert, has been challenging filmmakers to create cinematic “masterpieces” within a strict 48-hour time limit. This year the Film Festival Project is touring in more than 80 cities in the U.S. and internationally. Transistor will represent Cleveland in the international part of the competition called Filmapalooza in Taos, N.M.

Lee, Jivan and several Kent State students and recent graduates did everything from writing and directing, to photography and sound design.

“My favorite part of creating Transistor was watching it all come together in less than two days,” Lee says. “Most short films take weeks to shoot and edit, and it was a fun challenge trying to tell a good story in only 48 hours.”

The 48-hour deadline that the competition enforces made the making of Transistor a fun and creative experience for Lee and the rest of the cast. Jivan explains the film was shot in chronological order from morning to evening; many films are not created this way.

“After wrapping up our script early Saturday morning, we went straight into shooting from 10 a.m. until late that evening,” Jivan says. “I was editing the footage on my laptop as we shot, which made things easier.”
The opening scene was shot at a beautiful park setting in downtown Kent, off Main Street. After migrating from various places around the city of Kent, it finally ends in Lee’s grandparents’ house in Parma.

Lee and Jivan weren’t the only talented minds working on this project. Terry Geer, a senior electronic media production major, also played a role as the project’s sound designer and director of photography. Transistor wasn’t the first film in which Geer teamed up with Lee.

“I met Dustin while working on the film Breaking News, a film project facilitated by Kent State faculty and which counted as an actual class for credit. I then worked with Jon on a film called 20th Century Man,” Geer says. “After having success with those projects, working with those guys again seemed natural.”

20th Century Man is a film Lee wanted to do for years and finally got the cast and resources to shoot last March. The film, which focuses on time travel in the 1930s, has been submitted to several major film festivals including The Sundance Film Festival.

Kent State junior theatre major Joseph Adams, who was also a part of the cast as an actor, believes this was not only a good experience for those involved, but also brings exposure to Kent State.

“By winning the competition, Transistor has brought positive attention to Kent State University,” Adams says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if more students start to express interest in the birth of a film major here at Kent State.”

For more information about the 48-Hour Film Festival and the 2011 tour, visit