By Mia Brounstein
Students from Franciscan University of Steubenville’s filmmaking club, G-6 Productions, received an Award of Excellence from The Broadcast Education Association in December for “Split Pearls,” their entry in the association’s 2023 48-hour film contest.
Maria Resuta and Daniel Musacchio, both senior communication arts majors, spearheaded the team of 10 students that created the short film, which can be viewed on The Broadcast Education Association’s website. The film follows a detective with split personalities attempting to solve the thievery of a pearl necklace.
Musacchio, who is both president of G-6 Productions and director and producer of “Split Pearls,” said the club’s members decided to participate in the national contest in order to show off the skills they had developed since entering the contest the year before.
“We did all right (in 2022); it wasn’t bad,” Musacchio said. “But this time around, we knew what we wanted to do and we had a plan.”
Resuta and Musacchio said they rallied a crew of committed students in advance: Brian Csornok, Matthew Levri, Julia Cundiff, Scott Sauselen, Kelenna Obi, Lily Mich, Sebastian Sanda and Ashley Shaw.
Musacchio said that everyone involved in the project cleared their schedules for the weekend and got to work on drafting a script the minute the contest started. He added that one of the contest prompts, which required the film to be in the mystery genre, inspired the team to adopt a film noir aesthetic and a plot driven by psychological mystery.
From noon on Friday, Oct. 20, until the morning of Sunday, Oct. 22, the crew worked around the clock to write a script, gather props and costumes, film and edit the project, said Resuta, who is G-6 Productions’ head editor and worked multiple roles on the film’s crew.
“Everyone slept in the lab and we would wake people up for different shifts during editing,” Resuta said.
Resuta said the project was officially completed and submitted at 6 a.m. on Sunday: six hours before the contest deadline.
She also said that one of her favorite parts of the project was watching the film’s crew grow in camaraderie over the 48 hours of the contest.
“Some people (on the crew) we knew really well and other people we didn’t, but we were able to just bond together as a team and become friends overnight,” she said. “We got really lucky with the people we had … it was really special.”
Musacchio agreed, “That crew was my favorite.”
Though neither Resuta nor Musacchio said they know where their careers will take them after graduation, both said that they are excited by the variety of paths available to them, especially with “Split Pearls” in their portfolios and an Award of Excellence in their resumes.
“In a way, I think it was a good real-world experience,” Musacchio said. “I’m really proud of it.”
Resuta concluded, “You don’t need months at a time to make something good if you have people who are committed and if you have a plan.”
David Schaefer, who holds a doctorate in communications and who teaches communication arts at Franciscan, in addition to advising G-6 Productions, said of the team’s work to create the film: “They definitely rose to the occasion and I was very excited about their win!”
“I hope that they (the club members) can build on the momentum and generate more interest and buzz for future contests and other filmmaking activities,” he added. “I would love to see the club continue to expand and I know the communication arts department is excited about supporting the team on future endeavors.”
Franciscan students who are interested in getting involved with G-6 Productions can check out the group’s Instagram, @g_6.productions, and participate in the club’s weekly meetings on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. in Egan Hall classroom G6. In addition, anyone can view some of the club’s past films on its YouTube channel, G6 Productions FUS, or by attending the club’s semesterly film premiere.