Photography by Amani Sodiq.

Between the four high schools of RISD, six teams of eight throughout the district competed in a cinematic competition to create the best short film in 48 hours. 

Sign up for our newsletter!

* indicates required

The Lake Highlands team consisted of seniors Megan Jones, Caroline Davis, Alli Truscott, and juniors Bo Richardson, Nathan Macy, Waylon McNamara, Charlie Young, Munachi Etunwaoko. This group of students called themselves “Goated” and earned the title when they won Best Overall Film.  

The six student-led teams across the district were given 48 hours to make a 3 to 5 minute short film under very specific parameters.

The film had to be set at a gas station, interpolating a POV and a low angle tracking shot at some point during the runtime. Both a lollipop and a spatula had to be included as a prop, the line “I myself, am strange and unusual,” said by a character and the lyric “When it’s hot like this, you know what I do? I put my undies in the ice box,” sang in a song.

Pop, the short film, is about a man who gets stuck with a lollipop, and he finds someone who can help him escape a loop that he’s trapped in. The film encapsulates their journey of meeting each other and escaping the loop together. 

“Working on any sort of film project always brings some sort of learning curve to the table,” Caroline Davis, the director of Pop, comments. “There’s always some sort of technical difficulty, unexpected happenings, or just the inability to execute your ideas the way you wanted.” 

Not only did this LHHS team take home Best Overall Film, Nathan Macy won Best Editing, and Caroline Davis won Best Screenplay. When Lake Highlands was announced as the overall winner, Davis couldn’t believe it. 

“We were up against Richardson High School, which is like the magnet film school in our district. Composition-wise, the Richardson films looked absolutely spectacular, and watching them during the festival, I thought we had no shot at winning,” Davis mentions. 

One of the main things that contributed to the team’s success was their ability to communicate openly and effectively. 

“Having a team of eight taught me how to properly relay both information and ideas to everyone and explain it well. I was super lucky to have a team that was so willing to work with each other and open to listening. I believe I’ve become a better director because of my work on Pop,” Davis says. 

In any film setting, especially in a high-stress situation, it’s easy to get lost in the process. Davis adds that in the beginning of their 48-hour race, she made an “Affirmations” Google Slideshow as a joke to keep the team in high spirits. Positive phrases like, “I will not raise my voice if I’m mad,” and “I will not let my stress get in the way of my work,” were used. 

“We were able to joke around with each other but also knew when we had to focus and work efficiently. I’m super grateful for all of the friendships that grew stronger and new friends that were made over those 48 hours,” Davis added. “Luckily, we didn’t ever have any fights within our crew, and whether it was due to the affirmations or not, everyone was cooperative and grace-giving. That led to our success in the end.”