The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Zombies and vampires and ghosts, oh my!

If you happen to notice a surge in the local zombie population this weekend, don’t fret. It’s probably just the cast of a local filmmaking troupe, rushing to film a monster movie.

The 48-Hour Video Project kicks off at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, giving participants until 7 p.m. Sunday evening to film, edit and submit their finished product.

Rob Mattison, the event organizer, chose the theme “Undead II” for this year’s project. This theme opens the door for movies featuring creatures of the undead variety, including vampires, ghosts and, of course, zombies. Mattison picked the theme for both personal and practical reasons.

“I like monster movies, and I think monster movies are easier to make, in general,” Mattison explained. “A good horror movie is easier to make than a comedy or drama.”

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After all, what could be more fitting than making a horror movie so close to Halloween, he added.

Mattison started the 48-Hour Video Project seven years ago and has been running it each year as a part of the Eau Claire Local Independent Film Maker group (LIF). LIF hosts multiple film events throughout the year, but the October 48-hour endeavor is his pet project.

The 48-Hour Video Project began as a way to bring together the area’s filmmakers, Mattison said. Through his job at Chippewa Valley Community Television, Mattison meets with scores of locals with a passion and talent for moviemaking.

“I can’t believe how much talent is out there that doesn’t combine forces. If people would just combine forces … we’d have amazing stuff,” he said.

But the event isn’t just for filmmakers of a certain experience level; the project is open to anyone in the area, regardless of expertise. Students, faculty and staff from UW-Eau Claire have often participated in the past, Mattison said.

Prospective participants should attend the 7 p.m. Friday night meeting at Community Television, 800 Wisconsin St. Suite 405, Eau Claire. At this meeting, specific requirements will be revealed, including the prop or dialog line each video needs to feature.

Ben Lawton, a previous coordinator of 48-Hour Video Project events, said that the mandatory prop and line of dialog are there to help ensure that filmmakers don’t get an early start on their video. Past props have ranged from items like Volume One magazines or street signs to locations like the Acoustic Café.

There are no bans against planning ahead, Lawton said. Directors can begin assembling props, gathering a cast and writing their script as early as they like. Lawton said he has already started planning his vampire-based video. Among Lawton’s crew will be his wife, Eau Claire history Professor Selika Ducksworth-Lawton.

Lawton continues to take part in the video project because filmmaking is something he’s always been interested in. He also believes that the 48-Hour Video Project is valuable to the local film community:

“It gives an avenue for local filmmakers to show their films … it makes people better at their craft. We’re all trying to support each other in making films,” he said.

The University Activities Commission will show the results of this year’s video project and present awards at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 in Davies Theatre. All campus and community members are welcome to attend, regardless of their involvement in the video project.

If you are unsure about entering, or if directing your own project makes you nervous, Mattison encourages anyone who is curious to attend the opening meeting:

“Even if you’re an actor and you want to get involved somehow, there might be groups that need people.”

For groups that cannot attend the opening meeting, Mattison has volunteered to personally meet with them at a different time.

“Our goal is to get people making films,” he said. “It’s not about rules, or money. It’s all about making films.”

For more information about the 48-Hour Video Project, visit the University Activities Commission Film Committee website at To learn more about LIF, search for Eau Claire Local Independent Film Makers on Facebook.

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Zombies and vampires and ghosts, oh my!