Meet the 2018 Challenge Teams

This year, 26 teams consisting of high school students, college students, and professionals  come together to take on the exciting challenge of making a short in 36 hours. Learn more about the contestants below. 

Here's who's film made the cut:

High School
1. VinVlogs, LukEvan Productions, Godfrey Lee High School
2. Allegory of the Cave, DareDevil Studios, Northview High School
3. the PAIN-TING, KV Productions, Kelloggsville High School

University
4. Confined, Popcorn Puppies, Grand Valley State University
5. Steve, Steven Spielberg, Kendall College of Art and Design
6. Paint That, Reel Knights, Calvin College
7. Bob Ross, Flixters with Hats, Grand Valley State University
8. Apperception, Ferris Gold, Ferris State University
9. Watcher, Gremlins, Compass College of Cinematic Arts
10. Smoke, Misfit Media, Cornerstone University
11. Closeted Hemispheres, The Taco Bell Sponsored Team, Grand Valley State Television
12. T.T.I.B, Golden Shooters, Calvin College

Professional
13. V., Power Station Productions
14. ISO, DeafEye Productions
15. That Which Burns from Embers, G-Raggidy in the House
16. Writing on the Wall, Midtown Misfits
17. Never too Late, #StayRaw
18. Total Apocalypse of the Heart, Started Out Friends
19. Harmony, Biggr
20. Collision, Bangers and Mash
Not screening: Waiting for a train; Sorry I have been busy; Indifference; Guilt; Ecstasis.

  Tanner Hamilton.

 Tanner Hamilton.

1 Team DareDevil Studios: Tanner Hamilton
I’ve grown up around creative people. My dad’s a photojournalist, my mom is a writer, and my older brother is a screenwriter in LA. I’ve always liked making things and showing them to people, and that eventually evolved into short films. I chose to be a filmmaker because I like telling stories through the lens of a camera, and I love the impact a good film can make. My favorite part of filmmaking is working with my friends, and this was a really fun experience for us.

 Frank Wiltse

Frank Wiltse

2 Team Biggr: Frank Wiltse
We are a group of industry professionals that want to give our kids an opportunity to be on set for a real production, to see what goes into making a film. We range from a SAG/AFTRA/AEA member of 30 years, to a newly minted Production Assistant, to teens in High School. All are excited for the challenge. The oldest team member is excited to try and stay awake past his bedtime.

 Caleb Joyce

Caleb Joyce

3 Team Misfit Media: Caleb Joyce
My name is Caleb R. Joyce, and I’m a senior studying film production at Cornerstone University. I believe our culture is shaped by the movies that come out of Hollywood and videos on YouTube, and the content that is displayed via these mediums has the power to change people. I want to change our culture for the better, and I believe filmmaking is the way to do that. 

 Ben Stevens

Ben Stevens

 4 Team Popcorn Puppies: Ben Stevens
My name is Ben Stevens. I am a student at Grand Valley State University, majoring in Film and Video. My interest in film spans many areas of production but I am mainly focused on writing and producing. I grew up on the east side in the small town of Davisburg. I moved to the area my sophomore year of college when I transferred to GVSU. I am pursuing filmmaking because of my love for story, and cinema's unique ability to reflect and convey emotion.  I participated in this challenge last year.  I love doing this challenge because it forces crew members to work together as a team and build off each other’s ideas. The time constraint allows us to push ourselves creatively farther than we think we're capable of. And yet, there are still opportunists to have fun. While I want to make the best film possible, the steaks are still relatively low. We are able to stay true to our vision for the film. I am excited to see what my team and others produce, but most of all I'm excited to for the process.

 MJ Harrell

MJ Harrell

5 Team Deafeye Productions: MJ Harrell
My name is MJ Harrell, and I am a filmmaker with a unique vision. Growing up in Gates North Carolina, I’ve always enjoyed photography and had a true appreciation for nature. Growing up, my vision has been limited in my right eye, and as a child, this has allowed me to pay attention to details a lot more than those with perfect vision. I started out as a solo hip hop artist, and eventually became a lead vocalist of a prominent band in the Hampton roads area. We did a lot of hip-hop and rock music, and we even had performances when we brought the two genres together. I’ve been on MTV, BET, and I’ve done numerous shows as a music artist. Deep down, I didn’t share the same passion for music as I did for filmmaking watching my vision come to life as a movie or short film. Upon my arrival to Michigan, I worked numerous jobs that were simply in place to make a living to support myself and my family, but now I’ve taken the step to where I’m focusing on watching my dream come to life and I have been grinding ever since. If you’re looking for a unique performance, a driven director who has a great passion for the art of film then I am your guy! 

 Team Steven Spielberg

Team Steven Spielberg

6 Team Steven Spielberg
Kendall College of Art and Design brings to you a unique blend of Digital Media artists including: Ashley Kalin, Kelsey Kamrowski, Owen Loughrin, Matthew McDaniel, Sean McManaman, Caleb Sumney, and Tys Yoder. Skill sets range from sound design, video, motion graphics, and 3D animation. Collectively, we decided to enter ourselves into the 36 Hour Challenge because we would like to demonstrate our passion for storytelling and challenge ourselves to become better artists. 

7 Team Power Station Productions
We like making movies because we like movies. (No pictures from team Power Station Productions)

 Connor Durow

Connor Durow

 Xian Castillo.

Xian Castillo.

 8 Team Golden Shooters: Connor Durow
My Name is Connor Durow. Growing up, I loved writing skits and stories to go film with my friends. In my free time, I love to watercolor paint, sketch, and animate my own cartoons. I never saw myself as a filmmaker until recently. It was only during my Freshman year at Calvin College when I finally realized that this hobby could turn into a career. Now I am a double major in Film Production and Business Marketing. My Goal as a filmmaker is to one day write and direct my own feature films. This is my first time doing this challenge and I plan to learn lots and have fun in doing it!   

 Luke McGee

Luke McGee

9 Team Something Studios: Xian Castillo
I am Xian T. Castillo, captain of the Something Studios team and ever since I was little, I was fascinated by anything behind-the-scenes on any movie I could get my hands on. Movies were everything for me, but I never really considered filmmaking as a career path until about 3 years ago, when I was sitting in class, talking to my now co-creator of Something Studios, William Baker. We were discussing a video game we both enjoy playing, and one of us said: "What if there was a movie based on this?". Thus forth, Will and I have been completely obsessed with filmmaking. At this point, we couldn't imagine anything else we would want to do with our lives but tell these stories, in the only way we know how. We are very very excited to participate in this challenge and gain new experiences from it.

 10 Team LukEvan Productions: Luke McGee
I am Luke McGee, a 16 year old junior in high school.  I have been raised in a family of artists; people who have cultivated my love for creativity and imagination. As I grew up, I found that film was one of my favorite ways to express myself in a personal and widely reaching manner. I enjoy writing, filming, editing, and being a part of such a wonderful team of kind and brave people. LukEvan Productions is excited to begin their next challenge!

 Katie Fox-Webb

Katie Fox-Webb

11 Started Out Friends: Katie Fox-Webb
An Ohio native, I made my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and Intercultural Studies from Cornerstone University.  I am a freelance producer, photographer, and coordinator of chaos. I decided to go into the film industry because I believe in the power of storytelling and how it can unify, educate, and make change. Working primarily in corporate video production, our team is excited to flex our creative muscles and tackle this 36-hour challenge! 

 Ben McCarthy

Ben McCarthy

12 G-Raggidy in the House: Ben McCarthy
I'm just someone following my dreams. I am a proud father of three boys and a husband going on 11 years. They are the reason that I continue to dream. Stories have always been my passion, and growing up movies were my escape. I want to help others escape. Film making is something that I would love to make a career out of. My team is amazing and we are excited to see what we can come up with. I want to thank GRTV for their support. Remember, every moment is a chance for an adventure.

 Erion Adams

Erion Adams

13 Team Trust Films: Erion Adams
Currently I am a junior in high school but I've had the love for filmmaking, well.. mostly cinematography, since my freshman year. Between my freshman and junior year, I like to say I've been pretty productive. I signed up for an after school video class at WMCAT which opened many doors for me. I've been able to work with companies like Gorilla and Carbon Stories, I helped make a documentary that has been seen by a few hundred people in Grand Rapids, I've helped friends on personal short films, and I even got to begin 2018 with the release of the first music video I've worked on with close friends that share the same interests. I've never participated in one of these challenges before, but I'm excited to see what my team and I can do in 36 hours.

 Virginia Hargrove and Angela DeGarmo

Virginia Hargrove and Angela DeGarmo

14 Team Midtown Misfits
Angela DeGarmo
, the producer from Owosso, and Virginia Hargrove, the director from Perry, pulled together a very diverse group of filmmakers for this challenge. The Midtown Misfits consists of team members based throughout the Greater Lansing Area. We support a group that ranges from twenty year old college students to forty year old independent filmmakers. Each of us have unique skill sets that will benefit the overall project and as a team we are ecstatic to take on this project to see what we can accomplish together. 

 #stayraw  Val, Kriss, and Kyle

#stayraw  Val, Kriss, and Kyle

 15 Team #stayraw
We are a group of filmmakers from Grand Rapids, MI who are passionate about telling unique stories. We didn't choose filmmaking, filmmaking chose us!

 Team Austin's Powers

Team Austin's Powers

16 Team Austin's Powers: Olivia St. Arnold
We are students from Compass College of Cinematic Arts + one inspiring high school student (not pictured). Somehow, someway, we made decisions that led us all to the same place at the same time, not knowing filmmaking would be our calling. We love to show stories, not just tell them. We love to act, direct, write and everything above and below the line. We want to make an impact on the world. We want to make films.

 Benyamin Aki

Benyamin Aki

17 Team The Crimson Knights: Benyamin Aki
My name is Benyamin Aki. I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and as far back as I can remember I have always been fascinated with filmmaking, the first film that I can remember peaking my interest was “Star Wars”. It wasn’t until high school where I became more serious on being a filmmaker. Over the years I have continued to evolve my craft in hopes to give the audience the same feeling that I had felt when watching “Star Wars” for the first time.

Other 36-Hour Challenge teams include:

POS Productions, 9 Seth Trowbridge, Amanda Learman, James Sturtridge, Austin Stuk, Emma Hankey, Elizabeth Herrud, Dale Jackson, Spencer Russell

Flixters with Hats, 3 Jacob Farah, Coleson Anderson, Sydney Martin

KV Productions, 5 Tiler DeWitt, Josh Zeigler, Majesta Baker,

Bangers and Mash, 3 Jackson Swan, Harley Dean, Devon Mathews

Reel Knights, 4 Ha Jin Kim, Samuel Bushi, Moises Kabandana, Joe Bae

Ferris Gold, 18 Nick Kuiper, Jonathon Eaton, Jessica Fidler

The Taco Bell Sponsored Team, 9 Graham Hall, Brandon Allen, Kyle Maccoimei,

YUS Entertainment, 3 Trevor Heasley, Michael Sanker, Matthew Sanker

Gremlins, 7 Lamon Shyne, Max Burchart, Lucas Kapla,