On October 17, eleven teams of NYU Shanghai students stepped up to campus film club 24 Frames’ challenge in the One in 24 competition, creating a completely original short film – from storyboarding to shooting to post-production – in just 24 hours. This year’s competition asked filmmakers to focus on the theme “connection” and an assigned object or prompt unique to each group. Viewers can vote for their favorite film at the premiere on November 7 (keep watching 24 Frames’ Engage page for the link), but catch a sneak peek of their work here. Chamomile: Jikai Zheng ’21 wrote the film script all the way from Alaska while her teammates filmed all the scenes in Shanghai. Drawing on the theme of “connection,” Zheng says they wanted to unravel why connections happen, even to the most dissimilar people—in this case a botany lover and her lonely classmate. “I want the audience to…cherish the friendships and connections around [them],” said teammate Xue Mingyin ’24. RED: “This is a story about loss, chasing and being uncatchable,” says Zhang Deyin (Mia) ‘23. Set to a dream-like soundtrack composed by teammate Chao Lecheng (Alan)’23, the protagonist chases after a mysterious woman in a red summer dress all around the city. The biggest challenge they faced was dealing with the noise and crowds while filming scenes at the Long Museum. “We didn't have time to go to another location to shoot as it got darker,” Zhang says. “Limited with a small space to shoot, we tried our best to make it good.” Connect with the Colorful World: These filmmakers drew inspiration from their assigned object - a tube of paint that has been stepped on - to craft a story of how friendship can overcome depression. Health was an important theme in this year’s One in 24 competition, as each team was paired with a volunteer “Health Ambassador” who made sure filmmakers were able to follow appropriate anti-COVID protocols throughout the competition. Can We Breathe Again?: The makers of this film ran with their prompt of uneven breathing quite literally—the film depicts a woman in a mask jogging through urban and nature scenes as the narrator questions the state of humankind and nature’s ambivalence to COVID-19. 0913: A mysterious box labelled “Dangerous Goods” provides the catalyst that transforms the Century Avenue campus’s basement into the eerie setting of a high-stakes game of hide and seek. Like the makers of 0913, many groups used their assigned objects as inspiration for their storyline. The Note: Zhang Yutan ’24 says she and her teammates initially struggled with conflicting ideas about their assigned object, a mask, until the connection theme showed them the way forward. “All of our previous thoughts were about connection, and since wearing masks makes it harder to talk face-to-face, we began to think about other methods of communication,” Zhang said. Her team’s film ultimately tells the story of two students who stumble into friendship through a book. Follower: The iconic Oriental Pearl Tower - appropriately illuminated in NYU Shanghai purple - forms the backdrop for this thriller, which puts a sinister twist on the common social media term. Filmmaker Cao Haomin ’24 said that despite the technical difficulties the group went through trying to film many scenes in the dark, One in 24 was a great experience. “The idea of making a film within 24 hours is really unique and exciting, so we used this opportunity to challenge ourselves and meet new people.” Foreign: Cryptic images - including a printed message reading “Help” in Braille - lie at the heart of this tale of a young man’s relationship with an imaginary person. Filmmaker Ken Wu ’24 says he and his teammates were inspired by the use of Braille on nearly every sign on the Century Avenue campus. “Normally, Braille is read with hands by visually impaired individuals, hence Braille is a foreign concept to the majority of people,” Wu said. “When we put it in our film, we printed the characters on a flat piece of paper, which represented the failure of communication between individuals about their struggles.” Lunchmeat: Despite a scrapped story line and a lunchmeat-cutting mishap that sent him briefly to the hospital (note the bandage on his finger), Steven Sun NYU ’24 and his teammates successfully met the One in 24 challenge with a story based on a real-life relationship snafu. “This film is a black comedy. We build up an intense mission in the beginning, … and when we actually reach the end, we only get an emoji of question marks,” Sun said. “Suddenly all the tension and seriousness built up before falls apart.” Her Death: Matt Zhao Jiashi ’23 says he and teammates Hazel Dai Yuntong ’23 and Chen Ketong ’23 learned a lot about the filmmaking process as they shot their film. “We didn’t have time for a storyboard, so every shot was unprepared and improvised,” Zhao said. “Sometimes it could turn out beautiful and other times we’d wonder why this scene looks like one in an educational propaganda film. Then we’d have to make quick judgements and test out new things right away.” IMI: In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, this year’s One in 24 competitors were encouraged to film primarily at NYU Shanghai facilities. The makers of this film took that aspect of the challenge in stride, incorporating shots from every corner of the campus and residence halls into their film.