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October 27, 2022

La Roche Entry Named ‘Best Student 48 Film’ at 48 Hour Film Science Fiction Horror Project

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 27, 2022 – The Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project recently bestowed La Roche University students with the honor “Best Student 48 Film” in the 2022 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Science Fiction Horror Project.  

The 48 Hour Project is a weekend in which a team makes a movie—writing, shooting, and editing—in only 48 hours.

“It is an incredible opportunity to make a film, but it is about so much more than that; you become part of a team that has to create together from start to scratch a film in just 48 hours,” said La Roche University Assistant Professor and Film Program Director Crystal Fortwangler, Ph.D. “The life and professional lessons students learn in those 48 hours is worth all of the energy and commitment it takes to make it happen.”

The students won for their film, “S.O.S,” and were also nominated for awards in three other categories: Best Directing, Best Editing and Best Use of Blood or Goo. Eleven La Roche students took part in the making of the film, including Aidan Carbonell, Camila Casas, Chris Curotola, Zach DeLong, Caitlin Fedorek, Matthew Knight, William Morgan, Joseph Pompeo, Austin Rodriguez, Ryan Slebrich and Gabriel Vargas. Two local high school students, Alissa Grant (lead actress) and Airica Reynolds (voice actress), also had roles in the film.

“I wanted to participate solely to challenge myself as I’ve never done something like this before. It seemed like a fun way to practice working with a group, especially under time constraints,” said Ms. Fedorek. “The most challenging part was communication. There were a lot of moving parts, so we had to have really good communication to make sure everything was working properly and on time, as each step relied on the previous one.

“It was also difficult to simply motivate myself to keep going, especially when all I wanted was a nap!” she added.

Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Slebrich and Mr. Vargas accepted the award at the 48 Hour Film awards ceremony held Oct. 23, 2022 at the Tull Family Theater in Sewickley, PA.

La Roche plans to have a team in the upcoming Spring 2023 version of the Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Project, which will be all-genre, and also plans to participate in the Fall 2023 Pittsburgh 48 Hour Film Science Fiction Horror Project again.

The entry fee for the competition and funding for some of the props used in the film were provided by Student Life.

To see “S.O.S.” on YouTube, visit

To see the students’ acceptance speech, visit

The film program at La Roche prepares students for entry-level jobs and further education in the field. Professors are industry-connected and have experience creating narrative, documentary and experimental films.


About La Roche University: A private liberal arts university in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers 66 undergraduate programs of study, six master’s degrees and one doctoral degree, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, nursing, and health and medical sciences as well as interior architecture & design and graphic design. This residential university provides a vibrant campus community for nearly 1,200 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.