Helena College student film wins national award

Mara Flynn, a student filmmaker who worked on “No Ordinary Time"
Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 18:45:44-05

HELENA — A student-made short film from Helena College recently received an award from National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The film is from 2021 and is entitled “No Ordinary Time.”

“It's so crazy, like it doesn't even feel real. Like you said, it's a huge honor to come from Helena, you know, kind of this small place, and Montana doesn't have much to do with the film world and all of that. So, to, you know, come from there and get to share the stories from Montana and have those stories be recognized is just amazing and a huge honor,” said Mara Flynn, a student filmmaker who worked on “No Ordinary Time."

The National Student Production Award was given by the NATAS. The 18-minutes film centers around the history, arts, and cultural impacts of the Spanish flu in Montana in the early 20th century, drawing relation to the Covid pandemic.

The film was born out of a summer film program through Helena College made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and in collaboration with MAPS Media Institute of Montana.

High school juniors, seniors, and recent high school graduates spend a couple of weeks putting together a film over the summer.

Dr. Ari Lee Laskin, director of the NEH Program at Helena College, believes the academy chose this film over others because of its timeliness and use of history to relate to the modern day.

“It tapped into a zeitgeist. This was 2021, and the students were struggling with living and going to school and work in the pandemic. And there hadn't been a lot of films on that quite yet,” says Laskin.

Flynn credits the film’s success to the team of students she worked with.

“If we had a single person missing from that group it would not have been the film it was. And everybody contributed in their own really unique way. So, I'm just really grateful to have gotten to work on a project. And I'm grateful that it's gotten to reach as many people as it has,” says Flynn.

“No Ordinary Time” has also won several other awards at various film festivals.