The Hunt is a feature-length (108 min) documentary about the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt, the largest scavenger hunt in the world. The Scavenger Hunt dominates the campus of the U of C for four days each year and channels the off-beat intellectual energy of the students into mayhem and, almost shockingly, fun. A team of 15 judges compiles a list of 300 items each spring, which range from the traditional scavenger hunt fare of finding things, to elaborate art and construction projects, to obscure trivia, to musical and stage performances, and beyond. Teams of all sizes compete, most of them operating out of dorms, but there are also a few small self-proclaimed "independent" teams. The list is released on Wednesday night at midnight, and the teams have until Sunday afternoon to build, find, or perform all the items. Memorable moments from ScavHunt 2002 include the construction (and staffing with performers) of "terrorist" and "peace keeper" caves and tents on the quads, the invasion of a classroom by a group of Tolkien-esque elves in full costume, and the population of the Midway with half-scale dutch windmills for one afternoon. Check out our Visuals page for some stills.
The Chicago Reader says in its review of the film: "with the success of TV shows like Jackass and Fear Factor, a documentary like this may be an idea whose time has come."
The Hunt is Periphrastic Films' first feature film, and was produced with assistance from Fire Escape Productions. Over 170 hours of footage were shot during the four day event in May 2002, and post-production and editing went on into the fall. The film premiered on November 19, 2002 at DocFilms at the University of Chicago. The Hunt is also an official selection of Indiefest Chicago 2003. Information about additional screenings is available on our Screening Info page.