Drawing pictures and making them move smoothly may sound simple but for two days participants from Animation College Rotorua battled yawns and tired eyes to make a film for Bay of Plenty's HP48Hour Filmmaking competition this May.

The sleepiness was eventually worth it as their Rotorua AC Deezy team won three awards at last Sunday's regional awards ceremony, winning Best School Team, Best Production Design and Best Animation/VFX.

They had also been nominated for Best Sound Design.

The winning film, based on the theme "Last Day on Earth", showed an internet cafe gamer trying to complete his game in time before the world ended.

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The team tried to be time-efficient, creating a spreadsheet of around 20 tasks and responsibilities that needed to be done, including voice acting, colouring and visual effects.

Besides fighting fatigue, with some students not sleeping for 56 hours due to having class on the Friday the competition started, the two days did not all go according to plan as first year student Britt Bell, 24, found out.

She said "at least six times" she would start a task only to find out someone else had done it.

"I was like, 'All that time wasted'," she said.

First year student Josh Quinn, 20, said it was a close call getting the film in on time.

A message had been sent out telling everyone the film had been uploaded, he said, with the countdown clock next to him.

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"When the message popped up, I looked over to the countdown and it had 10 seconds left," Quinn said.

The team may have been happy to get it done but they were disappointed to see lingering mistakes in the finished film, and thought it would be disqualified.

Not only had the team not been disqualified, but it had been nominated for four awards.

"We were genuinely surprised when we didn't get disqualified," Quinn said.

First year tutor Lee Tawhai, 27, said the college's previous three entries had either been disqualified or late, so this year's entry was an achievement in itself.

"We had given a speech to the students when we were doing it, like, 'We don't want to win, we want to get it in on time'."

The annual filmmaking competition was a "very good learning tool" for the students, he said.

"For the first years, especially, it's a great benefit because it throws them into the typical animation pipeline.

"And then it's a hectic rushing of the 48-hour event, which is really cool."