2011’s 48 Hour Film Festival

I took a step back this year from directing and joined my friend Stephen van Vuuren’s team as director of photographer. After last year’s debacle, in which I felt I failed miserably as director, I wanted an opportunity to watch a pro go to work and see how he handled the role and pressure that comes from helming a 48 Hour team. Needless to say, I learned a lot. I may go back to directing next year, but I had so much fun this year, I’m hoping that we’re able to keep the same team next year. This year was a blast and I’m very happy with our final product.

The 48 Hour Film Festival is an annual event that is held all over the States and in several other places around the world. Each year, teams are randomly assigned a genre and then a character, prop and line of dialogue is drawn in which every team has to incorporate into their film. The film has to be made in 48 hours including editing, sound, score, etc., no exceptions. This year, we drew film de femme, Don or Donna Hastert who has to be a plumber, crayons, and “where did you go”.

After the drawing on Friday we sat around discussing what our story was going to be. We had several good ideas from an exploitation film to a woman’s version of Starsky and Hutch. Having to take into consideration our cast and the abilities of our crew, the writer’s went off to write what we thought was a good idea at the time: a modern version of Straw Dogs.

After about an hour or so, the writers came back and said they had something completely different in mind and after reading the script, I’ll admit, I wasn’t completely on board. The writers wrote the entire piece from one specific moment of revelation. After reading the script, I felt that it was gimmicky and that it exploits people’s religious beliefs. I also didn’t think we had enough material after reading the three page script as the 48 hour films have to be between four and seven minutes. I didn’t think this was going to work. The director assured me that the time wasn’t an issue and that he understood my misgivings, but I would get it at the end. Having worked with Stephen many times and have enjoyed almost everything he has ever produced, I had complete faith that he was right and I was wrong.

I could give the details about how we filmed it, but there really isn’t much to say. This was the smoothest shoot I’ve been a part of since we made Invaders from Uranus several years ago. The only challenge of the night was finding locations. We wanted to shoot it at one place, but having specific needs, we weren’t able to find the perfect home. So, eventually, we filmed in two different ones and used stock images to help sell our story. If you watch closely, you’ll see there’s actually five different homes for our lead character.

I just want to mention again how much I enjoyed this year and that I learned a lot about running a 48 hour team. Usually, in these types of community events, you often work with “first timers” as this is a great opportunity for people to experience making a film for the first time with relatively little investment. And while there is a lot of pleasure in watching someone experience the joys and hardships of film making for the first time, it does make it more challenging to have a smooth operation. Fortunately, this year, our entire cast and crew consisted of pros and I think it shows in our film. Enjoy:

Here’s our entry in this year’s 48 Hour Film Project:

Genre: Film de Femme
Character: Don or Donna Hastert, Plumber
Prop: crayons
Line of Dialogue: “Where did you go?”

Jaye Pierce – Eve
Kirby Wahl – Don Hastert

production sound – Anna McDonald
makeup and art direction – Lindsay Golden
gaffer and grip – Mickey Flyn
script supervisor – Shelia Duell and Mickey Flynn
“Ave Maria” by jacob arcadelt – performed by Sheila Duell
music arranged by – Marie van Vuuren and Stephen van Vuuren
director of photography and visual effects – Ioannis Batsios
written by Lisa LopeZ and Stephen van Vuuren
produced by Marie van Vuuren
directed and edited by Stephen van Vuuren

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