I spent my evenings last week at the Civic theatre with James and Faith watching all 177 films in the heats of the 48Hour film competition.
We took one heat each per evening where we paid attention and furiously scribbled notes in the dark, which we attempted to decipher and next day and guide us to writing concise and insightful reviews for the masses.
The competition requires that each team is given a character name and trait (Jerry Reed, a hypochondriac), a prop (rope) and a line of dialogue (“What do you call that”) that must be used in the film. It’s interesting how many teams uses those to build their entire film around.
This might not seem like much, but after you’ve seen a dozen films where Jerry Reed is a perpetually sniffling, pill-popping sickie who thinks he has “the Aids”, you start to switch off. And it’s the ones who make Jerry a minor character and do something more original with their main character that really stand out.
As for my team’s film, well, it wasn’t our best effort. We didn’t take our own advice and filled it with too many in-jokes that most audience members didn’t get (and probably were annoyed that they didn’t get), and the film’s ending was really insubstantial, which is another way to annoy viewers. But having said that, the stuff in the middle got a good reaction, particularly Jimmy Can’t-Face’s urgent message. (Coming soon to YouTube!)
What I like best about the 48Hours heats is seeing how teams grow from year to year. Case in point, teen team Halcyon Entertainment, who in 2005 gave us the worst film ever, the notorious Graduate Massacre. But they came back last year with a competent musical, Next, Please, but this year they surprised us all with a sweet, tender story of a boy who befriends his hospital wardmate, a girl with cancer.
And of course there is the opportunity to see films that would never normally get a screening in the mighty Civic. A puppet penis who’s going to be “sick” on his owner? Two teens dressed up as senile veterans? A group of teens trapped in a shipping container who spend the whole time swearing? It’s all there.
It’s a great way to spend a week.