The rules are deceptively simple. Gather a team and produce a short four- to seven-minute movie in 48 hours. You could do it in 45 or 37 hours, but you'd better not take 48 hours and one minute. Oh yeah, and you have to use a green apple or latex gloves somewhere in your film. You have to have a character named "Ashley Cooper" or "Pat Brown." One more thing: Someone has to say "That's going to leave a scar," or "Make sure you wash your hands first." Oh, and they're going to assign you a genre of filmdrama, horror, science fiction, mockumentary, comedy or Western. Don't like your theme? Fine, you can do a musical instead.
These few guidelines didn't stop over 50 teams from entering this year's i48 Film Festival, the brainchild of Gregory Bayne and Andrew Ellis, two local independent filmmakers. The number of teams has grown over the three-year life of the festival, with 33 entering in 2004 and 48 in 2005. With experienced teams returning this year, the competition is heating up. Teams had to choose to compete in either the novice or open (professional) categories, but the choice was up to the teams and no rules prohibited a professional team from entering the novice division. A $1,000 cash prize was awarded to the winner of the open division, versus the $500 purse for the novice winning team. And there was also that little thing called bragging rights.
Co-director Bayne said 43 teams finished their movies within the allotted two-day time limit. A few teams turned in their films late or went over the time limit and were disqualified. (The late entries were screened during the festival but not were eligible for competition.) On Saturday, May 20, all films entered were shown at the Flicks, and on Sunday, May 21, at Boise High Auditorium (a late change of venue from the Egyptian Theatre) the best of the entries were shown followed by the award ceremony.
I didn't expect that films written, shot and produced in such a short amount of time could compete with films that are planned out for months, have top talent and huge budgets. But that was what made it fun. The films lacked professional polish, but some of the opening credits seemed quite upscale. The acting wasn't great, although there were moments of brilliance. The dialogue was rough, but sometimes a line made me stop and ruminate on it. The sound was hard to hear, then again, sometimes it was too loud. The lighting was bad in the sets. The editing was sloppy in some cases. But hey, they're amateurs, folks. You try making a movie in two days. That being said, and with the audience mostly filled by the teams and the friends of those who competed, it was extremely inspiring to see what 48 hours could produce.
One filmdeserving of some kind of award but shut-outwas i48: The Making of Forbidden Fruit about the team making a musical for the competition. Another team also chose to take on the musical genre and made Cookie: the Musical, which had a disturbingly large person with dough hanging from his head in a gingerbread cookie costume singing with a chef. The ridiculousness of it all made the audience roar with laughter. Marked as Paid had elements of genius in it, while the winner of the novice category, Potatoes of the Damned, was so disturbingly cliche it had to win.
This year's awards in the novice category were:
Best Picture: Potatoes of the Damned by Mothership
Second Place Best Picture: Change Your Luck by Los Sillas Rotas
Best Actor: Bill Watkins in Change Your Luck
Best Actress: Paige Peterson in The Big Event
Best Cinematography: Desert Man by The Committee To Keep Movies Evil
Best Sound: Potatoes of the Damned by Mothership
Best Screenplay: Change Your Luck by Los Sillas Rotas
Best Use of Prop: The Bake Off by On The Fly
Best Use of Line of Dialogue: Zapped by Zap
Best Use of Character: Case 1342: The Murder of Pat Brown by C2 Films
Best Use of Genre: Spectrum by the Phelinphrutating Idriomats
This year's awards in the open category were:
Best Picture: Quiet Man: The Silent Genius of Ashley Cooper by One Good Cow Productions
Second Place Best Picture: Night With a Dancer by Apt Pupils
Best Actor: Tyler Walker in Team Take Back
Best Actress: Gretchen Jude in Quiet Man: The Silent Genius of Ashley Cooper
Best Cinematography: Night With a Dancer by Apt Pupils
Best Sound: The Attendant by LensCap Films
Best Screenplay: Quiet Man: The Silent Genius of Ashley Cooper by One Good Cow Productions
Best Use of Prop: Marked as Paid by Flub Pharmacy
Best Use of Line of Dialogue: How The West Was Once by Pelicula Prod.
Best Use of Character: We've Got a Secret by The Fly Film Collective
Best Use of Genre: The Cowboy Debacle by TBP