If your weekly horoscope reads, "You might become an accidental film extra," don't be surprised. This weekend, novice and experienced area filmmakers alike will be jostling for juicy angles, engaging in public fights over script revisions and begging local folks to act natural in the background as they race the clock to wrap up their shoots. It's all part of the fun of this year's i48, the sixth annual 48-hour film competition.
On Friday, May 29, participating teams will receive a packet containing a genre, character and line of dialogue they must incorporate into their less-than-six-minute film. They also have a choice of three different props that must be used, a stipulation that has in the past revealed creative uses of clothespins, latex gloves and fly swatters. Then the countdown to the Sunday evening deadline begins.
"It's two days of running around like crazy," says Melody Herrick, who played the dual role of actress and script supervisor for last year's big winner Honest Abe. "[We're] doing everything as quickly and efficiently as possible, adrenaline running, and improvising when something unexpected happens, which is every five minutes."
All films will be screened the following weekend at The Flicks, with a Best of i48 showing on Sunday, May 31, at the Egyptian Theatre. Prizes are awarded in such categories as Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Use of Prop. The festival is both the reward of a rush-job well done and a chance for filmmakers to gather together: a rare opportunity for Boise's auteurs.
"The one thing that brings everyone together every time is i48," says Gregory Bayne, who founded the festival with filmmaker Andrew Ellis. "It blends competition with the accolade of viewing your film on the big screen and awards."
When the two created the competition in 2004, they were expecting a dozen teams to sign up, considering the inaugural festival a trial run of sorts. They received more than 30 registrations--a number that has since doubled--with teams vacillating in experience from television producers to suburban families. They've been off and running ever since.
The competition is divided into two self-selected categories, a novice and an open division, so newbies are encouraged to participate. Despite the diversity of each team's experience level, every film is a triumph, given the strenuous circumstances under which each is created.
"What's welcoming about the festival is that it's incredibly accepting," says Ellis. "There really is a sort of overall team spirit, even amongst everyone there. It's as friendly an audience as you're ever going to get as a filmmaker. Everybody understands the score; they understand what happened."
Although pre-written scripts are forbidden and each team's packet is about as predictable as a dollar store grab bag, many of the filmmakers have key steps already prepared.
"Getting talented people on board for the weekend is the single most important thing to do," says Herrick. "We have made a list of writers, actors, tech crew and musicians and asked them to be on call, but we really don't know who we will need until the script is written Friday night."
Spontaneity and creativity are two must-have qualities for surviving the i48 experience, so if these two characteristics describe you and your gang, consider rounding up a team. Registrations will be accepted up until the Friday night packet hand-off, so pick up some extra batteries, percolate a carafe of coffee and take two days to delve into your directorial depths.
i48 Competition starts Friday, May 29, at 6 p.m. and ends Sunday, May 31, at 6 p.m. Cost is $100 per team. i48 Film Festival is on Saturday, June 6, from 12:30-6:30 p.m. at The Flicks; Best of i48 screening is Sunday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre. For more information, revivalpictures.com/i48.html.