Kittens, Zombies and Romance at This Year's i48 Fest


On June 1, 46 crews of Boise filmmakers got a sealed envelope containing a genre, a prop, a line of dialogue and a character. The teams had 48 hours to script, plan, shoot and edit a three- to six-minute film that included all of these things.

This was the ninth-annual i48 film fest. The best films screened at the Egyptian Theatre June 10, after showing in front of judges the night before. Out of those 46 films, 16 debuted at the theater.

The films were all over the place, from a National Geographic mockumentary on dating to a horror film based on the recent face-eating naked guy in Florida, ending with a kitten on a journey to Flying Pie Pizzeria.

Andrew Ellis, managing director of the competition, started it nine years ago after seeing a similar event in Washington, D.C. He said he’s impressed with what the teams create each year.

“After a while, you think that the well’s going to run dry, but I’m constantly surprised by what people come up with,” Ellis said.

And he always enjoys coming up with the props each year.

“It’s a very, very scientific process in which [I] go to the dollar store and see what [I] can buy 40 of that [I] think would be accessible to all genres,” Ellis said.

The Best Of i48 is Ellis’ favorite part of the competition. He said he likes seeing the community of filmmakers come together and show off their work. When asked if he had a favorite, Ellis said, “I can’t choose among my children.”

But the judges could. This year, Boise Weekly’s Best Use of Boise award went to Broken Film Work’s The Trouble with Man, a film comprised of still black-and-white photography with a foreign narrator and subtitles.

The Novice Best Film award of the evening went to Blind Filmmakers’ Infection, the story of a couple hiding from a zombie attack. The film, in only a few minutes, got hearts pumping.

And Best Film in the open division went to Blame Lana!’s Slice of Life. The interview-style comedy visited Tim Barnett, a “slylist,” or slice stylist, on the quest to make the perfect slice of pizza using rulers, levels and string in his calculations.

Much to his surprise, 22-year-old Chris Sproul won Best Actor in the novice division for Ghost Ship Productions’ First Hit. The film followed a new hit man on his first job, and the debacle of killing the wrong people (five of them) before realizing he wasn't in the correct apartment complex.

“It’s a very hard, engaging process, but it’s fun,” Sproul said.

Sproul is currently a film student at Boise State. Though he won best actor, Sproul said he isn’t used to being in front of the camera.

“Usually I’m behind, writing and directing and doing stuff like that,” he said.

Sproul's team was comprised of five friends who have been making films together since high school. They already hope to participate next year.

Ellis gave the teams a hint for the 10th year of the competition, telling them they will be allowed to remake one of their past movies. But until they receive that sealed envelope next year, that’s all they get.