Richmond’s 48 Hour Film Project is back and there’s plenty of unique, original films being screened at the By
Richmond’s 48 Hour Film Project is back and there’s plenty of unique, original films being screened at the Byrd this weekend as a result.
The 48 Hour Film Project gives local filmmakers a chance to test their skills under a tight deadline (48 hours, duh) with a few required elements featured in every production.
This year’s elements included:
Character: Nat or Natalie Uplifter, Therapist
Prop: a letter
Line: “I have been trying to tell you that.” (or “I’ve been trying to tell you that.”)
42 of the 48 teams here in Richmond completed their films by deadline, and this Sunday afternoon the Byrd Theatre will screen all 42 features and announce the winners in a ceremony at the end of the event.
We sent contributor Maya Earls to follow a film team back in 2013 and the end result provided some great insight into the breakneck speed the teams work:
A variety of people joined in the competition, from a young teen making his first film to a professional team of 20. The teams would compete for a variety of judged awards, including “Best Use of Prop,” “Best Writing,” and “Best Musical Score,” as well as audience choice awards.
I caught up with Adam Stackhouse of AVAdventure Productions and photographer Matthew Cowan to see how they were able to best make use of their two day time frame. Stackhouse had participated in the competition since it arrived in Virginia in 2007. After last year’s 48 Hour Film Project, Stackhouse’s film “Knock Knock” was awarded best film and best editing.
Watch that film here:
This year, I walked to Stackhouse’s shooting location, the back porch of a quaint home in the Fan, on the second day of the competition. He told me that while some groups like to rent out locations around Richmond, his team usually use their own homes. He also said that he mainly chooses the actors or actresses from a group of close friends.
The team had already chosen some of the details of their production, coming up with a plot and searching for a flag at Walmart the previous night. They had only found an American flag and a Tennessee state flag. The team decided to make the house guest Max, and had to work with “Drama” as their genre.
Stackhouse’s plot included a love-triangle that brought forth a violent argument and ended with a body being dragged while wrapped in the American flag. Stackhouse explained the dramatic theme was a little out of his element, for his team usually likes to include witty humor. Staying true to the genre was just another challenge of the 48 Hour Film Project.
Stackhouse and friends returned this year under the team name Team Team Team (you can still check them out at avadventurefilms.com. He said their movie dealt with gender identity and starred a mannequin and a monkey puppet. It’s called Ready or Not.
Two stills from Ready or Not
Stackhouse took off from 2014’s Project because of scheduling conflicts, but he was glad to return this year calling it “a great creative exercise.”
“That’s why we do it, above all else,” he said. “It’s a chance to test out the core mechanics of movie-making. From crafting a story within the assignment to executing on a vision – technically and stylistically in 48 hours – is a great time-locked challenge.”
Stackhouse also noted the return of former RVA 48 Hour Project producer Ellie St. John to this years contest.
“[St. John] did it in the early years of the project and knows what she’s doing,” he said. “It’s great to have a Producer on the ball with dealing with 40+ teams on her hands, old and new.”
Team Team Team was ready this year and managed to wrap their move with 5 hours to spare and a full nights sleep. They planned things out a bit more this time, with Friday night set for locking in a story and script. They spent Saturday filming and starting to edit, and on Sunday they took a final few shots and cleaned things up.
“I think part of the successful process – for us at least – is being able to produce work we’re happy with (we are indeed happy with this year’s movie) without literally losing sleep over it.”
This Sunday you can catch Ready or Not, and 13 other of the “best films” from 2015’s competition, followed by an awards ceremony. Pick up tickets in advance here
Sunday’s screening includes the following films:
“Ready or Not” by Team Team Team
“T/I” by Iridescent Films
“Fool Me Twice” by Pixel Drop
“Eat” by Shields Shoes
“Beyond Help” by Housecat
“N.A.T. 3000” by STOP! everything
“Run” by Unboxed
“Nat Uplifter and the Downtrodden” by One by One
“Shelter” by The Casual Gentlemen
“Justice Fists of Fury” by Cracker Funk
“I Prefer Abby” by The Kitchen
“Wrecktify” by WECP
“Does Steve Buscemi Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Cinema Garbage
“The Loud Imaginings of Noah the Mute” by The Heights