Lexerot Filmworks Crew, winners for Best Film, Best Line and Best Character for their film "The Marriage Magician."
You want to make a movie, but you have nothing: no one cast, nothing written and you have 48 hours to do it. Go.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I describe the 48 Hour Film Project as the equivalent to the Iron Man Race or some other mind numbingly difficult marathon that is virtually impossible to accomplish. Originally conceived by DC filmmaker Mark Ruppert in 2001, the idea behind the project is to give anyone who would like to make a movie the chance to do so––in 48 hours. After registering and assembling a team, filmmakers are given a character, a prop and a line of dialogue (which all must be included in the film) on Friday night, and have until Sunday night to complete their movie. The project has grown immensely since it started up, and now 80 cities on five continents participate. The Salt Lake project itself had over 600 filmmakers submit 40 films.
The required elements were: Meg or Miles Madigan, a magician, as a character, toilet paper as a prop and “What were you thinking?” as the required dialogue that had to be included in each film.
I was lucky enough to attend the awards ceremony, but I also feel I was lucky not to have seen all 40 of the films submitted. This is guerilla filmmaking at its finest, and with 600 filmmakers working on completing films in such a short amount of time, there are bound to be some mixed results. The theatre was full of the filmmakers and fans of renegade cinema. Brian Higgins, the producer for the Salt Lake project, lightheartedly introduced the festival, what it was all about, and introduced the films. He took special care to emphasize the 48 Hour Film Project is all about having a good time and not getting killed in the process. The films shown varied in time from four to seven minutes, and were well mixed in genre. Here is a breakdown of the award winners for the evening:
The Marriage Magician
Best Film, Best Line, Best Character
A couple experiencing marital difficulties stumbles upon an infomercial for the perfect scientific cure for their problems. The lead character steals the show with his portrayal of a would-be scientist who resorts to quirky and corny sales techniques to push his products. Lexerot Film Works took the lighthearted and fun nature of the 48HFP to heart as it was apparent that they were having a great time filming the evening’s big winner.
Greene Motion Pictures
One of the more serious films dealing with heavy material of the evening. A PTSD-stricken husband is harassed by his dual personality as he tries to keep it together for his wife. Reflections of the character’s past help to create a strong understanding of the torment that the lead character is feeling as he struggles with his emotions. This film does a great job of creating a sense for those of us who have no idea what it feels like to try to cope with the trauma that can scar a person for life.
The Final Fourth
Best Cinematography, Best Sound
A U.S. military base is taking its last stand under the lead of their fearless general, all while they have unknowingly been infiltrated by a spy from the future who is collecting relics for a museum of past milestone battles. For being assembled in such a short time, this film made great use of special effects and apparently had an actual Air Force hanger at their disposal. The banter of the cast brings sense of humor to a disastrous situation.
Night Of Productions
This tale of a magician walking his assistant through an amazing and deadly new trick is confusing as hell, but ends with a great ah-ha moment. It is edited in a way that gives the audience small pieces of misleading information about the motives of the magician and the outcome of the story.
Miles Beyond Magic
Spaghetti House Productions
Best Music, Best Genre
This is a documentary about a one-trick magician who manages to pull one final great trick out of his hat. The best part of this film is all of the stock footage of the great magician’s rise and fall from notoriety. Interviews with his fans, assistants and his arch nemesis add to the stone-faced humor that they magnificently capture.
Heung Yau Films
Finally, a movie exploring the magical potential that can be found in a roll of toilet paper! A magician stumbles upon the great ability to manipulate time that is possessed by a roll of two-ply. He and his assistant manipulate time with disastrous results as the origin of the powers are unclear, and the scenarios laid out are funny and random.
What’s a Film Permit?
This one has it all: gender bending muppets and a woman who can only read your mind when you are thinking about death metal. What more do you need to make the perfect film? That about sums it up for me.