Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Twice Upon A Time" (48 Hour Film Project)

I received a pleasant surprise today: The new and longer edit from my team's entry (Aura Media Productions) to last summer's 48 Hour Film Project competition in Washington, DC.

The film project is part of a worldwide competition. The spirit of this contest is about promoting a sense of can-do urgency in filmmakers.  They are challenged to conceptualize and complete a short feature in an assigned genre, in very limited time frame. From what I had observed, the adventure of submitting an entry by deadline eclipsed any direct competition between teams.

There are a few "catches" in order to prevent filmmakers from jumping ahead of the gun.  There are secret, surprise elements that are revealed to all the teams at the start of the 48 hour filming period. All these elements must be incorporated into the film. Last year they were:

Character  Samuel or Samantha (Sam) Canterbury, Event Planner
Prop  an envelope
Line  "You can trust me."

The director pulls the assigned genre out of a hat:

•    Comedy
•    Dark Comedy
•    Drama
•    Film Noir
•    Film de Femme
•    Fish Out of Water
•    Horror
•    Musical or Western
•    Road Movie
•    Romance
•    Sci Fi
•    Silent Film
•    Thriller/Suspense
•    Time Travel

We got "comedy" with parody as the sub genre. So a parody of a fairly tale was crafted: Twice Upon a Time.

My contribution had a limited but visible role in the longer cut of the film. My artwork was in the background inside of wicked Samantha Canterbury's castle dwelling. In reality, the castle dwelling was the director's condo building party room that can be rented out for resident events. I took down much of the designer match-y art already on the walls and hung as much work as I could bring, mostly on the entertainment shelves for big screen tv watching. (We took down and/or hid all the electronics.)

Veronika Downes as Samantha Canterbury in "Twice Upon a Time" copyright 2014 Aura Media Productions

For this, I was given a Production Design credit. There were other visual artists on this team who shared this credit. They stayed up late creating the pencil portraits and other art in the magic book, and in the background of the final credit roll. 

In the competition, the run of the entries must be capped at seven minutes. A lot of footage gets left behind in editing, and my own art was pretty much a brief blur. I was a little disappointed, but considering the hard rules of the contest. I had figured getting edited out could be a possibility.

No, we didn't win....but I'm glad to see Aura Pro Media took the time to re-edit the footage for the original seven minute entry to a piece (in this cut, seventeen minutes) that better reflects their vision. In this one you can see much more of my artwork, as well as the rest of the crew's contributions, and a more developed storyline. 

I was impressed with the friendly but no-nonsense hard work and cooperation of everyone on set: Director Stephanie Cristancho, Producer James Lewis, the actors, the film crew, the hair and makeup artists, the wardrobe coordinator, the catering, and those who doubled their duties with providing transportation early and late hours to the rest of the cast and crew. My first experience on a film set was a positive one, and I would enjoy more opportunities to contribute my artwork in ways that would be of service. 

Here is the (approximate) seventeen minute version of the short film:

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