Monday mornings are usually full of some variation of the generic “how was your weekend” question. Responses typically include insightful phrases like “Went by too fast!” or “Not much.” What they generally don’t sound like is this: “Oh, I literally spent the entire weekend at school and filmed a movie.”
Except this is exactly the response you would get if you asked any one of the more than 25 Minnesota School of Business Digital Video and Media Production (DV) students and alumni who participated in the Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Project. The screenwriters worked on the script until 6 a.m., while others showed up at 1 or 2 a.m. and worked all day. They were working on little to no sleep, yet there wasn’t a yawn in sight.
Here’s the kicker—these students did this all for fun. This wasn’t required. This wasn’t procrastinators burning the midnight oil because they waited until the day before to turn in some final project. These people voluntarily gave up their weekends and sleep to participate in the international 48 Hour Film Project competition.
Here’s the gist of it: on Friday night, you show up at a designated location. The “required elements” are revealed—meaning, each film must include these three things, and each team draws a genre. The teams have until 7 p.m. on Sunday to write a script, find/set up the location, shoot the film, score music, edit, and turn it in. It all has to be filmed during that 48 hour timeframe—no pre-recorded footage allowed. And everyone, including the actors, have to be volunteers (read: they’re all doing it for free). The prizes range from screenwriting software to a screening at Cannes Film Festival (oh, and $5,000).
This year’s required elements were:
The MSB team drew the genre “vacation or holiday film.” Other possible genres included categories like buddy film, comedy, dark comedy, horror, mistaken identity, and many more.
“I was pleasantly surprised to get ‘vacation or holiday film’ because I was nervous about getting Western or musical,” said Director, Executive Producer (and student), Alicia Cole. “Holiday was broad enough for us to be creative.”
Alicia had become director of the project months ago. A fellow student and assistant producer for the film, Jono Patridge, approached her about getting a group together to participate in the 48 Hour Film Project.
“We both have a passion for getting DV students together to get more experience in filmmaking,” Alicia said. “I was immediately interested because I had heard of it and always wanted to be a part.”
The DV building was transformed into an office party setting. Despite the lack of sleep, it was buzzing with activity. The camera crew spent hours perfecting the lighting, creating the perfect angles and positions in order to turn an office space into a film studio.
The script that was selected for the film revolves around the fear of unrequited love and a work party. It is titled “Resolution.”
Alicia said the most important thing she learned from this experience was to always build bridges.
“Acknowledge the time and effort people put forth and do what’s best for the team,” Alicia said. “Like my dad always said when I was growing up, ‘flex and flow and you will learn and grow.’ That couldn’t be closer to the truth when involved in a project like this.”
You can be part of the official premiere screening of the film, Resolution, on Wednesday, June 12 at 7 p.m. at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. The more people that show up and vote for Resolution, the better the chances our students have of winning. Come see what some people can do in 48 hours.