Nine teams produce videos in 49 hours

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

By Phil Collins

Teams sat in a semi-circle in the English Building on Friday, waiting together for the contents of the brown paper bags in the center of the room to be revealed. The mystery items would at least partially dictate what the teams would be doing for the next two days. Each team waited for one bag and although each bag contained the same objects, they would not be used in quite the same way.

At last, 7 p.m. rolled around and the teams were allowed to open the paper bags as the 49-hour clock officially began to tick. A couple balloons and a slip of paper listing an extreme close-up and the line “it went too far” were found in the bags.

The prompts were the building blocks for a full weekend of creativity captured on camera.

The teams had just officially signed up as part of the 49-hour film competition, an event put on by the registered student organization Illini Film and Video. Entrants receive a prop, a line of dialogue and a shot to include in their films. They then have 49 hours to turn in a completed film running a maximum of five minutes in length. The completed films will be screened at Illinites this Friday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the Courtyard Cafe of the Illini Union.

Jack Huffman, freshman in LAS, said his team did not have a specific plan in mind before seeing the prompt, so they went by their intuition based on the items in the bag. Huffman and his teammate, Ashwin Torke, freshman in LAS, decided to make a fake trailer for a film about a girl with a peculiar ailment.

“It’s an absurd trailer about a girl who is deformed, I guess you could say with balloon hands,” Huffman said.

The team spent about 10 hours working on the film before the editing process began. They started editing it four to five hours before the 8 p.m. deadline on Sunday. Samantha Smith, senior in FAA, said the locations in the film were spontaneous. Smith acted in the film as the girl with balloon hands. Sunday, the group met outside of the Illini Union and filmed in various locations inside the building and on the Quad.

“So what’s my line again? What’s my motive?” Huffman asked Torke, who filmed him on the Quad.

“You’re angry,” Torke responded, directing Huffman through a few takes of angry shouting.

“You’re nothing but a freak!” Huffman shouted into the camera.

The team used Torke’s equipment to film and edit their entry. Additionally, Illini Film and Video had equipment available for people to use for the competition. Torke said the club asked that teams use their own equipment if they had it so people without a camera would have a chance to compete.

Huffman and Torke had worked together on short films before, so the 49-hour deadline to complete the film did not concern them too much.

“Me and Jack used to do projects in high school, and we would only have a couple days to do it so it’s kind of how we’re used to working,” Torke said.

This year’s competition had 15 teams sign up, some with just one name registered and others with as many as nine people signed up. Joey Burgess, president of Illini Film and Video and senior in Engineering, said there were a total of 47 people registered between the 15 teams. By the end of the competition, nine films were turned in.

“So far they look pretty good,” Burgess said. “It’s always kind of neat to see what people come up with in that time.”

This is the second year the competition has been in the 49-hour format. Burgess said the competition was one week long before last year. While this year’s installment ran from 7 p.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Sunday, last year’s was held on the weekend Daylight Savings Time ended so the competition ran from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Sunday, still giving the teams 49 hours to finish their films. This year’s competition was pushed back a weekend because the end of Daylight Savings Time fell on Halloween weekend.

The teams will be on hand to watch the completed films during Friday’s screening, which will also be open to the public.

“I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s projects,” Torke said. “This is really the first time we’ll get to see a lot of different people in the club all doing the same kind of project.”

The teams that participated in the 49-hour film competition produced nine short films that will screen at Illinites on Friday. Here are a few entries:

“The Life of Bob”: Everyday life in college is explored through the eyes of a man who has a balloon where his head should be. This team, called The Former Disqualifieds, was (you guessed it) disqualified from last year’s competition.

“Thanks for the Shitty Camera”: The subtleties and surrealistic aspects of campus are examined. Green Street and Green Man make appearances. Team XXtreme Team Death Squirrel 2.0 filmed this one.

“Den Ballongen” (“The Balloons”): A fairy tale by Team Awesome. A balloon grapples with the challenges of death as it sets out to save its mother.

“Black Balloons”: A writer struggles with writer’s block. Kurt Werner, senior in FAA and Engineering, composed original music for this film during the 49 hours.