WHILE some Capetonians were rocking the daisies, other steeled themselves for the toughest film challenge of their careers.
The brief contained: one genre, drawn out a hat; one character; one line and one prop; and 48 hours to produce something spectacular.
The results of the annual 48 Hour Film Project were screened at the V&A Waterfront this weekend, with the winning film to be announced on Thursday.
Its merits will then be tested against the winners from 125 cities at the Filmapalooza in New Orleans, in the US, in March.
Last year’s Cape Town winner – Past.Tense by Bench Films – placed third in the world, and was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Organiser Chule Gobodo thinks this year’s crop of shorts have what it takes to make it to Cannes.
“There’s definitely winning material in there,” she said. “They did better than the participants last year. Without a doubt Cape Town is going to the Cannes film festival.”
Gobodo said the challenge forced filmmakers to get their ideas out of notebooks and into reality.
“It takes away the excuses. With 48 Hours, this is all you’ve got,” she explained. Gobodo was amazed that only three films out of a total of 26 did not meet the deadline.
Every team had to use three set elements in their film: a character called Nandi or Neil Msimang who was a stylist; an envelope; and the line “you gonna learn”.
When Deryck Broom and his team drew the “thriller suspense” genre, the line was the first thing to fall into place. “You gonna learn, or you gonna die” became the foundation of Jack of Hearts, a story about a card-game played to the death, filmed in the creepy Castle of Good Hope.
The Dromedary team drew “fantasy”.
“We panicked. We had plans down for virtually all the genres except fantasy,” said writer and editor Willem Grobler. “How do you do fantasy with no budget?”
And so Adelard was born: a story of a person exiled to Earth from a place called The Realm.
Love and loyalty tear him in opposite directions when he is asked to return to his home planet.
Grobler blogged: “I literally had 3.5 hours of sleep between Friday and Sunday midnight. That’s IT. Nothing more. Yet I’ve never felt so inspired and creatively alive.”
A selection of the best entries in the 48 Hour Film Project will be screened at The Labia on October 27.