Film society’s film making branch, Diff Films, returned for 2017 with style in last weekend’s 48 hour film challenge. The challenge, which is held twice a year, sees several teams of about four or five people face off in a mad dash to make a short film in the hours between Friday night and Sunday evening. They also have to include a prop, a line, a title and a plot device which are all provided for them in a lottery at the first meeting on Friday.
I myself joined in, making the film Willow’s Word with Joanna Godfrey, Amber Moss, Owen Wyn Jones and Hannah van Wyk. In the five minute short, two friends who play virtual reality Scrabble find their usual third player has gone missing- and later find out she is an AI. Amber was particularly excited to join in, as it was not just her first film challenge but one of the first things she had done at any society. She said: “I’ve learnt so much about making a film in only 48 hours and got to meet some great people too,” the kind of sentiment which must make it all worth it for the committee, of which Pete Leslie and Munzir Quraishy spent their weekend trailing all the teams to find out what they were up to- and make a film of their own, the always hilarious Behind the Scenes.
Munzir said: “This was probably the most competitive 48 hour film challenge yet with five excellent films. The groups took a while to get started but got through their filming very efficiently, one group even finished by lunch. It was a shame to see a few people drop out halfway through but those who stayed for the ride definitely enjoyed their time. We’ve even gotten calls to run another one this year! The 48 Hour Film Challenge continues to be one of my favourite weekends of the year.”
The highlight of the weekend has to be Sunday evening, when we convened at the Royal George to watch everyone’s masterpieces and hand out some chocolatey rewards. Although they were all side-splittingly incredible, the most remarkable thing was that the films got finished at all. Participant Max Modell remarked that lighting was poor due to being in a “room with a lamp which kept cutting out,” but he still enjoyed “producing amazing films with amazing people.” Ben Davies, meanwhile, had the challenge of smashing a glass with a hammer for a scene: “after about six attempts the glass still wouldn’t smash, so we decided to freeze it for about four hours.” Ben’s group also faced minor humiliation on the streets, as a man whistled the Men in Black theme as the well-suited gang walked past. Rachel Popplewell, whose script required her to go homeless for a while, voiced similar concerns about classmates seeing her out on the street. Darren Simbol, whose film was a tribute to Diff Films itself, faced an altogether different problem: “one of our original four members decided to drop out after deciding that what we were doing was completely parallel to who he was as a person.”
All of the films and the Behind the Scenes video will be available to watch on the Diff Films YouTube channel soon. Diff Films meets for exciting film making opportunities every Thursday- join their Facebook group for more information.