Idyllwild Festival to Feature Film by Julian Resident
The clock started at 7 p.m. on a Friday night, and before the earth spun twice on its axis, Pine Hills resident Terry Ross, co-owner of Life In Reels Productions, and her team of 50, produced a comedy short for the 48 Hour Film Project in San Diego.
Her film, “The Last Resort,” won the Spirit Award as the film that best exemplified teamwork and creativity. It was the Audience Choice runner-up at the 48 HFP Festival and went on to be included in the Best of 48 Hour Films for a screening at the 2014 San Diego Film Festival. The film’s next screening will be at the Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema from Jan. 6 to 11.
In anticipation of the 48 HFP, only the cast, crew, securing of equipment and location can be organized. Everything else — writing the script, rehearsing, costume and set design, filming, editing and sound design, rendering and media out-putting — must be completed within the 48-hour time limit to be considered for an award.
To add another level of intensity, films must be between four and seven minutes in length, and just 15 minutes before the clock starts ticking, filmmakers randomly select their film’s genre, are given a character name and occupation, a prop and a line of dialogue that must appear in the film.
Ross, whose company is currently in postproduction for her feature-length film “Carving a Life,” shot on location in Julian more than a year ago, says that one of the hardest things about filmmaking is actually completing a project. Participation in the 48 HFP provides a great impetus for such an accomplishment.
“The 48 Hour is like film boot camp,” said Ross. “It’s fun and can be very rewarding, both creatively and by gaining exposure in festivals.”
The film initially began as a class project, and Ross includes advanced students from her Acting Professionally classes in her 48 HFP films. For this year’s entry, she chose a courtroom setting to better accommodate a large cast. Since a courtroom lends itself to necessary characters — judge, attorneys, plaintiff, witnesses, etc. — Ross was able to do some casting before writing the script.
After randomly drawing the comedy genre, Ross’ first challenge was let go of her idea of a courtroom thriller or mystery and come up with a funny concept. She and co-author Lisa Bruhn researched actual court trials from 1962 that might lend themselves to comedy and discovered the last-known case of “resorting,” which is a euphemism for infidelity on the part of a married person. They began writing a script with their actors in mind.
By 11 p.m. on Saturday night with the story written, rehearsed and filmed, the set was broken down and the cast was released. Like a baton in a relay race, the job was handed off to editors who went to work cutting out whatever was not essential to the story to fit it into the tight time limit, and enhancing the story with sound.
The finished product, shown in black and white, presents a “Mad Men” look with its 1960s-era style and includes many comical moments.
Ross intends to keep returning to the 48 HFP to do more short films as well as continuing to submit “The Last Resort” to other film festivals.
By Ann Reilly Cole – Julian Journal • Thu, Jan 01, 2015