The clock is ticking

Ever wonder about the filmmaking equivalent to baking a cake from scratch in 10 minutes? The answer:’ Making a film, from start to finish, in two days. That means getting a topic and genre on Friday night, then having the film shot, edited and scored by Sunday.
If it sounds impossible, it’s not ‘- but close. And every year, filmmakers from around the world accept the daunting challenge as part of the 48-Hour Film Project. And while the challenge is open to any level of filmmaker, be it student, enthusiast or expert, most of the teams are made up of film and video professionals.
Monday night, ’48 Hour Film Project:’ Best of All Time’ screened at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline:’ a showcase of about 14 films the project has yielded since 2001, no shorter than four minutes and no longer than seven according to the official rules of the challenge.
But as short as they are, it’s just long enough to catch a glimpse of what a frenzied weekend each team of filmmakers experienced, and what innovative minds they have.
Here’s how it works according to the official 48-Hour Film Project rules:’ In each city, filmmakers are assigned a prop, a line of dialogue and a character that must be included in the film. Line, prop and character are consistent by city, and each individual team selects a genre at random.
Forty-eight hours later, each team should be ready to present their motif-driven mini-movie. For the 2009 fesitval, there are 14 possible genres which include romance, sci-fi, western and superhero.
Last year, around 30,000 filmmakers in 70 cities participated, with 90 teams from Boston, said event curator Ben Guaraldi.
The films that screened Monday night were chosen by Guaraldi, director of outreach for Boston’s branch of the film project, and he warned the audience ahead of time they were based solely on his taste in movies. About five of the films Guaraldi chose were from Boston, he said.
Each film started the same way ‘- an introduction by name, filmmaking team and genre ‘- but they each took great creative liberties with their assigned genre.
For example, one film titled ‘Piggy’ was posited as a drama, but really showcased the trials and tribulations of a guinea pig as told through a video game.
Quirky though it may seem, this is part of what gave the films such undeniable charm. Just about all of them were hilarious, except for a stand-out horror film. All of them are available to watch at Before you check them out there, here are some highlights:

This mockumentary about a married couple who rub graves as a hobby was filmed in Boston at the Forest Hills Cemetery. The film profiles an unusual couple, Jan and Spudgy McGonnagle, and their grave rubbing (not robbing) addiction.
It got a lot of laughs at the screening, particularly at the part where Spudgy admits that sometimes when the couple is having sex, he accidentally yells out the names of people whose graves they’ve rubbed.
It was awarded Best Directing, Best Acting and Best Film for the 2004 Boston project.

‘Kitchen Aide’
This is a fantasy movie about a dishwasher named Irene Livingston who lives in an apartment and dreams about washing exotic dishware.
When a new tenant moves into the apartment, she becomes ecstatic to learn that he has a wok and colorful plates. However, the new tenant is deeply depressed about the loss of his wife and is attached to a wine glass that used to be hers.
In order to make him happy, the dishwasher sacrifices her perfect record of never having broken a glass in order to make him cease his habit, and in turn, make him happy. Her sister, the oven, is a feisty appliance who doesn’t care much for humans and her other sister, the telephone, eavesdrops on his conversations.
It’s an interesting take on the ‘fantasy’ genre and a cute movie.

‘Birthmarked for Death’
Made in Minneapolis, this is a film in the detective/cop genre about a hitman’s first wack job, but it is really more of a comedy.
It’s the story of a mob member who is horrible at his job. He is actually a substitute teacher and becomes friends with the cop he’s supposed to kill while on the way to a dump site.
The title of the film comes from the way the cop gets caught. While hanging out undercover with the mob, he rips open his shirt to show off a birthmark he has that looks like Italy. But when he does so, he accidentally exposes the wire he’s wearing to monitor the mob.
In the end, the cop gets shot by the substitute teacher/mob guy as they laugh together making jokes as friends.

The 2009 48 Hour Film Project comes to Boston the weekend of May 1, with films screening at the Kendall Square Cinema the following week.

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