For six student filmmakers, fulfilling the criteria for the 48-Hour Film Festival required inspiration, improvisation and maybe even a little lens solution.
The Bowdoin Film Society's (BFS) annual competition gives participants one camera and one weekend to plan, shoot and edit films. Their shorts submitted this year vied for audience and judges' awards at a screening in Sills Hall last Saturday.
The judges called for contestants to integrate one prop—sunglasses—and choose between or combine two genres assigned at random to each team.
Angie Guerrero '11 directed "Focus," a film noir. The film's tension builds as the actress, senior Samantha Chin, goes about preparing for an unknown event—putting on her makeup, taking off her ring, and picking up a handgun.
"Focus" climaxes with a gunshot and blank screen.
On the lighter end of things, first years Nicolas Magalhaes and Hugh Ratcliffe drew laughs from audience members with a mockumentary about an imagined social house and bastion of hipsterdom, "Singer House."
Audience member Bryce Ervin '15 called the film "a very good parody" and Monica Das '14, one of the festival's seven judges, praised its sense of humor.
The biographical "Ballast" by Michael McGlinchey '14 told the story of a writer returning to his seaside home in voiceover.
According to McGlinchey, there are five quotes that make up the narration. The first four are the writer's voice and the last quote from "La Peste" by Albert Camus, shown in some frames.
Sometimes the shots move in reverse, and the camera fluctuates between close-ups and long shots of the setting. Clouds race across the sky, the camera moves through fields of grain, or the focus turns to a single rusty window latch.
Das felt that the narration occasionally took away from its cinematography.
McGlinchey said his film was "about moving on...and just trying to find a place to realize that there is more to life than that one special person."
The judging process took two hours, and the judges privileged the creative use of their criteria.
"Beer Goggles," by two seniors, BFS Co-President David Shuck and BFS Co-Vice President Eric Binswanger '12, was rewarded for its tongue-in-cheek integration of the sunglasses prop.
The film also won the Audience Award which was decided by ballots handed out to audience members.
An "experimental thriller"—the only film to combine the two genres to which it was assigned—"Beer Goggles" features a bevy of bros who venture into the woods and drink beer around a bonfire before passing out. Upon waking, one member of the group finds his vision severely impaired and crawls along the brush in search of his friends.
The audience, privy to the same fuzzy viewpoint, moves with the character as he encounters shadowy figures, an unsavory pile of excrement, and then at last, his friends—who point out that his dilemma is a malfunction of eyewear.
Lucas Fowler '12 , another festival judge, said, "'Beer Goggles' was exactly the type of thing I wanted to see the prop used for."
For all four films, however, the undertaking was a whirlwind project.
On the direction of the films submitted to the 48-Hour Film Festival, Shuck said, "It develops as you're making it."