On Friday night, Jenny Wang ’16 made her way to Fuess House, equipped with her computer and a charger, ready for a late night of writing and editing. Wang, a screenwriter and participant in Saturday’s Flash Films, coordinated by the Andover Moviemakers’ Club (AMC), was on her way to meet a number of other student screenwriters, actors and directors to begin the process of writing, directing and editing a film in under 24 hours.
Ben Yi ’14, Co-Head of AMC, said, “The Flash Films were based on the 24-hour Drama Labs. I directed a play for the 24-hour Drama Labs my Upper year with the Drama Labs, and I had a lot of fun. And because I loved filmmaking, I thought it would be a good idea to combine the two.”
Flash Films are a new event, preceded by the 48-Hour Film Festival.
At 7 p.m. on Friday, all Flash Films participants—actors, scriptwriters, and directors—gathered in Fuess House, props in hand, to introduce themselves and share stories about the objects they brought with them. Scriptwriters then spent the night in Fuess and Stevens House, working until 4 a.m., writing and editing their scripts inspired by the props, using Red Bull, herb popcorn, ice cream and Oreo cookies to sustain them throughout the process.
At 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, directors returned to Fuess to choose scripts before the actors arrived at 8:30 a.m. to begin the process of memorizing, filming and editing.
The entire process, from writing to editing, had to be completed by 7 p.m. on Saturday, when the five films were screened by in Kemper Auditorium by AMC.
“We were really pressed with time… But despite the circumstances, we pulled it off, and came up with some awesome short films. And they were awesome, not only because they were strong finished products in their own way, but also because [they were] made by [students] we all knew on campus. People genuinely had a lot of fun,” said Yi.
Written by Bella Flynn ’15 and directed by Andrew Lin ’17, “Campus Conspiracy” follows Chuck, a radio show host at WPAA portrayed by Miguel Wise ’14, who uses his show as an outlet for his conspiracy theories about Andover faculty members. Alexandria Ma ’17 plays Meg, a new writer for The Phillipian, who agrees to write a story about Chuck and his outrageous theories. She interviews him but betrays his trust for the sake of the story.
“We bounced ideas off of each other, and Emilia [Figliomeni ’14, Co-Head of AMC] was super helpful! She was there to guide us through the whole thing. Once we had drafts completed, we took turns reading each other’s scripts aloud and gave suggestions for revision,” said Flynn in an email to The Phillipian.
“I think the fact that everyone was so collaborative was really helpful and unique! Even though we were all writing our own original creations, it felt like we were helping each other grow as writers and I thought that was pretty rad,” continued Flynn.
Written by Tyler Tsay ’15 and directed by Kastan Day ’16, “Perspective” tells the story of Lucius, a guy who has just broken up with his girlfriend, Claire. Shortly after the breakup, Lucius, portrayed by Zach Bamford ’14, spends a night with one of Claire’s friends, portrayed by Auguste White ’17. At the film’s culmination, Lucius receives a call from Claire’s father, who tells him that Claire has been hit by a car and is in a coma. Lucius is overwhelmed and breaks down with sadness and regret.
“When I was writing the film, I mostly wanted to grab the audience as fast as I could, so the first scene was smack in the middle of that break up scene that anyone can relate to. The rest of it played on the politics of friendships and relationships,” wrote Tsay in an email to The Phillipian.
Scriptwriters weren’t allowed to participate in the filmmaking, leaving Day with complete license over the film.
“I think that it was special to write it and send if off, and not be involved at all in the actual filming part. When I went to see it this afternoon, I had no idea what the product would look like,” wrote Tsay in an email to The Phillipian.
“A Smile for Eugene”
Written by Jenny Wang, “A Smile for Eugene” tells the story of Eugene, a zombie boy, portrayed by Cem Vardar ’15 , who cannot smile. Through a series of activities, a hippie, portrayed by Karissa Kang ’17, attempts to help him. It is determined in the end that all the zombie needed were glasses.
Max Chung ’15, an Associate board member of AMC, and a director of the film, choose from the pile scripts last, hoping to give himself and his actors a challenge.
“As I hoped, this script turned out to be a huge challenge for both my actors and me. It took me awhile to understand the atmosphere that the scriptwriter sought to achieve and when I reached the point when I thought I got the gist of it, I had to read through couple more times to picture the scenes in my head. The script seemed very abstract and profound, and all we could do was re-interpret the scenes so that we could create our own art and yet keep in mind the scriptwriter’s visions,” wrote Chung in an email to The Phillipian.
“Anything You Can Do”
Written by Avery Jonas ’16 and directed by the AMC board, “Anything You Can Do” follows a male track star, and a woman with a strong interest in fashion, who meet each other at a bus stop. Through bickering, the two characters, played by Zizo Bahnasy ’17 and Adriana Alovisetti ’15, end up competing against each other in two challenges: the fashion-driven woman must run against the track star, while the track star must prove that he can dress fashionably.
As the competitions progress, the two gain respect for each other’s passions. At the end of the film, the two kiss, signifying the beginning of a romantic relationship.
“Zizo brought his track shoes and Adriana brought her ‘diva’ glasses [to a pre-production meeting], so I decided to experiment with the idea of ‘Fashionista vs. Athlete,’” said Jonas in an email to The Phillipian.
“This flash film experience gave me a chance to really display my creativity as well as get to know some new people. It was a great feeling at the end to see my script produced less than 24 hours after I had written it,” continued Jonas.
Written by Lane Unsworth ’15 and directed by Anastasiya Prokhorenko ’15, this untitled film chronicles a love story between a boy, portrayed by Rahmel Dixon ’17 and a snowman. One day, the boy leaves the snowman, returning to find that it has melted. Weeping, the boy meets a girl, portrayed by Michaela Barczak ’15, who is also mourning the loss of her snowman. Finding comfort in each other, the boy and girl skip happily into the distance at the end of the film.
Given the time constraints, Prokhorenko was attracted to Unsworth’s script, as she felt that there wasn’t enough time for actors to memorize their lines.
“I wanted to choose something I would be able to turn into a good film in the short time given. One of the scripts included a lot of montage, and I haven’t really had any experience with that, so that was out. Others also included a lot of talking for the actors and I personally do not like directing films with a lot of talking.” wrote Prokhorenko in an email to The Phillipian.