Sylvania’s Tree City Film Festival prides itself on being a showcase where anyone can make a film, but not everyone can make a film from scratch in 50 hours. For those that can, Tree City’s 50-Hour Film Challenge is the time to get busy. Fast.
Going in blind
The challenge starts with everyone meeting up at The Sodbuster Bar in downtown Sylvania where Jen Archer, executive director of the Sylvania Community Arts Commission, explains the rules of the film challenge to the 17 (small and large) teams participating this year: write, film and edit a short movie (no longer than 8 minutes) in 50 hours. In addition, this year’s films must contain a scene in Olander Park, use a J&G’s pizza box as a prop, and have a character named Ed Blackbird. Film genres are randomlyassigned to each team.
David Jakes, who has made five films for past challenges, has been a movie buff for as long as he can remember: “Back in the 70s I made a few films with my parents 8mm camera. Since college, I have been working in the video industry, mostly producing corporate videos and commercials.”
The sound of muzak
Jakes’ team picked “spoof” as their genre and began brainstorming at a team-member’s house. Eventually they came up with a spoof of the VH1 Behind the Music documentary series—titling itBehind the Muzak— featuring Ed Blackbird as a fake musician who writes “the world’s best and worst jingles” for different products. With limited time, they quickly got to work: “We made calls to line up locations, researched music and set up a shooting schedule. Team-member Sean Rodman sent me the finalized script at 2am that morning.”
Early the next morning the team began filming background shots and various scenes around Sylvania. For the central scene of the film, an Ed Blackbird concert, Jakes pulled some strings and got the performance space inside the now-closed Treo restaurant. The team was all smiles. This is one of the most important parts of the process, says Jakes: “The best advice I can give is to make the day fun and that will show in your film.”
This is just one example of events, come see them all.
Saturday, March 25th. 50-Hour Film Challenge screening at 7:00. $8
Olander Park, 6930 Sylvania Ave.