Filming just as fast as they can

Fire Escape Films took over the basement lounge of Stuart Hall last weekend, transforming it into an impromptu film-editing studio for the third annual 48-hour Film Festival. For the festival, open to anyone, students form film crews that write, shoot, and edit a whole movie.

On Sunday afternoon, two hours before the 6 p.m. deadline, I visited Stuart. Earlier in the afternoon Claire Tolan, ’09, woke up late after pulling an all-nighter to record her dialogue in a sweltering hallway. The ten-person film crew for Tolan's movie—Myrtle Goes to Her Sister’s—had topped off the evening with a breakfast at Valois before taking much-needed naps. Then Tolan and part of her group (Aidan Roche, ’09, and Jon Kurinsky, ’09) edited the film and put in final touches.

The basement scene was somewhat hectic—Bollywood music and guitar riffs blared from speakers. Some groups sat in front of computer screens, paying rapt attention to their works, while others frantically tried to recall everyone they needed to thank in the credits. Fire Escape required that group members attend an introductory meeting where they were taught some basics (how not to break the camera), but for many groups, a lot of the footage splicing involved learning as they went along. Fire Escape's committee members meandered among the editing computers, answering questions about background music and how to make a credits sequence.

In the end, 16 groups completed the marathon. Last night Fire Escape screened the completed movies in Max Palevsky cinema. Students gathered to see an ode to vices (with John Donne’s poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning recited as voiceover), a mash-up of the beginning of the animated dinosaur classic A Land Before Time, and a Slumdog Millionaire parody. All the films were met with applause—the viewers knew that they were watching the results of an atypical college weekend. This time, it was on the big screen.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

Select entries from 2008's 48-hour Film Festival

March 4, 2009