From the 17th to the 19th of May, many students in the Macleans Filmmaking Club gave up their weekend to take part in the 48 Hours Film Challenge. With over 500 teams from across New Zealand entering each year, this event is recognised on a national level as the country’s “largest guerilla filmmaking competition”. 

Macleans College had thirteen teams involved, all of whom were given the demanding task of writing, shooting and editing a short film within a two-day timespan. Every team is given their own unique set of prompts and requirements that they must follow when coming up with their creations, with categories including different camera shots, specific genres, character archetypes and keywords. 

Despite the obvious challenges that stood on the long road of producing a piece, the Macleans teams were able to beat the pressure and deliver a plethora of creative one-of-a-kind films. 

“This experience really pushed us to adapt to anything really, and we learnt to always be flexible; it really changed our tolerance and worked our problem solving skills.”

Chloe Lam, group leader of ‘MACOPPOLA’ (love the wordplay, all hail Sofia Coppola)

After asking the 48 Hours cohort about their experience with the event, I was able to procure some statistics that will hopefully inspire interest in some of you.

When asked about their favourite parts about the challenge, twenty-two people mentioned filming as the star of their show. Seven people liked editing the most, and two talked about the thrill of acting in front of a camera.

Contrastingly, things that the cohort found most difficult included staying motivated, managing their time and getting enough sleep. Team work was also a good challenge as disagreements inevitably surfaced along the way.

“Team bonding is really important because in a stressful situation the last thing you want is… You really want to work well as a team so choose people wisely. If you don’t know everyone in the team well, prioritise bonding activities. Some people think it’s not part of the project but in reality, team spirit is what makes the film come alive. A good team = good communication = an EPIC film!”

Chloe Lam, group leader of ‘MACOPPOLA’

Somewhat surprisingly, around eighty percent of the 48 Hours participants from our school were first-timers. It’s safe to say that the talent is not lacking – perhaps the next Sir Peter Jackson is amongst us already…

I got students to give me three words that they’d use to describe the event, and created a word cloud with all of their responses.

I think we can all agree that they had a lot of fun (: As proven by the answers when asked about what they gained from the 48 Hours challenge, thirty-one people mentioned that their biggest take-away was the amazing friendships that they made.

Finally, the following quotes describe the general synopsis of some of the films that were made. As you can see, the range covered by these projects is phenomenal and they certainly do not fail to entertain!

“Our film has been a fun experience. It comprises of the ideal qualities a person should have, including kindness and gratitude. It tells the story of a teenager who is poor and hates his dad for not being rich. Then, he dreams of what life would be like if he were rich. He soon realises what a nightmare that would be and becomes grateful for what he has.”

Gurnidh Matta, group member of ‘MACMINIONS’

“Lizard is wizard. Idiots hunt wizard. Lizard becomes wizard. Wizard dead. Hostage safe. Hostage evil. Everyone dead.”

Max Tollenaar, group member of ‘IMMACULATE WATAH’

“A painter who is also a murderer uses the blood of his victims to paint. A critic demands more paintings, which means more murdering. The painter kills people who mix up their rubbish and recycling. The job is finished and the painter demands even more, even doubling the payment. As the critic leaves, he mixes up his rubbish and recycling and puts them in the wrong bin, angering the painter, and ending the film.”

Sebastian Albano, group member of ‘MAC STUDIO’

From family dynamics to lizards, wizards and plenty of bloodshed, these films will satisfy the movie-tooth of any cinephile (or non-cinephile).

Check out the ‘Media At Macleans’ YouTube channel to see some great films made by your fellow students (including the ones mentioned above). On top of that, if you’re keen to experience a showcase of the best works, keep an eye out for the Macademy Awards which will take place later in the year.

Playlist of 48 Hours entries for 2024 (7 films currently uploaded)

Many thanks to Mr Cargill for all of his guidance, as well as to the group of amazing teachers who sacrificed their time to support students over the duration of the challenge. 

So… if you think you have what it takes to pull it off with your friends and be the next group of filmmaking visionaries, sign up next year and give it a go! 

26th June, 2024
Written by Hope Zhang, edited by Ally Chu
Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash, videos from @mediaatmacleans

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