Sunday evening – 18th March – 6.55pm – and the tension is high in the disused social security offices above Edmonton Green Market. There are five minutes to go for the deadline for handing in the final complete film for the 24 hour film-making marathon. “Patient64”has already been handed in, and, with a minute to go, “A Fresh Start” has made it – to some considerable relief, and cheers all round.
Two teams were set the task of devising, shooting and editing a film within 24 hours. The marathon started at 7pm on Saturday 17th March and finished at 7pm the following day, followed by a screening.
The event, open to all film-makers over 18 years of age, living or working in Enfield and Haringey, was organised by the North London Film Partnership (NLFP). The NLFP is supported by Enfield and Haringey councils and Film London, and supports north London film-makers through film funding, increasing participation in film-making and training opportunities and by creating a network hub and facilities for all emergent film-makers.
The event was sponsored by DECODE equipment who kindly provided cameras, sound recording, lighting kits, whilst the edit kits were provided by wehiremacs.com The event kicked off with an introductory workshop, but, beyond that, the teams had an entirely free hand to devise, shoot and edit a short film in 24 hours.
Brek Taylor of the NLFP said “Following on from the huge success of last year’s 24 hour marathon film-making event we decided to run another”. The event is an effective and enjoyable networking and training event, encouraging further film-making activity.” Brek, stayed at the event for the entire 24 hours and was there for advice and assistance. Brek is herself a dedicated film-maker, who, along with NLFP’s Elizabeth Mitchell, was co-director of Island (2011), described as a “fairytale thriller”, a story of abandonment, love and revenge. (Available on DVD). Brek originally trained as a Ballet Dancer before working in film and television as an Editor and then Development Producer. She set up Tailormade Productions in 2005 with Elizabeth Mitchell to create imaginative and compelling productions through collaboration with a diverse range of artists.
The film-makers for the 24 hour Marathon arrived at 5.00pm on the Saturday, and the NLFP Producers, Brek and Elizabeth made sure that all participants understood the rules and the working arrangements for the next 24 hours. Then followed an “ice-breaking” introductory workshop to encourage and help with skill sharing. Thereafter film mentors were on hand to provide expert advice or an extra pair of hands depending on what was needed.
All of the film-makers who attended had applied in advance to advertisements placed by NLFP, and all lived or worked in either the London Borough of Enfield or Haringey.
A clever device of the marathon is to ensure that all the participating film-makers start with a completely “blank slate”. It isn’t possible for the film-makers to come to the competition with a “ready-made” story to film. The competition is so designed that the idea, writing, shooting and editing is encapsulated within the 24 hour period. All participants are requested to write on a piece of paper a film genre, a prop, and a line of dialogue. Whatever other props, or dialogue is used, the rules require that those from the draw must feature.
A few minutes before 7pm the draw was made. The first team had “film noir”, as the genre, “a fruit platter” as the object, and “I dreamt about this” as the line of dialogue. The second team had “drama”, as the genre, “a notebook” as the object, and “I think I knew it from the beginning” as their line of dialogue.
The teams, (or “production groups”) are not randomly picked, but are selected in advance by the NLFP Producers in order to have a good spread of skill sets and experience between the groups, and, for example, to ensure that each group has an editor. Outside actors can be used but no allowance is made for the time taken in recruiting actors.
The teams could, if they wished, work during the night (and were invited to bring a sleeping-bag) – The “Patient64”team did just that – and went home to recover on Sunday morning, returning on Sunday afternoon to complete the edit.
The final film had to be of a maximum length of 7 minutes, not including the credits.
“Patient64”featured a mental health patient with a humorous interpretation of how he saw life, we can’t say more than that or will give the idea away and
“A Fresh Start” was about a prisoner making plans for once he was out of a jail but with a nicely delivered twist.
The director of “Patient64”, Ufuk Gokkaya, said “It was great to give a film-makers of different experiences a level playing field. Having made nearly over 40 films, it was refreshing to work with new talent and learn new skills and along the way”
The director of “A Fresh Start”, Nathan Bartholomew, said “I found the last 24 hours a good challenge, so often film-makers talk about making a film and I love the fact that the 24 hour film marathon forces you to get on with and make it happen”.
And, at the end of a tiring but exhilarating 24 hours how did Brek sum up the 2012 24 hour film marathon? She said “What is really important is that all participants get something out of it. I was really impressed with the way in which all the participants worked so well together – this can sometimes be difficult because artistic creation can produce strong views! However both teams were great at listening and supporting each other – it’s not easy to do, particularly at the start of careers when you’ve much to prove, but it’s a vital skill to have to progress in the industry. A massive congratulations to everyone who took part as they made entertaining films and created a wonderful atmosphere in which to work too.”