Flickfest Competition Attracts UWindsor Alumni

by Hani Yassine
The Lance – Arts & Culture Writer

It is no shortage of a tall order. Participants are required to gather a team, write a script, shoot the script and edit the shots. The request can be a stressful and difficult task, but when under a 48-hour deadline, these feelings are only amplified.

Part of the Windsor International Film Festival, which is entering its 13th year from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 at the Capitol and Chrysler Theatres, the 48-Hour Flickfest has become a staple tied to this annual event. This year’s competition occurred on the weekend of Oct. 13, serving as an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to utilize their skills to create a short film under a strict period. But it is not just a way to display one’s knowledge in film production, but also a test of working under pressure, the demonstration of good creative judgment and the ability to compromise with a collaborative crew.

“Sweat and tears went into it, quite literally,” said Emily Eansor, a former UWindsor visual arts and psychology student. “A lot of us are perfectionists, so we had to let go of that just to be able to finish on time.”

Eansor served as a co-writer and assistant director for ‘Tender Guise’, one of the 12 films submitted for this year’s flickfest. Based on a Roland Dahl short story ‘Lambs to the Slaughter’, the film is set in the 1950s and centres on a housewife who learns her husband is having an affair. Each submitted film was assigned the same elements which were required to be implemented, among them including a shot featuring incense and a line of dialogue saying, “Not today, kid.” In no disrespect to the other films submitted, Eansor believes the film will stand out with the help of its unique directing style and lighter tone.

“A lot of them went for a dark feel, and ours is very bright and colourful and light, and I think that isn’t something explored often at this level of filmmaking as much as the darker, more intense side of things,” Eansor said.

Eansor says the feedback from those who’ve already watched the film has been positive, particularly towards the set. The film was directed by former UWindsor film student Nathan Briggs, who was also a co-writer. With the film shot in his sister’s home near campus, a great wealth of props the crew had at their disposal helped establish the set to be authentic to its time.

“For only having 48 hours, we transformed the place to really look like the 50s,” Briggs said.

The guidelines for the flickfest allowed equipment to be prepared, shot locations to be scouted and cast and crew to be assembled prior to the 48-hour cycle. Eansor said the script was written on Friday, was shot all of Saturday and edited on Sunday with the film being submitted just 10 minutes before the deadline. Making the film was quite the learning experience for Briggs, who emphasized the importance of keeping things professional and never personal. Among the biggest aspects, he learned was that of compromise, specifically the ability to say no to have the film meet its deadline.

“I probably felt worse than the person I said no to,” Briggs said. “There’s a balance between being rude and being professional.”

Briggs says everyone involved wished they could have done something differently on the film, but he and Eansor are glad how it turned out under the circumstances. They felt lucky in being able to secure props and equipment without any cost, partly crediting the experience to their valued cast and crew.

“For something that was made in a day, I’m proud,” Briggs said. “We had a really talented crew in terms of the gaffer and cinematographer.”

This is the first time Eansor and Briggs took part in the flickfest, initially not knowing awards are to be handed out upon the films being screened. In still being fresh off the experience of the competition, they’re not sure if they want to re-experience the stresses behind the process. In the end, what they hope for most of all is people enjoying the art they’ve created.

“We just wanted to create something people would like, and if we win awards that’s even better,” Eansor said. “It’s nice on a resume and it’s nice to have people credited for their work.”

The submitted films for the 48-Hour Flickfest will be screened Nov.1 at 10:10 p.m. in the Capitol’s Kelly Theatre.

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