48 Hour Film Experience (SA) is a triumph

By Enrique Lopetegui [email protected]

Director Rod Guajardo and producer Ralph López during the shooting of the gorgeous-looking Aftermath.

The films for the 7th Annual 48 Hour Film Experience (SA) were shown Wednesday night at the Guadalupe, and I had a blast. If you don't know what this is, here's a crash course: filmmakers are divided into teams and given a theme, location, and genre to work with, and 48 hours to write, shoot, and edit the films, which should not exceed eight minutes in length.

Every single one of the 17 films were, at the very least, decent; several were good, and a handful of them I was very enthusiastic about. The winners will be announced at the 2011 Film San Antonio Holiday Reception 6pm Tuesday, December 13, at Sunset Station's The Depot (1174 E. Commerce), but the following are my personal, unofficial "winners."

Here's some of the highlights (repeat: these are only my personal best; the official winners will be announced on Tuesday):

My personal favorite: Pete Barnstrom's Zombocalypse 3-D

In spite of the sound - and other - problems, this film stole my heart, and little Cooper Barnstrom not only stole the movie, but wrote it. "On Saturday, I picked up the actors to take them out to the 'middle of nowhere' [the location they had to film at]," Barnstrom told the Current. "I asked Cooper to tell T.J. Jones (the tree), Johnny Quattlebaum (Butt Badface), and Justin Riley (Triple X) the story while I drove. Johnny ran camera and T.J. held the microphone as we heard his story. We had to ask him a lot of questions and draw some things out of him, but the story is entirely that of a 9-year-old writer." This is the result:   Biggest ovation Veronica Hernández's Drought of Essentials It's a steamy, hilarious General Hospital-meets-Mexican telenovelas parody, but the best part is in the opening credits: Vero's team absolutely nailed it. Best ensemble cast: Mark Cantú's Love After I hate romantic comedies, but this one's special. I liked every single actor in it, but this one's about the girls, all perfect in their roles (kudos to Jamye Cox, Maxie Bern, and Skylar Brown). One of the night's big triumphs, and a movie that, in the wrong hands (and with the wrong actors) could have ended up as a cheesy mess. Best actor: Nicolas Nadeau (from Taylor James Johnson's Come of Age) Best overall this-guy-knows-how-to-put-a-film-together movie: Pablo Véliz's Hypnosis I've been giving Pablo a hard time for years: the guy knows how to make a movie, but so far he's opted for predictable melodrama. If Hypnosis is any indication, there is a whole different Pablo Véliz coming up. This is his edgiest film to date, and I loved it. Watch it here. SPECIAL MENTIONS (The good and the bad): Best script: Amanda Farmer's Film Blanc (directed by Kimberly Suta) A b&w film noir where a private dick investigates why the patron's of a bar are so damn boring. Best characters: The two inept cops in Ruben Rodríguez's The Best Gift. This was my favorite pic until Zombocalypse 3-D blew my socks off. A whole series could be done on these two guys alone. Watch it here. Best movie name: Relationshit Things to improve in the 2012 edition: 1 - During screening, if there is a problem with one of the films, the problem should be fixed and the movie should be shown in its entirety. If this is not possible, at least someone should explain what the hell happened. But for the last couple of minutes of Girls Reading Books, produced by Frank R. Robles, we could hear the soundtrack but the video was stopped, and that was no freeze frame. Or was it? If so, good try, but it didn't work. The movie ended, the show went on, and no one cared to explain. Wrong. 2 - Towards the end of the evening, the concession stand decided to distribute free pop corn to everyone, which was great. The problem was that they distributed the bags by walking the aisles while the screening was going on. I was sitting in the aisle, so I had to stand in the back to be able to see anything. Dude: do it before or after, not during. 3 - How come there is no list compiled by the film commission on who directed, wrote, and acted in all these films? All I got was a list of team names and producers, but no one else is listed. The commission was kind enough to accommodate my needs, and the festival was a success. But it's hard to write down the names of the directors and actors while watching the films without losing any of the action, and stupid to wait until the end of the festival to start yelling, "Hey, who directed Aftermath?!" "Does anyone know the name of the actor who put his crotch on the girl's face in Relationshit?" Just saying... Congrats to all of the filmmakers, even those I didn't mention. As I said in the beginning, every single film was decent, and it is not easy to make a film, especially if you only have 48 hours to do it. But the party continues: I'll be at the Josephine Theatre tonight for the SA Local Film Fest ($10, 7pm, 339 W Josephine). I hope the good streak continues.