The 48 Hour Film Project kicked off its New Haven competition with a celebration on the evening of Friday, July 30th. The following images were taken at the Kick-Off party, which was hosted at the Beeracks, a brewery in East Haven, CT.
(All photo credits in this article go to Sophie Clark)
The Beeracks, the East Haven, CT brewery that hosted this year’s New Haven 48 Hour Film Project kickoff event. Not counting 2020, when the Kick-Off was completely virtual, the Beeracks has hosted the Kick-Off the last three years it has been in-person.
After checking in, teams look over the 48HFP information packets given to them while they wait for the genre lotteries and for the required elements to be revealed.
The Genre Plinko board is used to select this year’s team genres. Based on where the ball landed, a numbered envelope was drawn containing a colorful slip of paper with two film genres on it, which were announced to the waiting teams by Trish Clark, the New Haven 48 Hour Film Project event producer.
Teams intently watch the 48HFP genre drawings, both from the patio tables and the parking lot, where an overflow of teams spilled out.
The first genres of the night are drawn, for team Aligning of Screening Group C, led by Donnell Durden. This year, they had to make either a western film or a soap opera/telenovela. Group C’s films were screened at 9:00PM on Saturday, August 7th, at the Bijou Theater, Group B was screened at 7:00PM, and Group A was screened at 5:00PM on the same day.
The Kick-Off is well underway on the Beeracks’ patio, with drinks, pizza, and a food cart to keep teams busy while they wait for the genre reveal to finish.
Representatives from Weston, CT’s JAZ Ensemble, a first-time competitor that screened in Group A and was headed by Zaman Khan. They were assigned to make either a suspense-thriller or soap opera film this year, or some combination of the two.
Competitors eat pizza, drink, and watch with their teams as the genre selections for each team are drawn.
The team members attending the Kick-Off on behalf of Screening Group B’s Dutch Elm Disease, which was led by Benjamin Hacht. Shortly after this picture was taken, they were assigned by Genre Plinko to create either a period and/or comedy genre piece for this year’s film.
Teammates confer as the genres are revealed. Every team is given two possible genres to work with, and must use one or both of them in their film.
The team members from New Haven-based Jabroni Studios, now in its fourth year of taking part in the New Haven 48s. This year, when given the choice between making a social commentary film or a film de femme, they settled on film de femme, a genre they described as the 70% female-staffed company’s “wheelhouse”. This is because, by pure coincidence, they have remarkable personal experience in this genre: they’ve been randomly assigned to create film de femme pieces all four years they’ve been taking part in the New Haven 48s. This year, they screened in Group B, and were led by Nina Gumkowski.
The taproom of the Beeracks, where the New Haven 48 Hour Film Project took place this year.
The team representatives from Screening Group A’s Blackbird Entertainment, which was headed by Ronald Delucia. Dwayne Williamson (pictured at left) stated that this was their team’s first year competing in the New Haven 48s. This year, they were chosen to create either a fish-out-of-water or revenge film, or a blend of both genres.
While contestants look on, Trish reveals another team’s genre choices. Many competitors were on their phones during Genre Plinko and the required element reveal in order to coordinate with teammates who couldn’t attend the event in-person. Only one member of every team was required to check in at the Kick-Off in-person. Whether they had health concerns over COVID-19 or wanted to get a jump on film work once the event ended by staying home, many teams had members who did not attend the Kick-Off.
The Beeracks created an exclusive drink in honor of their hosting the New Haven 48HFP’s kickoff event this year. It was titled “Sleep is for the Week”, in honor of the inevitably sleepless weekends that go into competing in a 48 Hour Film event.
Trish Clark announces a team’s genres while camera operator Eamon Lineham monitors the event live stream through his camera. For this year’s event, a Facebook Live stream was created so that those who couldn’t attend the Kick-Off in-person would still be able to watch the genre and required element reveals online.
(L-R) Eamon Lineham and Kevin Ewing, who managed the New Haven 48HFPs Facebook Live stream for the evening; the livestream ensured accessibility for those who could not attend the Kick-Off in-person. Ewing, the CEO of local sponsor Baobab Tree Studios, has been involved with the New Haven 48 Hour Film Project for 6-7 years now. He said he was initially inspired to get involved with the New Haven 48s by his love of making movies, as well as a desire to support local ventures in the film industry.
Trish opens the envelope containing this year’s required elements. All teams had to include the three elements -- a line of dialogue, a character, and a prop -- in their films.
Trish unveils this year’s required character, prop, and line of dialogue, while the teams listen eagerly.
This year’s required elements, taped to the Genre Plinko board after they were announced. All of this year’s films had to noticeably include these three things: the character Victoria or Vincent Bolton (teams are allowed to choose the gender), who is an Olympic alternate, a prop microphone, and the line of dialogue “I’m/I am [again, teams are allowed to choose how they want this to be written] kind of a big deal”.
Once the Kick-Off ended at 7:00PM, when the required elements were announced, teams began to disperse to their respective headquarters for the night. Some left as soon as the announcement was made, while others lingered to chat, or to question Trish about festival rules.
New Haven 48HFP information packets in hand, teams hurried to their cars after the required elements were announced so they could start working on their films.
A wine glass rests on a table next to the Genre Plinko board, which was used to assign this year’s team genres.
The envelope that contained this year’s required elements, which were revealed at the end of the evening.
Trish stays on after the kickoff event to answer filmmakers' questions.
Several of the organizers of the New Haven 48HFP Kickoff event: (L-R) Trish Clark, who is the producer of the New Haven 48 Hour Film Festival, Mary Connata, and Elizabeth Clark. Trish has been involved in producing the New Haven 48 Hour Film Project for eleven years, and often involves her sister Elizabeth (pictured at right) in the organizing. Connata, meanwhile, has been involved in the New Haven 48 Hour Film Project for the last three to four years.
A curious door over the event space that opened onto thin air. The experience of working on the 48 Hour Film Project is not unlike stepping through such a door - you never quite know what’s going to happen once you do, but it’s certainly going to be unforgettable.