This past weekend we participated in the annual San Antonio 48hr Film Experience. For those unfamiliar with the event, basically you are given a genre and a location, then granted 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a film which must be under 8 minutes in length. This was my second 48hr challenge I have been involved with, the first being last year, with “Wild Sunday”. I was lucky enough to talk producer-extraordinaire Ralph Lopez, “Katrina’s Son” and “Lilia” fame, into working on our team. His wealth of experience, knowledge and can do attitude were a god send. He was able to take care of everything from catering, to additional gear, to getting me power into the cave with a generator and 500′ of cable. Thanks again Ralph! Over 20 teams participated and all entries were screened on Tuesday, Dec. 6th at the Guadalupe Theater, pics below. Awards will be handed out at the annual San Antonio Film Commission Holiday Party Dec. 13th at Sunset Station.
The theme of this year’s competition was “Drought. Life Without Water” and for our genre we pulled, “chick flick” and our location “agricultural”. Not exactly my thing, but I was up to the challenge and hoped we could incorporate our style of shooting into a compelling short film. As with all our projects, we try to be ambitious and aggressive while finding uncommon locations, this project was not going to be any different. When producer Ralph Lopez and I sat down weeks before to discuss the project, our main goals were to make something that was different, untypical, could transcend outside of San Antonio and be the most cinematic production possible with limited resources and budget.
We were fortunate to land a wonderful cast that stepped up to the challenge of shooting in a cave battling rain, mud, bats, spiders and 100% humidity. This film also marked the acting debut of Alyssa Bernal, a local San Antonio singer/songwriter that is signed to Pharrell’s label. Alyssa and I had worked together before on her music video “Soaking Up the Sun“, and we were glad to have her on board this project. The cast also consisted of Brant Bumpers, Anthony Guajardo, Ysenia Anais, Claudia Martinez and Duran Antonio, all amazing talents! Also, I can’t say enough about the crew. This motivated team of young people were running on overdrive the entire weekend and fought the elements to ensure gear, camera equipment, and lighting were in place when I needed it. My go-to crew consisted of Erik Bosse (who was also our safety expert in the cave), Ismael Rodriguez and Richard Jemal, but a few like Rasmi, Lucero and Dan were new to the team but fell right in, not only accomplishing their assignments, but also taking on additional roles, I love that! I also want to recognize someone that was integral to the production, he was rarely with us, however his role can be heard throughout the project, our sound designer, Erik Seime. He did an amazing job in such a short time-span. Once we got done with shooting and headed back to the house we called Erik to give him an idea of what we were looking for. Amazingly, without seeing almost any cuts, he was able to pull together an awesome original score. Erik, thank you for taking on this project and being so patient with us!
The Cave. I knew it was going to be a challenge shooting in such a foreign environment, but I was looking forward to it! There is no lighting inside and everything had to fit through a small entrance. I thought it would be a great place to really push the capability of the Canon DSLR’s and don’t think I would have been able to shoot this piece with anything else. The small size of the camera system really allowed me to get into tight and awkward spaces, exactly where I wanted to be. Combined with low-light capable lenses I was able to shoot all the scenes under 640 ISO to avoid noise in the image. The cave is privately owned and all I can say that it is somewhere under Alamo Heights, although long time residents have been able to figure it out.
In the end, I am extremely happy with what we were able to pull off in 48hrs. We stayed true to our initial goals, had the opportunity to work with old and new friends, and came away with memories that we can share for a long time. Again, thank you team for your dedication and spirit. We will be back in 2012! -Rod
P.S. A full blown narrative short is already in the works. If you would like to be involved, please let me know!
Thank you to Enrique Lopetegui for mentioning us and including a picture in his SA Current Article, “48 Hour Film Experience (SA) is a triumph“. However, I am a bit disappointed he did not have a “best location’ or “most cinematic” category in his personal “best of”.
Also, thanks to the power of YouTube and social media sites like Twitter, in less the 48hrs. our film has been viewed over 2500 times from all over the world and I have received 2 job opportunities outside of Texas. Cool! http://www.youtube.com/wh?v=V7akA2rlUrk&feature=youtu.be&hd=1
“Aftermath” – During a period of extreme drought, a group of young people journey in search of forbidden water.
Written, shot, and edited in 48hrs
Directed by: Rod Guajardo
Produced by: Ralph Lopez
Written by: Brant Bumpers and Laura Ahlers
Director of Photography – ROD GUAJARDO
1st AC – ERIK BOSSE
2nd AC – ISMAEL RODRIGUEZ
Crane/Dolly Operator – RICHARD JEMAL
Editor – ISMAEL RODRIGUEZ
Editor – ERIK BOSSE
Editor – ROD GUAJARDO
Editor – RICHARD JEMAL
Music Composer – ERIK SEIME
Gaffer/Key Grip – DAN MORENO
BTS Photographer – RICHARD JEMAL
Make up Artist – BRANDY DUVALL
Production Asst. – LUCERO SALINAS
Production Asst. – RASMI HUNT
Shot on: Canon T2i(550D)
Lenses: Canon 1.4 50mm, Canon 2.8 24-70mm, Tokina 2.8 11-16mm
Location: San Antonio, TX.
**all behind-the-scenes photos taken by Richard Jemal, rjemal.com and Lucero Salinas**