Photo courtesy of Tony Nguyen
From left 'It Donned on Me' members Evan Donn, Rob Carey, Richard Kemp, Dinah deSpenza and Sig Thorsen had two days to create their new short film 'Tail' being screened tonight at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.
Trade expert Gloria Lorenz is secretly being tracked by a detective as she goes about her everyday activities in the short film "Tail.”
No, it’s not the latest summer blockbuster coming to a theater near you, it was made by a group of locals who met at the College of San Mateo to compete with other small groups of up-and-coming film makers.
The film will be screened at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco Monday, July 28 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. as part of the San Francisco 48 Hour Film Project.
The film produced by the local group, who call themselves "It Donned on Me,” is called "Tail.”
"We met in a [video editing] class taught by Evan Donn at the College of San Mateo a little over a year ago,” said group member Tony Nguyen, 35. "It’s an extremely diverse group of people, but we’re all in it together sharing one passion.”
The 48 Hour Film Project started in Washington, D.C. in 2001 as a whim by filmmaker Mark Ruppert. The objective is to create a short film in two days incorporating a character, prop, line of dialogue and genre pulled from a hat. Winners in the individual cities have the chance of going on to win $5000 as the "Best 48 Hour Film 2008.” Seven years after Ruppert pioneered the challenge, the craze has caught on as quickly as the films are made with over 70 U.S. cities participating this year.
This is the second year in a row "It Donned on Me” has created a short movie for the San Francisco 48 Hour Film Project. Last year, the group was caught off guard when Nguyen took a chance and entered the class into the competition without their knowledge.
Earning him the nickname "chief instigator,” Nguyen knew it would either make or break them as a team. They took it all in stride and 48 hours later produced the film "Urgent Care.”
"I knew it could go one of two ways,” said Nguyen, a Foster City resident. "Our project would suck and I would never talk to any of these people ever again or we would produce something that was good and it would jump start us into something more, and I’m glad that it was the latter.”
Although "Urgent Care” didn’t place in the San Francisco 48 Hour Film Project, Visa — sponsor of last year’s event — chose the film as a finalist for their "Life Takes” invitational. It went on to win second place out of 120 films chosen from San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
"I knew we were going to win something because I had seen it in my horoscope,” said team member and stylist Dinah deSpenza. "They laughed at me and then we won, and I said, ‘See, I told you.’”
"It Donned on Me” has done four other short film challenges since then, including the International Documentary Challenge. In May, their film "Stick and Pound” took home best cinematography and best direction at the awards ceremony in Toronto.
Their latest effort, "Tail,” began production Friday, July 18 at 7 p.m. and had to be turned in by Sunday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. On Friday night, the team pulled the genre "detective” out of a hat, their three elements being: a character named Gus or Gloria Lorenz; a ticket for a bus, plane or train; and the line, "Forget it. I already have.”
Things went a lot more smoothly this time around for the team who says there is no room for egos when you’re trying to create a quality piece of improvisational work in 48 hours.
"Everyone works well together. The makeup person not only does the makeup, but also holds the [boom] microphone during filming,” said Michael Eyvazov, an actor in several of "It Donned on Me’s” films. "[The team] takes a lot of pride in what they do…making sure there is no sloppiness in the production.”
"It Donned on Me” has acquired several accolades in their first year and Nguyen insists they still get excited every time they get together to make a film. And although what’s most important to them is making time to do something they love, they wouldn’t mind winning the top prize at this year’s 48 Hour Film Project.
"Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to win,” said Nguyen. "But anything we win is just icing on this cake that we baked together.”