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Pictures from inside the bubble

Given New Zealanders were confined to their respective bubbles during the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 response, the online VF48Hours: Lockdown filmmaking challenge's theme was both apt and particularly challenging.

But Gisborne team Cowps Productions not only embraced the “unwanted guest” theme, they used it for the title of their short film.

Along with the theme, also announced on Friday April 17, were other elements that had to be incorporated into all participants' films. These were an arc shot, in which the subject is typically still and the camera tracks around the subject; the sound effect of an echo, and a photograph. Genres included adventure, horror, whodunnit, science fiction, and urban fantasy.

The theme for Cowps Productions' film, The Unwanted Guest, is described by organisers as a sub-genre that tonally could cover a range from broad comedy through to a psychological thriller.

“The central conceit it shares among all types of film is that there will always be a guest who in some shape or form is not welcome.”

Well, yes, given we are in lockdown.

Starring Jeff Rangihuna, Michael Hollis and Suzan Anderson, The Unwanted Guest tells the story of loss, the need to share and a wrong address within three minutes.

“Jeff has an old friend who passed away,” says the film's editor Ben Cowper.

“He has a picture of him and wants to talk about his mate and the picture. Jeff wants to hang out with Michael but Michael wouldn't let him in.

“Then Jeff realises he's at the wrong house — he's at Suzan's house and she's in the shower — and he runs away.”

Rangihuna and Anderson sent footage of the action shot on their cellphones inside their respective bubbles to Cowper who edited the action into a narrative.

Teams had one weekend to make their films without leaving their bubbles, and were given only three days warning that the competition was on.

Registrations flooded in over those three days and by the time registrations closed, a total of 2118 teams were registered — a record number.

Judges were Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright, Ellen Wong, Elijah Wood, Cliff Curtis, Chelsea Winstanley, Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira, Tom Sainsbury, Karyn Rachtman, Rick Kalowski, Mette-Marie Kongsved, Karyn Kiyoko Kusama, Adam Wingard and Annick Mahnert.

The grand champion will be awarded the top cash prize of $5000, from a total cash prize pool of $10,000.

The top films in VF48Hours: Lockdown, will be screened and streamed in a one-hour best-of television special on TV2 tomorrow at 9.30pm. A special repeat screening will be held on Duke TV at 9.30pm on Saturday.

In the lead up to the finals, Spinoff has been screening a selection of seven films, including some behind the scenes material and the filmmaking teams behind them.

BUSY AS, BRO: Actor Michael Hollis fields a call from Jeff Rangihuna who wants to visit for a heart-felt chat in Cowps Productions' VF48Hours: Lockdown filmmaking challenge entry. Picture supplied