Since: Apr 2011
please don't make a 'brave and confronting' story about the massacre. Especially if you're from Wellington or Auckland.
This is honestly the thing I'm most afraid of. There was an earthquake film from Wellington that did very well in nationals just after the Christchurch earthquakes, and I can pretty safely say that night was the most infuriated I've ever seen the Christchurch contingent of the competition.
48HOURS is not the place to make your big statements about the world. It's a place to have fun and tell stories in a ridiculously time-constrained setting. I don't think I've ever seen a "serious" 48HOURS film about real-life disasters / abuse / suicide / whatever that hasn't completely fallen on its ass due to one inherent thing about the competition or another (even if they end up doing well in the comp). They always end up playing as incompetent, mawkish, cliched, or insincere. Or all of the above. By all means, try to break that trend - but know that the chips are stacked wildly against you.
You don't get points in the comp for dealing with Tough Subject Material. In fact, it'll almost certainly subtract points (insofar as there are "points," which there aren't), unless you're basically the best filmmakers in the world. I don't intend this to be a drama-vs-comedy debate; dramas and comedies are equally great, and this is more specific than that. Your film might feel to you like a serious investigation into a tragedy, but it will almost certainly feel, to people involved with that tragedy, cheap and shallow.
Conversely, if another One Man Army came out this year I'd be happier about it, because Mad Scientists have always clearly been doing their crazy gun violence thing for pure glorious dumb entertainment's sake (and have nearly always succeeded).
I don't know why I'm going into this level of depth, because the people who are most likely to offend in this regard are probably not the people reading this post. I dunno. Just be fucking sensitive, eh.