2019 Genres, descriptions and examples

Posted 14th June 2019

2019 Elements

Compulsory Sound Element: Laughter

Joyful? Maniacal? Nervous? Fake? Are your characters unable to hold in their laughter or they laughing out of politeness? It’s up to you! We want to hear laughter in the films this year. This is the compulsory SOUND element, so you don’t have to show someone laughing on screen, but we do have to hear it.

Compulsory Action Element: A Double Take

Wait… Did you just see what you think you saw? A double take is when a character looks at something, looks away, and then looks back. Maybe it’s because they didn’t register what they were looking at immediately, maybe it’s because they’re facing a difficult decision and would rather look away… or maybe there’s no obvious reason at all. We just have to see a double take.

Compulsory Technical Element: Overhead Shot

Finally, a competition mandated reason to get that fabled drone shot! An overhead shot is simply a bird’s eye view of a scene or subject. It’s often a shot from over someone’s head (duh), though we’ll accept anything as long as it’s from up above; we need to be looking directly down at a situation. The height of the overhead shot is up to you, whether it’s from 100 ft or 10, so you can use your drone, or simply stand on a chair with your camera. It’s a cool shot to get, but remember, the best shots are always motivated by the narrative, so if you’re going for the best use of tech element award, make sure you have a good reason to shoot from above.

Compulsory Physical Element: Wind

That’s right, this year, our final compulsory element is literally a compulsory ELEMENT: Wind! We need to see wind, hear wind, or know wind is a-blowin’ somewhere in your film for this to qualify. You’ll need to be creative both technically and narratively with this; wind can often be quite hard to capture on audio without it sounding horrible, and if you want to stand out you’ll need to incorporate it into your story in a way no one else has - So don’t just dump a bunch of fart jokes into your film and assume you’re the only team playing that card.

2019 ULTRA

Your film must be Split Screen

Your film must be split screen which means it needs to have at least two separate shots on screen for the duration of the film. You can have more than two shots and they do not need to take up 50% of the space each. It is acceptable for there to be brief moments with only one shot on screen during a transition from one set of shots to another, e.g. a wipe across the screen.


Break the 4th Wall moment

Your film must contain at least one moment in which a character or characters break the 4th wall and communicate directly with, or acknowledge the audience.

If you have any questions about Ultra, please contact Ruth or Ness:
Email Ness 021 120 8597
Email Ruth 021 150 7201

2019 Genres

1. The Gross-Out OR Cringe Comedy

Gross-Out Comedies include: SOUTH PARK, FAMILY GUY, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, BRIDESMAIDS, JACKASS, ANIMAL HOUSE, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, AMERICAN PIE, FREDDY GOT FINGERED, DUMB AND DUMBER and BORATCringe Comedies include: MEET THE PARENTS, DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, EIGHTH GRADE, THE OFFICE, THE INBETWEENERS, ANCHORMAN, SEINFELD and also BORAT.Take your pick! Or try to do both!A Gross-Out comedy is essentially comedy meets splatter, but instead of blood, guts and corn syrup on screen, it’s poop, vomit, excessive burping or old people making out, to name a few (but certainly not all) of the tropes. This is a comedy that is driven by disgusting effects and situations, so get your minds deep into the gutter and have some fun with it. Deliver the YUCK to earn the yuks.If Gross-Out is a little too high brow for you, the Cringe comedy may be more your style - This genre is essentially comedy meets thriller, it’s all about the unbearable tension of socially awkward or embarrassing situations that make you feel deeply sympathetic for the characters on screen. We’re talking your mother-in-law walking in on you naked, or telling an ill-timed tasteless joke at a wedding - these are pretty mild examples, feel free to go a little more hardcore. The cringier the better.

2. The Opposites Attract Movie

Examples include: 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, CLUELESS, GREASE, DIRTY DANCING, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and PRIDE AND PREJUDICETypically (though not necessarily) finding its roots in Romance and RomComs, Opposites Attract movies are all about completely different people coming together in love. Even though they’re opposites, love conquers all. Despite the formula, this genre can be adapted into loads of different styles; you could go for traditional romance like WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, or go a little more old school and dramatic with PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Make it modern and gritty like 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, or make it a fairytale like BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. We just want to see opposites attracting. The rest is up to you.

3. The Secret Identity Movie

Examples include: SUPERMAN, BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, THE MASK, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, 21 JUMP STREET, MRS DOUBTFIRE, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, SOME LIKE IT HOT, SCREAM and ZODIAC.The main character(s) has an alter ego, or a secret identity, or maybe they’re undercover. Whatever the case, they’re trying to hide who they really are. When you hear secret identity, your mind may go straight to superhero movies like BATMAN or SPIDER-MAN, but plenty of secret identity movies exist outside of that bubble; CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is a Cat & Mouse movie, 21 JUMP STREET is a buddy cop high school comedy, MRS. DOUBTFIRE is a family film, SCREAM is a horror and ZODIAC is a true crime thriller. The possibilities are endless.

4. The Wrong Place / Wrong Time Movie

Examples include: DIE HARD, LIFE OF BRIAN, HOLES, FARGO, SPIRITED AWAY, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, FINAL DESTINATION, THE HILLS HAVE EYES and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTIONIt is what it says on the tin: Your character(s) are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether they walk in on a crime going down, are mistakenly identified in a police line-up, or simply the victim of an act of god, the crux of this genre is that, while the protagonist is not to blame, it’s now their responsibility to get out of the mess they’re in... or live with the consequences. Life is unfair, but remember this genre can be a doom and gloom drama (like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), a silly comedy (LIFE OF BRIAN), a mix of both (FARGO), or something else entirely.

5. The Holiday Movie

Examples include: ELF, HOME ALONE, THE GRINCH, HALLOWEEN, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S VACATION, ROAD TRIP, EUROTRIP, RV: RUNAWAY VACATION, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILESYour film is all about the holidays and/or going on holiday. Interpret this how you wish, you can make a movie about a holiday like Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Valentine’s day, OR you can make a movie about characters going on a holiday or a vacation or a sabbatical etc. Do what you want, but the concept of a “holiday”, with any of its various definitions, must be essential to your film, whether it’s driving the plot or simply serving as a backdrop to your story.

6. The Coming-of-Age Movie

Examples include: STAND BY ME, ALMOST FAMOUS, LADY BIRD, MOONLIGHT, BOYHOOD, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, SUPERBAD, JUNO, THE WONDER YEARS and THE BREAKFAST CLUBComing-of-Age films are all about the trials and tribulations of growing up. The young, often teenage (sometimes younger but rarely older) protagonists are angsty, confused, lonely or maybe just hungry. Films of this genre are often quite sentimental (like STAND BY ME or CALL ME BY YOUR NAME), though sometimes they mix these complicated feelings with typical raunchy teenage debauchery (like SUPERBAD or JUNO). They can be simple slice-of-life stories (like BOYHOOD, LADY BIRD or THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN) or the lessons of growing up can be seen through the lens of something a little more adventurous or extraordinary (like ALMOST FAMOUS or STAND BY ME).

7. The Buddy Movie

Examples include: LETHAL WEAPON, BAD BOYS, THE HUSTLE, THE HEAT, GREEN BOOK, HOT FUZZ, MEN IN BLACK, DUMB AND DUMBER, MONSTER’S INC, SUPERBAD and I LOVE YOU, MANThis genre is all about partnership, friendship or the inevitable merging of the two. Maybe the main characters have been friends their whole lives? Maybe they’ve been forced to work together and eventually learn to get along? While often tied to cop films (like LETHAL WEAPON or THE HEAT), buddy films can also be about other professions (like GREEN BOOK, MEN IN BLACK or MONSTER’S INC), or they can just be about friendship, plain and simple (like SUPERBAD or I LOVE YOU, MAN). Friendship is the central theme here, so all you have to do is make sure that at the centre of your film, are a couple of buddies.

8. The Science Fiction Movie

Examples include: ALIEN, TERMINATOR, BLADE RUNNER, INTERSTELLAR, ARRIVAL, ANNIHILATION, THE MATRIX, MINORITY REPORT, INCEPTION, EX MACHINA, AVATAR, RICK AND MORTY and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEYAliens! Robots! Clones! Parallel universes! The Future!!! Science Fiction is one of the most prolific genres in cinema and has produced some of the best films of all time, and now you get to add to that collection. The films in this genre are all about advanced scientific or technological concepts, whether that’s exploring space (ALIEN or INTERSTELLAR), exploring the future (MINORITY REPORT or TERMINATOR), or exploring the inner workings of the human mind (INCEPTION or BLADE RUNNER), or even exploring everything we thought we knew (THE MATRIX). Get creative, build a world, come up with some crazy concepts.

9. The Musical OR Dance Movie

Musicals include: GREASE, THE LION KING, LES MISERABLES, LA LA LAND, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, A STAR IS BORN, HAIRSPRAY, HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, BEGIN AGAIN and MAMMA MIA!Dance Movies include: STEP UP, BLACK SWAN, MAGIC MIKE, STOMP THE YARD, TAKE THE LEAD, DIRTY DANCING and BILLY ELLIOTTake your pick!The great thing about Musicals is that they can really be about anything you want, the characters just have to sing. Some musicals are happy, like HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, and some musicals are sad like LES MISERABLES. Most use music as a way for characters to express their emotions, like GREASE or THE LION KING, while occasionally some take the more realistic approach of having characters actually singing in the world of the film, like BEGIN AGAIN or A STAR IS BORN.If no-one on your team can sing, you’re probably gonna go for the Dance movie. Dance movies can also be about anything you want, but instead of singing, the characters boogie on down! Maybe they’re dancing to express their emotions, maybe they’re learning to dance, or maybe they’re just dancing like nobody’s watching.

10. The Time Travel Movie

Examples include: BACK TO THE FUTURE, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, LOOPER, ABOUT TIME, THE TIME MACHINE, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, RUN LOLA RUN and PRIMERTime Travel is one of the staple genres of the competition, in which a character or characters travel forward, backward, up, down or diagonally in time. Time Travel can fit into loads of different styles, so you can feel free to go comedic (like BACK TO THE FUTURE), serious (like LOOPER) or completely off-the-wall (like PRIMER or RUN LOLA RUN). Great time travel films are all about the established rules, and while there are a lot of cliches you might find yourself falling into, nothing is better than seeing a fresh new take on such a classic trope in fictional media.

11. The Generation Gap Movie

Examples include: FREAKY FRIDAY, A GOOFY MOVIE, WHALE RIDER, LOST IN TRANSLATION, BACK TO THE FUTURE, AMERICAN BEAUTY, THE GRADUATE, GOOD WILL HUNTING and AN EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIETimes have changed, people aren’t the same as they once were. Maybe your film is about a child and their parents? Maybe it’s about a relationship with a considerable age difference? Maybe it’s about an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn? Whatever the case, the central theme of the film needs to be about the difference (or gap) between two (or more) time eras (or generations!). Generation Gap movies can be found in all sorts of styles so don’t feel tied down, FREAKY FRIDAY is a body switch movie, for example, while LOST IN TRANSLATION is a bleak dramedy.

12. The Nature Run Amok Movie

Examples include: JURASSIC PARK, GODZILLA, THE BIRDS, FROZEN, JAWS, THE HAPPENING, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORSAnimals/Vegetables/Minerals are fighting back! This genre is all about chaos reigning, typically at the hands, paws or leaves of the very world we call home. Maybe an animal has gone rogue like in JAWS, or maybe a second ice age is upon us like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, or maybe the plants and vegetables themselves are rising up and taking over the world like THE HAPPENING or ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES. While this all may seem very dramatic, perhaps you’d like to focus on a more positive story like FROZEN, or a healthy mix of both like JURASSIC PARK.

13. The Real Time Movie

Examples include: 12 ANGRY MEN, BEFORE SUNSET, RUN LOLA RUN, MY DINNER WITH ANDRE, CARNAGE, PHONE BOOTH, BURIED, CRANK and 24Whatever your movie is about, it has to take place in real time. In other words, if your movie is 5 minutes long, then the 5 minutes it takes to watch needs to be the amount of time that passes in the movie. Films that take place in real time can either be slow-paced and meandering (like 12 ANGRY MEN or BEFORE SUNSET), they can be fast-paced and tense (like PHONE BOOTH or CRANK), or they can manipulate the genre to tell multiple stories still within their window (like RUN LOLA RUN). You can have multiple stories in your film, they just need to be happening in real time, so no “Meanwhile…” moments or anything like that. Play it safe or dare to be risky, there just can’t be any time jumps.