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Hannah's Boring Life

I love Toot Toot.

While I think you'll probably never top THE WISH, at least in my eyes - I was delighted to see a somewhat different approach taken this year with HANNAH'S BORING LIFE.

In a weird/absurd/contextual way, this almost Toot's most mature film to date, or at least one which felt a little more concerned with its story and its characters than the expendable joke vessels from your previous films. I liked this, having a main character I could get behind in a film still as silly as it is, and Kathleen's performance is unmatched (or at least it would be if this year's Best Performer category wasn't so goddamn stacked, Jesus I'm only realizing now how conflicted I am on who deserved to take it home).

I once again appreciated the lampshade hanging on the use of elements, and while everything was ticked off, heartbeat was the stand out and sadly the only one we nominated. Ya'll basically have at least one of the element awards locked every year now, and while heartbeat is maybe your most obvious, your previous wins for best use of wind and best use of door slam give me the confidence that you'll continue to up the stakes here - if you were a lesser team I'd say something like "maybe the bubble is about to burst" here or "you can't keep doing the same schtick each year" but you're always so goddamn inventive with it that I don't mind.

Things you got right: A delightfully on brand film which embraces story and character in a way you haven't before.

Things to work on for next time: uhhh get even crazier? Idk

Blackheath Station

Pretty top notch camera work, pretty effective performances.... but what was the story? It kind of feels like this story was a loose excuse to use the locations, costumes, music and have a big old dance with friends. It's a lot of fun, but I'm not sure its a short film. TITLE REVIEW: I quite like the sound of Blackheath Station, it has that "emotionally tied to a location" vibe of something like Brokeback Mountain.

The Negotiation!!!!

Toot Toot have finally flown too close to the sun, and while I personally vibed with this film deeply, I may have been the only judge who did. They all need to watch more youtube poop and look at more shitpost memes.

I would have loved to have included this in the city finals, and it feels stupid and arbitrary to give it a proper balanced critical review, I guess I should still throw in my thoughts.

This film is weird and marvelous and strange, and while I'm not especially familiar with Microsoft 3D Movie Maker, I am familiar with this aesthetic and it was a downright joy to watch it make it's way into my crop of 48Hour films.

If I was to realistically give one piece of feedback, I'd say that your choice to go with intentionally shitty microphones to record your drunk actors was maybe a misstep - and a great case-in-point for how audio is more important than video, because those $15 microphones prevented a lot of audience comprehension, and while I understand respect wanting to be authentic to the 12-year-old version of yourself who would have made a film like this, I do wonder if clear audio would have helped anyone watching follow the story closer. I'm legitimately not sure anything else needed to change.

Challenge for next year: Half of me wants to say "do what you want" and half wants to implore you to get back to your previous level of quality, but I know better than to mess with artistic genius.

News BITE

A funny concept and a great twist ending, but definitely overstayed its welcome. This film could have been a slick 90 minute sketch and have hit the same beats. I'd have also liked to see News Graphics that looked a little more genuine and a little less cookie cutter iMovie template. TITLE REVIEW: News Bite! Very clever.

The Interview

This was a hit with the audience, which was great to see/here.

On a technical front it's pretty solid, the shots are clear and the audio is good - I'd say the next step for this team would be to start experimenting, get a cinematographer and start visually telling stories instead of just showing what's happening.

The same could be said for locations - I'm not too keen on seeing films set inside anyway, but a more convincing waiting room would have helped this film improve.

My heart broke when the old man was stabbed to death :(

A few too many plot inconsistencies/contrivances for my liking, but overall a clear story told effectively.

Things you got right: A clear narrative, characters with clear motivations

Things to work on for next time: Embrace cinema! Make something a little more adventurous and unhinged.

Going Solo

An incredibly slick looking comedy with an awesome performance at it's center.

I think smaller teams could learn a lot from GOING SOLO, especially in its lean story structure. Remember teams, there's nothing wrong with your film being a set up to a punchline, and if the punchline is good enough, you could even win!

Deserving of the city win - everything in this film really is 10/10. It looks gorgeous, it sounds perfect, the editing invisibly does a lot of the world buidling, and the story doesn't overstay it's welcome.

Aaron does a fantastic job playing off himself, where he plays two versions of the same guy with uncomfortably good chemistry with himself, and playing two very distinct versions. I especially loved the little montage with the love song playing - its borderline emotional. I also loved the reserved moments of insatiable lust we get glimpses of as these two multiverse selves undress each other with their eyes.

I've heard a few interesting critiques of this film - some pointing out that it doesn't feel right that you'd adopt another universe's unique qualities when traveling there (eg. if you travel to poop out your mouth universe, you'll poop out your mouth yourself) - but I think this could have been fixed with a smaller instance happening towards the beginning, perhaps there's some other physcal inconsistency the traveling Aaron notices happening to him?

My bigger note would be, and I'm sorry to take it here, but GOING SOLO is shockingly similar to Rabid Auntie Jean's co-director's previous Chch city winner A FAMILIAR FEELING (Two lovers meet at a bar who have some kind of incestuous connection, ultimately ending in some kind of awkward road block). It's hard, because maybe the film shouldn't be judged this way (and clearly it wasn't), but I do wonder if the filmmakers could have embraced more of a challenge here instead of replicating previous success. This brings me to...

Challenge for next year: Embrace more challenge! I think you've shown you can create an incredible film mostly set in doors, so show me what you're able to pull off mostly outdoors! Take me on a journey from point A to point B. Or don't. Do what you want!

Clone Swappers

I think I'm going to give CLONE SWAPPERS the unofficial award for Horniest film in the competition this year! This movie is good fun, and the premise is pulled off in a way that actually is somewhat surprising, with a satisfying and funny ending. TITLE REVIEW: Clone Swappers is great. Tells me all I need to know, conjures up imagery. Great stuff.

Repent

This was great. The use of both the prop and the line of dialogue here were the best I've seen this whole year. Characterisation was awesome, and while God entering the scene was a little left-field, I thought it was really funny nonetheless. Harper's transition from saint to sinner was a little jarring though, I would have liked to have seen her descent into debauchery a little more subtle and progressive. One of my favourite city finalists.

Crumbling City, Tumbling Minds

Lots of ambition on this team, and I absolutely loved the the opening scene in the dark bus stop, and some great camerawork with the puddles, lots of atmosphere here, even though I wasn't sure what was going on. This extended to the rest of the film where whatever story there was, was fairly unclear for the audience, not sure how this fit the genre. I think if you guys were to employ a really good story for next year, combined with such crisp camerawork, you could really go far. As for your title, "Crumbling City, Tumbling Minds" is a touch too dramatic for me, something MistaTeas indicated as well. I think this could be indicative of another small issue you guys have, don't be afraid to take your story a little less seriously :)

Doom Comes to Mars-Town

I think this is Mad Scientists' best film since One Man Army and the most effective and authentic story arc they've ever pulled off - there's proof here of a grasp on narrative design, which, as much as I've enjoyed previous Mad Scientists films, they've certainly seemed to be more style over substance.

The art direction here is incredible as well, sure it's just at Lazer Strike, but there are plenty of exciting costumes, effects and make up work on display as well.

Honestly I probably would have put this in the finals over some of the films that actually made it in. Which films? I'll never tell.

Great work team!

Things you got right: A very strong creative vision and your best told story yet

Things to work on for next time: It's hard to say - I certainly wouldn't want you to change your style in anyway. Maybe just keep getting more and more ambitious until you make the most batshit insane 48Hour film ever made!

Dial 'M' for Killing

A super stylistically confident film - The Crabs have tackled musical before and this DIAL "M" FOR KILLING is the kind of film a team makes when they're subjected to repeating a genre - a lot more niche, a lot more focused, with a vision that feels a lot more specific.

The direction here, as well as the art direction, the acting and the fun blood and guts effects, are all great, as is the music, of course, however the lyrics are VERY difficult to make out for 80% of the film - lyrics which are not only the narrative hook but the comedic hook of the whole story. Without this you're left listening to songs which you know are supposed to be funny, but you can't really hear the specific jokes.

As Andrew said above as well, there's not much of character arc here, just escalation, and maybe that would have helped too.

I think this is very close to being something very special and unique, but ultimately let down by the sound mix. I would love to see the Crabs take on something as similarly ambitious next year, though I do miss the token terrifying creature which you usually include every year hahhaha.

Things you got right: A confident film which is firing on most fronts

Things to work on for next time: If you're doing songs in a comedy musical, hearing those lyrics is essential.

Cooking with Sea Men: Monsters of Rock Special- Featuring: Kitty Chow.

As soon as you guys registered and I saw your team name I was waiting with bated breath. 'Cooking with Sea Men: Monsters of Rock Special- Featuring: Kitty Chow' is exactly the kind of film I was hoping you'd make, and I appreciated it as an exercise in how loosely you can follow the 48Hours requirements and still technically coast by: It's hardly a monster movie- it wasn't until my second watch that I realized how you were justifying it It's hardly an Ultra as while the main characters are cats, that barely factors into their characterization or the story The elements tacked on at the end, and the shadow wasn't an actual shadow All of the above read like criticisms, but rest assured they are not, if you're gonna do one requirement 'wrong', you gotta do them all 'wrong'. It's a real pleasure to have films like this to break up the flow, or maybe start eating the flow from the inside out? I don't know if you guys are looking for feedback or a way to improve- I agree with the other reviews that I don't really want you guys to change... BUT with that being said, if you guys upped the technical side, and maybe constructed an actual narrative arc, but kept the costumes, nudity and crass humour, there's no reason something like this couldn't get further in the competition. As for your title, "Cooking with Sea Men: Monsters of Rock Special- Featuring: Kitty Chow" is exactly the kind of title that puts a smile on my face seeing it on screen. I love ridiculously long titles. Next year I challenge you guys to make a title that is a hundred words long.

For Evelynn

I Love Loops are a team I look forward to every year, and I often lament their frequent exclusion from the finals. I admired their ambition this year by taking on a different subject matter than their usual space opera aesthetic, but I don't know if this is their strongest work. FOR EVELYNN suffers mostly from a story concept which takes a little long for the audience to understand and become fully on board with. I think a little dialogue may have helped here, but I understand if that's against the team's rules. Other than that, I still really enjoyed what was brought to the table, and the format of their films continues to inspire me.

Cop Out

YES Herms Heroes you brilliant fools. You genius jokers. You rebellious jesters.

Hear me now; I don't think I've ever laughed harder at a 48Hour film than COP OUT.

As a couple people have said, it's a joke we've all seen done before, but the execution and escalation here is unmatched - and after 15 years of people quoting the IT Crowd version, I say move over, coz Herms Heroes have made the definitive "You Wouldn't Steal a Car" parody (You Wouldn't Steal a Car should have been your title by the way - my only critique of the film).

I could go on and list my favourite jokes (The Captain Cook dig, the ram raids, or my personal favourite, when it just says "YOU" and the guy is like "Me?"), but what I think really separates this from the oversaturated anti-piracy satire is the escalation is second to none, going from the lows of stealing a pen to the dizzying heights of accidentally killing a jogger and burying them in Bottle Lake Forest - and by explaining at the end that Piracy is worse than all of these crimes combined, I dare say it ties everything up into a little thesis statement - a comment on the overblown anti-piracy campaign which was perhaps a little unnecessary in the face of unsolved manslaughter and colonization of indigenous land.

It's the specificity that make these jokes work as well - we get some hilarious current events nods and cultural references, which immediately allow us to feel like we're in on the joke, but I also love the attention to detail - we're told just HOW much Indigenous land was stolen, we're told the EXACT coordinates where the body is buried. These would be easy details to miss, but they improve the jokes tenfold.

Another couple blink-and-you'll-miss-it jokes I'm in love with: The face the public masturbator makes when he glances at the camera - a mix of embarrassment and shame and terror, and I also love that the guy vomits after burying the body - so much story is packed into these second long shots and while it's all very silly and all very funny, what we're actually seeing here is some hilarious filmmakers who absolutely know what they're doing.

The film won't be for everyone, and some may even disagree with calling it a film - but that's kind of why I love it so. In days gone by we've had teams like Strang Entertainment and Toot Toot who've pushed the limit and played with medium and format and it adds a spice to the city finals which I think makes it feel truly complete, and I really hope Herms Heroes are here to stay.

Challenge for next year: This is the kind of team I don't like giving advice to, because their storytelling inclinations should be unspoiled, but what I will encourage is for you guys to keep being wild and funny, and keep pushing at the walls of the competition, keep subverting what we're expecting to see when we say "film", whether that be another pisstake of a cultural touchstone, something even wilder, or even something more traditional.

The Horror

My favourite thing about this film is the performances - they have the vibe of someone who's being forced to act in someone else's short film, but that lack of enthusiasm plays really well into the character hahaah.

Loved the banter about the documentary.

I think the story is ultimately a little lacking, and the message at the end feels a little tacked on. But otherwise a pretty fun film!

Things you got right: Really funny characters and dialogue

Things to work on for next time: Telling a more satisfying story, and also upping your technical side.

Trial #37

Some really cool ideas in this film, and the effects at the end when the character escaped were awesome, and seeing the other clones dead on the ground was a nice touch. The rest of the film leaves a little to be desired though, if we're gonna have the majority of the film set in a single indoor location, it would be nice if it were something a little more interesting than a run-of-the-mill living room. The film is technically competent though, and has a slightly predictable but effective ending. A clear grasp on story structure here, I'd just encourage you as a team to try something a bit more wild and a bit more visually intriguing next time! TITLE REVIEW: Trial #37 is great, I can't imagine anything suiting this film better!

Maurice

Meme Teme's best film to date!
A very slick, very well shot looking film with awesome locations and a pretty cool premise.

That premise though, of a man with a balloon health bar, seems to have no idea what to do with itself after its set up. It's a cool idea, but the rest of the story seemed intent on getting rid of balloons at breakneck pace without it fully being clear why.

Foundations of a good story here though, I look forward to seeing Meme Teme's next adventure.

Things you got right: Awesome camerawork, engaging premise

Things to work on for next time: Catching your storytelling up to your technical side - plumbing a premise for all it's worth instead of giving up after creating a cool concept. Reach your full potential!

The Run-In

Pretty solid film. Just shy of getting on the shortlist. I think it could have been tighter, maybe a bit too long in the beginning. Clear understanding of storytelling structure here, especially with the brother's catch phrase "Kia Ora" coming back to remind us who he is, probably didn't need the flashback because of this. The twist is good, and maybe one of the only films this year to involve homosexuality as a major turning point that didn't feel like it was being a bit insensitive. My other criticism would be the whole "Guy meets someone while holding condoms only to see them later when with their sexual conquest" story is a pretty well documented urban legend, so not entirely original in the storyline department. TITLE REVIEW: I think there could have been something better than The Run-In as a title, maybe something more focusing on the nervous nature of purchasing condoms.

Rookies

Hot damn! The camera work in ROOKIES is insane! Probably some of the best I've seen in the competition, though with those sweeping drone shots of cars driving away, I did get the feeling like I was watching a commercial. My only notes for you guys would be to improve your writing/storytelling, and improve your time management skills so you can hand the damn thing in on time! :)

Positive

I can't believe that score was original! So good! And the rest of the film is spectacular also, I loved that you based it all around the one "Oh really" line, and the action scenes were really well choreographed too. The coolest thing about this film is that it is fully true to it's genre (mystery) as it kept me guessing and slowly piecing together what could be happening, why these people were fighting, what Harper had seen in the trash. Well done guys!

Concatenated

A lot of passion and big ideas behind this film, and I really admire that.

A couple of rookie mistakes in the filmmaking though - the camera operator felt like an extra character in your film because I kept bloody seeing them in reflections or in shadows! :P

I've said this to a few teams already, but truly consider whether or not you're capable of nailing a super serious film like this one is - I think almost 90% of 48Hours teams are gonna make a better comedy than they do a drama, and I'm not sure I was completely won over by the drama here.

I hope you told the passing car in the background that you were making a film! Because it must have been pretty terrifying to just see a guy waving a gun around with nothing but a camera crew for context!

Things you got right: A confidently told story, some cool imagery

Things to work on for next time: I think generally your team just needs to practice their respective craft to create a tighter and more effective film.

Invertemate

It's heartwarming to see a team like Meme Teme take on feedback and generally improve their filmmaking year to year.

Last year you guys even got on the shortlist, and that's not to say this film isn't an improvement - certainly a lot more is done with this year's premise compared to last year, where your quirky balloon-health-bar story ran out of steam almost immediately - I think the character development and the strengthening of the friendship between the man and the worm was really effective and on a basic level just shows that your storytelling is improving and your conscious of what makes a good story.

I think I would have liked to see a little more effort gone into the worm itself though, I initially thought it was a gummy worm but I think it might be a toy or a board game piece? Anyway, I feel like this film would have been better with a real worm, or at least a convincing puppet - I was constantly distracted by the clearly fake worm and it blocked my immersion.

Also, I'm fascinated and frustrated by the fact that the worm has a speech impediment in which he elongates his W's. Why? Because worm starts with w? This is so stupid and dumb but I think you guys love making creative decisions like that which are still fun.

Good use of locations too, I deeply appreciate all the different places this film goes to, and the performance from Erica was delightfully wooden.

Prediction: Meme Teme will make the finals next year. It's only a matter of time.

Challenge for next year: You're getting so much better than where you were only a few years ago - keep digging into storytelling and figure out what stories you want to tell. I'd even recommend practicing outside of 48Hours, make Meme Teme a year-round gig!

Sampson

While not the first time I've seen a 48hour film with this premise, it is still pulled off very well, and perfect for the real time genre... OR IS IT? More on this later. Lead actress's performance is excellent, and the film itself delightfully gross - especially with the literal OverHEAD shot, and overall the film is solid and compelling - very nearly making the finals but one of those situations where its not so much what's wrong with the film specifically, and more about the level of quality with the other finalists. I appreciate this can be a very frustrating thing to hear. I have 3 issues with this film, which, for me are what let it down in the end. 1. The male character is a LOT quieter than the female character, so much so that her scream which opens the film meant I had to turn the volume down, only to not be able to hear the next line coming from the guy. 2. At first I was a little lost with the petrol station scene, it seems to grind the film to a halt, and while I now see it emphasises how shit the husband is with his priorities, it does kind of feel like there's a larger point to the scene. Maybe if we'd seen this scene all play out in one take, it could have been a humorous reprieve from the action, but the way its cut feels very stilted, which is a bit of a paradoxical issue, as real time means you can't do any time jumps, HOWEVER 3. There's a goddamn time jump in this film! The characters go from in the car to running towards the hospital - which is a big no no. Perhaps you didn't notice? Or you hoped we wouldn't? I imagine it was to keep the run time going, but you were THIS CLOSE to being nominated for best use of genre, but it felt disingenuous after the time jump. Also, a phantom 4th point, which actually applies to a lot of 48hour films, I feel we don't really have an ending here. The character arcs aren't fulfilled, the baby just gets born. I'd have liked to see some comeuppance for the husband being such an asshole, or some retribution for the mother. TITLE REVIEW: Sampson is great, and a great dodgey name choice to spark a divide amongst the parents. I knew a Sampson once.

Soxalot's Kingdom

A simple story told very well, and one with a cute idea at its center.

Strangely - this isn't the only Sock based love story I've seen in my tenure as City Manager, though that other one didn't have googly eyes.

The way the world is built here is so fun too, and the riches-to-rags story was a fun one.

While the filmmaking has a lot of ingenuity at times, there were one too many moments of jankiness where we'd clearly be able to tell we'd moved from video to jpeg, or we could see the wires pulling the socks from off screen - and I also felt that Soxalot's personal journey to see how the other half live was one expressed through words and characters explaining their feelings instead of him just seeing how different the lower class or socks live - there's a more elegant way to tell this story which doesn't have your hero virtually explain their feelings to the audience.

SOXALOT'S KINGDOM is cute and creative, but I wonder if the image of a sock with googly eyes is just no match for the emotions on a person's face - I think the best part of the film is actually the shocked little girl at the end, and while the voice acting is good, I think I found it harder to resonate with the characters - I'm not a big "inanimate object come to life" guy, which is weirdly common in the comp.

Challenge for next year: There's a lot of charm and heart to this team and I'd like to see that come back in a film which is a bit more challenging. Take me outside, take me to some exciting locations, but keep that heart!

Misogyny And Magic

A really great looking film, enhanced a lot by a great use of location and some pretty fun characters.

A lot of good stuff here - a clear narrative, good comedy, character arcs and an ending! Woop!

I admire this film's seemingly earnest attempt to hang a lampshade on misogyny, though there's a fine like between making fun of sexism and being sexist, and while this film gets it right for the most part, I felt a couple jokes were still a little below the belt.

Sorry about the DQ, I think this team has a lot of potential and I can't wait to see what they do next!

Things you got right: Great location, a fun experimental story, some good laughs

Things to work on for next time: Up the stakes, try out new stuff and maybe submit the right version of your film!!!!! I wanna see you guys soar.

Versace Flows

You guys at Dolphin have been somewhat of an illusive urban legend for my personal experience with 48Hours. I remember hearing great things about your 2014 film, but I've never been able to track it down, and now, after looking at the review database history of your films, I actually think "Versace Flows" might be the first actual film I've seen of yours. The sense of humour is definitely the strongest part, you guys look like you constantly make each other laugh, and you made the audience laugh. Great take down of mumble rappers, with a few on the nose references to the culture ("You ain't got the answers!"). However, as others have said the story leaves a little to be desired, and with the plethora of mockumentaries we got this year, this one doesn't quite pop as much as it would need to for it to justify going the mockumentary route. Also, I gotta tell you guys, I'm a little disappointed that you managed to do Ultra as a high school team, and then practically ignored it since you qualified as underage anyway. Had I been on your team, I'd have insisted we either go with animals or younger kids so that we're still playing the game, so to speak. On that subject, you should know that a more brutal city manager could disqualify you, as the Ultra mandate this year said only your CHARACTERS had to be children or animals, but the actors could be adult humans, and inexplicably, despite jumping through the Ultra hoops that are 1. Doing Ultra as a school team and 2. Already being 'children', you then featured characters who probably should have been played by adults! You get by on the technicality that, I GUESS a 17-year-old could be a rapper's manager, but you cut it pretty fine. If you do Ultra next year, I encourage you to actually lean into it and stand up to the challenge instead of ignoring it. Also, work on your storytelling and character arcs, and I think you'll really shine. As for your title, "Versace Flows" has a really slick ring to it. I like it, though I don't get the reference. P.S. please put this review in your team intro next year

Where's Simon

I think this is easily Salt and Light's best film to date, with a story that, for at least the first couple of scenes, was really compelling and interesting.

The final act has the energy of a team who accidentally deleted half their footage, or their film ran too long and they resulted to some creative edits to try conclude everything - and unfortunately I'm at a loss for what ultimately happens here in this story.

The final act where we watch the characters trek into the wilderness with the "fade/cut to black" editing device was overused, you generally should only use this for a few seconds at most (not an entire climax), and also we should probably change scenes in between fades instead of seeing the exact same shot with the characters just further along.

Still, really nice characterization and a lot of potential.

Things you go right: Characters played by dedicated and compelling actors, the makings of a good story.

Things to work on for next time: Finishing said story in a cohesive way.

Hysteria

Some really good stuff here- excellently shot and a clear handle on the basics of the genre. However, the story left something to be desired, I think we saw a lot of Tech Thrillers this year which dealt with very similar ideas, and I don't feel that this one popped. You kind of know exactly where it's going after that first scene, and while Tech Thrillers do lend themselves to this kind of thing, I would encourage you guys to try figure out something more original next year. I also wasn't exactly clear on the science of the ending- how did the VR girl become a physical entity in the real world? The transitions from VR to RL was really well done, but I do wish we had some more exciting imagery than just this house to accommodate such effective cinematography. As for your title, I'm not really sure how "Hysteria" plays into the plot in any specific way.

A Baaaaad Habit

I wasn't sure about this film as it started, having just watched the fantastic animation from I LOVE LOOPS, I didn't think I could get into the more simplistic design of A BAAAAAD HABIT. But, the film kept me guessing and the story kept raisiing the stakes just as I thought it was nearly over, and the shock ending probably gave me the biggest laugh of the night. Great film guys!

I am ball 2

Hilarious, even better than the first I AM BALL. I voted this for my audience favourite, loved the use of cut-out style animation mixed in with live action moments, and possibly the best smash cut I've seen this year yet.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

It's clear CoA have a very specific type of film they like making, and as such their films always have a very strong narrative voice, which is a cool consistency to see across a filmography that even some of the more successful teams don't have.

That being said, I think I'm ready to see you guys take on a different style, as I'm a little over seeing morally despicable protagonists suffer some kind of trauma and then get redeemed by dying at the end.

There's a lot of passion and talent on this team, but I feel like I've seen you do this movie before.

I also don't know if it played well that the main guy's kid died by drowning, and then the climax is based around saving kids from getting run over - it feels like the poetry being aimed for here should be more connected to his kid's death, so his kid either should have been hit by a car or the kids he saved should have been playing in a pool.

Things you got right: A very consistent team who clearly enjoy what they're doing

Things to work on for next time: Maybe trying out a new style which isn't so grim. I'd love to see a comedy from you guys.

Aurora

I am a sucker for a sweetly romantic short like this one. I'm such a softy. Obviously the way in which this film stands out is the clever editing technique of the shadow man interacting with the film's lead, and as others have said, I've found myself really struggling to figure out how some of it was even done. The lead character is a great casting choice to, she's got that Zooey Deschanel adorkable vibe to her, which really carried the film as she was both a photogenic actress and came across as the kind of social outcast who would find solace in dating a shadow ghost. There are a couple of 'in universe' issues here though- Sometimes the shadow drank out of glass shadows, and ate with fork shadows, and sometimes we're told he's literally holding a solid fork. Fixes for these small problems would have really elevated the effect of this film. I also wanted a definitive reason for why the lights were turning on at the end of each date, even if they were just automated I would have liked to have been told that. As much as I loved watching the couple's adventures continue, I'm unsure why the film continues past the first night, as we basically just see the same thing happen (lights turn on, shadow disappears) again. As with a lot of films this year, I would have liked a more conclusive ending/development/hook to the film which brought everything full circle. As for your title, "Aurora" feels a little cliche. I think there's a better title hidden in here somewhere.

Tadpole

This is a very specific and very strange film - kudos to the team for executing such weird ideas, I genuinely had no idea where each scene would take us next, and the finale was wild.

The Casino location is a pretty good get though feels overused and underused at the same time? We're there for so much of the film and yet confined to the same two or three shots.

My main issue with this film, outside of not really following the story, was that the actors really seemed to lack conviction - I'm not sure what the deal is here but it reads like someone wrote this script and then gave it to actors who didn't really understand the material - the performances given feel very wooden, like they've just read their next line moments before delivering it.

Baffled but somewhat in love with the frog character.

I have no idea what's happening here.

Things you got right: Great locations, a very interesting and confident directorial voice, certainly a lot weirder and therefore more captivating than most films.

Thing to work on for next time: More believable performances and more clarity in your storytelling.

Ghostfish: Catfished By A Ghost

As someone who has been playing 48 for many years now, there's always this bitter feeling us nobodies get when the 'celebrity' teams do well and take home the big awards. I guess it can kind of feel pointless, and tbh, I would say they often don't deserve it. As frustrating as it can be however, I would not say this is the case with GHOSTFISH. I hate myself a little for how much I loved this film and as soon as it finished I knew it had to win, and any other result would be a travesty. I think what I liked most about this film, aside from the glitz and glamour of the 10/10 cinematography/sound/editing/acting/make-up/special effects and celebrity star-power, was how it stuck to its genre in a way I wasn't expecting. Knowing it was a horror, I merely thought this team of comedians were gonna make a comedy about a ghost, add a bit of blood, and hope that passes the test, but the way the story ends, with Charlie's murderer returning home, actually delved us into a pretty tense story with legitimate horror power to it. Plus, the ending with both characters being ghosts was perfect. I couldn't disagree more with the reviewer above me who thought it was a dumb punchline to a long joke, it was the absolute only way to end the film. So yeah, part of me wants to roll my eyes and be like "Oh yeah the professional team of professional actors and professional filmmakers made a professional film, big whoop", but all that went away watching you guys graciously accept your award with big smiles and warm laughter, and the sincerity that came across was something I didn't expect. Famous people deserve happiness too. You guys deserve to be as stoked as you looked on the night. No doubt you'll make it into the national finals, and may even win the year.

Cheernobyl: A Holiday Meltdown

I am super bummed this film didn't make the finals! I was sure it would, and I am saddened that CRAB CRAB CRAB's chaotic energy won't be absorbed by the audience this year. What I liked: The costume design, as always, is remarkable. The performance of the cake man is pitch perfectly terrifying. I loved the horrific melting pot of all the holidays, and how some directly contradict each other - and along with the costume design, the set dressing really adds a lot here. The Spring Break Nog and being told there's a spider in the cracker (but not even seeing it) are my two favourite jokes from the film. The premise is a great way to incorporate everything under the Holiday genre umbrella, and CRAB CRAB CRAB were the perfect team to tackle such a task. Part of what bums me out about this not making the finals is that I think this is all the best parts of CRAB CRAB CRAB boiled down into one film, and my favourite from the team since the gold standard that was WHEAT, MYSELF AND RYE. What I think could be improved upon: If anything holds this film back, I'd say its story arc feels like it brushes with brilliance but doesn't quite stick the landing. I think we probably didn't need to start in media res, and could have cut the first minute or so and start us straight in the lab - the only important piece of information that isn't relayed here is that the hero picked all the holidays, but this could have been slipped into the dialogue. I think cutting the beginning down would also let you expand on the second half of the film- I loved seeing the hero try bring back Christmas, but it only whet my appetite to see him attempt to bring back every holiday. Maybe still end on the Christmas scene though, but it would have been cool to see the chaos from the first part of the film continue through into some kind of morally bankrupt montage as he tries to bring back Easter, Valentines day and Halloween too. With the judging process changing from panel to individual opinion maths this year, I think you guys at CRAB CRAB CRAB maybe should take this opportunity to step up your game. While I hold you in high regard, I feel forced to think about your team's weaknesses, and I GUESS what I would say is, you always deliver such a visual spectacle but the story lines often fall by the wayside in favour of unbridled madness. So, if reclaiming your spot in the finals is important to you as a team, maybe next year pour as much effort into the storytelling and plotting as you do into the art direction. I always like seeing teams go sentimental, or grandiose and epic (though those are only my personal preferences). I think the madness of CRAB CRAB CRAB paired with a weightier story could be something very special and very important to the landscape of Christchurch 48. TITLE REVIEW: Cheernobyl is one of those titles that just makes you excited reading. Probably my favourite title of the year after EASTER BUNNY GETS DESTROYED BY A HUGE BOWEL MOVEMENT.

Knight Vlogs

Had this film been as good as its first 30 seconds or so, I think it would have definitely made the shortlist and probably the finalists too. The BLAIR WITCH vibes were obvious, but I don't know if I've seen it combined with the youtube vlogger format before. There's a really compelling idea in watching a Logan Paul character and his douchey friends get eaten by a monster during their vlogs, and if you'd gone this direction I think this might have been one of my favourites of the year. Unfortunately though, after the set up, I feel like you kinda dropped the ball in any kind of pay off. We sort of just watch the characters scramble around the forest for a bit and then there's a monster, and then they leave. I think the monster maybe got a little too much exposure and I could clearly see it was just someone with facepaint on, and if you can't go big, don't show the monster at all. You could have done a lot with the darkness, noises, the flashlights and silhouettes in the forest. Also the characters should have all died. I apologize for doing a point by point breakdown of your film hahah, I'm only doing it coz I felt it was so close to greatness and I'd love to see you improve and make some dope ass shit next year. As for your title, I'm not 100% sure on what "Knight Vlogs" means, I would have called this film something really clickbaity like "THERE'S A GHOST IN THE FOREST?! (Not Clickbait)"

One Is The Loneliest Number

Clever set-up with the USB gag that didn't really end up leading anywhere special. Art direction and locations were good, and the premise, which I'm guessing was pitched as 'last man on earth tries to create a woman a'la frankenstein' could have been a lot stronger and pushed more forward as Harper's main objective. The unlicensed music really took me out of the film too, would have really liked to hear a more ambient score.

The Dig

Great concept, and the best looking film of the heat, though the end result probably wasn't as poignant as I think Grand Cheval were expecting. The film seemed to lack a clear direction of where it was headed, but the dialogue was funny and my goodness those practical upside down effects were awesome and must have been really fun to work out. Why was there a dildo in Bradley's bag?

Tomcat Down

A serious contender for Best Bad Film, and I mean that as a compliment. I LOVED this movie. It's so brazen and silly, and I can tell the crew (of which I assume is just 2 guys) has as much fun as they could have in the competition. In a world where laughter equals success, I could see this making the finals. If not, I hope it still develops the cult following it deserves.

A Ripple in Time

Promising stuff from this team, though the story felt a little unclear at times, they've certainly got their style down and I'd love to see what they can do in the future.

Isolation

Hot damn this is a beautiful film to look at. Production value is off the chain here in every department, from the stupidly good camerawork, to the swift invisible editing, to the professional actors and their nuanced performances, to the motherfuckin' mansion this film is set in. Do you guys just set aside thousands of dollars each year to make your films as high quality as possible? A couple of other reviewers have echoed my thoughts here; this is definitely the most authentic Technological Thriller in Christchurch, adhering to both the key words in the genre with style and grace, which by the way, if I was in charge I'd just have called it "Black Mirror Spec Script", and this film absolutely leaned right into this. I would say the only thing I'm a little unclear on/let down by would be the story itself. While the techno is there with the glowing robot eyes and the software components, and the thriller is there because the film is tense, the story kind of just plods along in a way that isn't entirely unexpected or unpredictable, and this is a shame because a more unique and original concept would have bumped the film up a few notches for myself and the judges, and probably would have placed. So for next year, I'd encourage you guys to really work on that narrative concept. Get yourself a simple and unique story, and there's almost no doubt in my mind that you guys could take out the whole competition in the future. As for your title, these ominous one word titles like "Isolation" often suit thrillers, and this is definitely the case here, so good job guys.

THE DREADED CURSE

A lot of cool stuff in this film, and the first z-grade I've had the pleasure of seeing. I love all the small moments of faux-bad filmmaking, like the out of focus shots, the boom creeping its way in, the hammy acting and the bizarre story with an enigmatic ending, I hope the judges and audience will be able to recognize these elements as intentional and not as genuine mistakes!

Viral by Nature

A really cool idea for a Nature Run Amok movie. The way the worms were shown eating the humans was really creative. Overall if this had a better technical side and focused more on the girl being influenced by the vlogger and less of the vlogger, I think it would have been stronger. TITLE REVIEW: Viral by Nature is clever.. but only if "viral by nature" is a common turn of phrase that I've just never heard of.

K9 Catastrophe

Ughhh. Guys. SO close to the shortlist. I don't know if that's something you do or do not want to hear, but this film was definitely in the conversation, and all the judges including myself really loved the film. I'll get the bad out of the way: A couple of visual glitches in the beginning, which thankfully faded out as the film went on. The story starts really strongly, and as much as I loved the various sketches, they didn't develop or build as we go towards the end. I think the ending with burying the lamp was really good, but I would have still loved some closure. Had this film been as technically and narratively strong as the lead character's performance, I think it would have cleaned up at the finals. On that subject, the performance in this film is incredible, the lead girl clearly dove straight into playing the dog, and she does a great job, as does the dog which amazingly responded to so many of the story's cues like not wanting to go on a walk or typing on the keyboard. When we were vetting the films, I watched this one with my mum and she loved it and said it was her favourite, so you get the unofficial "AJ's Mum's Favourite Film" award. Also once again, well done for doing a voluntary Ultra. Mad. As for your title, I'm not sure about "K9 Catastrophe", 'canine' has no reason to be spelled like that and even then it's a pretty simple, easy to think of title. I'd have loved a pun or a double meaning or a portmanteau for the title, or something like that.

Lifeboy

This film looks and sounds great, this is real professionalism here, and very deserving of the VFX award with its elegantly simple time travel flash. The acting is also great from everyone involved, and Sarah's scream is chilling. The atmosphere is moody and mysterious and very tense. HOWEVER. I have had quite a difficult time with the story of this film. I totally understand if it's the filmmaker's intention to leave the specifics vague, but even then, I can't help but feel somewhat.... at odds with the message of this film? Because I'm not sure this is a story with a noble pursuit, and I don't think the hero does the right thing, because if you were to give me an ultimatum between letting a baby die or letting an adult die, I'd probably try save the baby. This film seems to suggest that saving the mother was the right thing to do? One interpretation I've heard of the film is that the hero is actually Jasper all grown up, returning to the place his mum drowned trying to save him when he was a baby. This is why he disappears at the end, potentially. But even then, I'm not sure this fits with my moral compass, and I think a moral compass is important in storytelling. If this interpretation is correct also, then Idk how someone would be able to actually save a baby from drowning but then also drown themselves, because they'd need to get close enough back to shore so that a baby could exit the water by himself, but far enough away that the saviour would still drown? Look, this might not even be what you were going for, so that's fine. Ignore this if so. I'm not necessarily saying I needed a happy ending, but I do think every story needs closure. The easy version of this film has the hero simply battling time travel to save the baby. But when he gets to the ocean it kind of feels like it was always his plan to save the mother. I dunno. Apologies for being so critical. I'm a writer first and foremost so these are the things I'm gonna focus on above the technical aspects of your film, which as I mentioned before, are all A+. TITLE REVIEW: I really like LIFEBOY! It's pretty interesting and fun.

The Seven Problems

A super fun, super charming little film which, while lacking in production value, made up for it in humour!

I found myself genuinely laughing out loud at some of the jokes, the highlight being anything said by the girl playing Emily, such a softly spoken character, and a great twist that she was the murderer/killer.

The sense of humour here is so wonderfully Zoomer, I loved it.

Things you got right: A very funny film, with some innovative makeup and a final product that looks like it would have been super fun to make.

Things to work on for next time: Beyond just learning the craft of filmmaking more (better gear, production values, editing ect.), I'd encourage Hornby Heroes to attempt something a little more grand scale, get out of the interrogation room and make an epic adventure!

Stages

A solid effort at making a Musical/Dance film. I thought the ending was really sweet, but didn't necessarily feel like the ending this story needed, with it focusing on other characters for probably too long. I think, had there been a musician on the team, we could have had something a bit more notable here. The song about the women's insecurities at the start, and the genre changing song with the couple could have really skyrocketed this film if they'd been put together a little tighter. TITLE REVIEW: Not sure why its called Stages? Stages of life? Stages for a performance? Good stuff.

A friend for life

Great stuff here. Probably my favourite use of the Christmas genre that I've seen- using it as a backdrop and not having it as the driving force of the story. Beautifully shot, awesome acting, heavy ending.

Cabin Fever

This was a very well shot film, awesome cinematography, awesome lighting, awesome framing, awesome scenery. The idea for the story was good, but the execution was a bit awkward. The acting had its ups and downs, and there were some funny lines of dialogue but a few beats felt confusing. Why was the wife not speaking? Was she just not speaking to Harper? All in all, I'd say you guys have your techincal side completely down pat, focus a little more on the writing and characterization, and I think you'll fly.

Office Dispute

In many ways, OFFICE DISPUTE feels like classic 48Hours - this story is the kind of thing you'd see doing very well in the competition nationally in like 2007 - 2012 or so, and it was awesome to see that kind of story approached with modern filmmaking and a good camera. Lol.

Having worked as a Yoobee tutor, I've seen Victor play one thousand different characters over the years, but this is the first time I feel like I've seen a role written FOR him, and his moustache. His performance as Dick the cowboy elevates the film significantly, as does some gut-busting hilarious dialogue peppered throughout (I especially love the whole bit with the Stranger saying he won't give up his secrets before divulging them with zero pressure from Dick).

I do have a couple of notes - firstly, as cinematic and pavlovian (the dessert not the dog) as the duel scene is, in front of the train tracks with Pac N Save in the background, it does seem odd that a film where the central joke is "It's a western, but get this... it's set in an office!" would entirely abandon the office for the second half of the film. I wonder if narratively it would have made more sense to have this scene in another part of the office?

Secondly, I think thematically, it took me a few watched to fully grasp your film's thesis statement (which, for the record, good on you for giving your film a message - you don't see that often in the competition). I believe you're trying to say that "being kind" is not always the best course of action and can muddy up communication - but this went over my head the first few watches and I had no idea why Dick and Janice were trading passive aggressive compliments. It was in a later watch that I realized they're complying to the office's "Be Kind" rule, and while maybe I'm just dumb, I think we needed to be reminded of this in the edit - perhaps before Dick engages with Janice at the start, he needed to glance at the sign again, so he and we the audience can go "ah right, he needs to be cordial".

Still, these are minor.. uh.. disputes, with an otherwise very tight and incredibly funny film. I think it shoots for the stars in some areas, and even though there are some misses, it's a lot more compelling for trying.

Challenge for next year: I'd love to see Emergency Continuity return! There's a cartoon-in-real-life style to this film which I think will get you far, and I implore you to keep telling comedies with meaning.

Fix the Sync

I really liked what Steelpotato said about the stakes of this film, and I think a lot of its shortcomings arise from there - with a story with stakes as low as this, it's hard to find creative ways for engaging moments, set pieces or adventures.

As such we have a film which mostly takes place in different homes, and the drama arises from a pretty easily resolvable conflict.

As Steelpotato alluded to, characters solving the main crisis of a story simply by apologizing isn't exactly very filmic - I don't want to hear characters say things, I want to see them do things.

Still, a super funny and charming film in its own right, I enjoyed the characters and you all look like you had a lot of fun, and there's a clear grasp on storytelling fundamentals here.

Things you got right: Fun dynamic between characters, actors with conviction who didn't just feel like they were reading a script, a basic but understandable story arc.

Thing to work on for next time: Expand your horizons, Gimble Gang! Why shoot a film in a lounge when you can trek out to the mountains, or a forest, or a river and make something more spectacular and exciting? Use 48hours as an excuse to get out there and make something great. Also next time, upload your film to right place :D D:

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

There's a lot of charm in this film. The lack of dialogue and quirky music create a really well-paces and intriguing atmosphere. This feels like a more stylistic departure to what SubImp have done before, as usually their films are quite dialogue driven, or based around a central mystery. This one instead feels more like a mystery, and the peacefulness and fun of the film has really grown on me with each rewatch. Well done directing a kid - She does a great job and would have made a pretty baller 2018 Ultra (which probably would have 'counted' more than the loophole you guys exploited last year :P) Also, the locations are really fun, you went all over town and did a good job working with a rainy day! While there feels like a strong hand on direction here, I do have some questions - some logic gaps which have kept me from completely getting on board with this film: The film seems to present the situation as the girl has an invisible friend, but at the end its revealed her friend died... But This doesn't feel like the rest of the logic of the film adds up to this? I could maybe understand the disappearing act as being a metaphor for her disappearance, but if the girl died, then who is eating the other ice cream or riding the other scooter? It feels a little like you were writing a story about an imaginary friend, and then decided to give it a tragic twist, as opposed to landing on that ending and working clues back in through the first part of the script. While we're on the tragic twist as well, I'm actually not a big fan of it - I think it kind of betrays the tone of the film, and not in a "what a surprise ending" way, but in a way where the whimsy and delight doesn't seem to even slow down for the reveal - Sorry to be such a fusspot gang! I love you more than words can say. TITLE REVIEW: I think this title is maybe a little to easy or simple for a story about magic, maybe something more aligned with imaginary friends would have been cool.

A Familiar Feeling

Has there ever been a better marriage of team and genre than Snack to the Future and Cringe Comedy? This is a real "stars aligned" situation, with Christchurch prodigal son Hamish Parkinson BORN to play a main character in a cringe comedy. I loved this film, and it was so great to see it after being so excited to see you guys at the hand-in! This film is pretty much firing on all cylinders, and it is INSANE that the team is so small. You don't get sound design this good, usually, with teams this small. And the sound design is of course complimented by the *perfect* cinematography, the *hilarious* performances and a story which adheres just as well to the genre as the actors. I think you guys 100% deserved all the awards you won. I cringe every time I watch it at Hamish's stuttering apology at the start, and it only gets more embarassing as he and Phoebe whisper sweet nothings in each others ears. The film gets a lot of mileage out of some very simple scenes. The script is so good. "You only drink Negronis if you're from a Negroni family" is such a great little omen for things to come. One thing I really like with how the story is told as well, is that it almost feels like you knew the audience would work out the 'twist' ahead of time, and so it's actually quite a slow reveal. If you haven't realised what's going on by the time Hamish is practising his speech, the story basically lulls you into putting the pieces together as opposed to a hard and fast reveal. It's a complete film, BUUUUUT if I were to point out one *tiny* little thing that wasn't necessarily missing, but I would have loved to have seen, is the speech the characters are asked to do at the funeral. I understand the decision to end at the apex of awkwardness, but all the same part of me wants to see them stutter through that speech together. What happens next? Does the speech make it even worse or lead their love to grow even stronger, incest be damned? Who knows. Maybe we'll find out in the future. TITLE REVIEW: A FAMILIAR FEELING is perfect. A mild spoiler, but only when you watch it for a second time.

Down to the Wire

Top marks all around. This is the type of short film I love; a window into the lives of people doing something out of the ordinary and having an in-depth discussion. The acting and the humour in DOWN TO THE WIRE is great, as is the acting and the questions it asks about life, existence, and netflix. I also loved the way you guys acknowledged the Bechdel test, and your use of the line gives my team a run for its money. You guys will probably win best use of line, which is a small award, but a strangely sought after one as well. Without a doubt a city finalist, and I'd love to see it in the grand finals too. Maybe you guys will one day win the grand national prize, like you probably should have done three or four times already by now :)

Ghosted

Absolute madness and High Water Mark doing what they do best. I'd have loved for our finals to feature a film as insane as your one last year, but selecting the top 25 and top 15 was an absolute dog this time around. Comparing this to your last film, I feel this this year's one isn't quite as tonally consistent, and the story is not quite as compelling. If you want to stick with your house style I'd say you should probably head more down the rabbit hole no matter your genre, I know Anti-Romcom can be rather subdued traditionally, but it doesn't mean you have to be. I want you to take me on another kick-in-the-nuts baffling adventure again next year please. As for you title, "Ghosted" is great.

Santa's Smoko

I just watched this in the screening room and was BAFFLED that it wasn't a finalist, only to come to the reviews and find out it wasn't on time :( I guess that's better than it getting unnoticed! The locations, the acting, the characters and story are all top notch in this film, taking us to VERY surprising places, and Kevin the elf saying "Very much so!" got a huge chuckle out of me, as did the various assortment of people you'd dressed up as elves. What a great set of ideas, executed to their absolute full potential. I would say my only real gripe would be the pacing, I think I would have liked less time in the set-up (all we need to know if the elves are unhappy, and jump at the joy of being able to deliver to Hamilton- you could have shortened or cut that whole first scene all together), and more time in the grizzly meat of the story with Santa slaughtering a bunch of evil elves. Great work guys! What an awesome film.

END

A nice use of the real time genre, it doesn't rely on it necessarily, but the story fits perfectly into it. I think the strongest element of the film is the performance from the lead actress. She felt very genuine. I'm not necessarily crazy about the plot itself, it was cute to begin with, but exploring the darker parts of their relationship felt a little weird considering one of them had to write these triggering moments on a Jenga block in the first place. I understand the impulse to go a bit creative and stylistic, but maybe a smaller and simpler set up, just of a couple lying together and working through their issues, would have had a touch more intimacy to it, and would have made the ending more impactful. This is of course, subjective creative opinion though, from a guy who has written multiple 48hour films of characters just sittin' around chatting, and not all of them were particularly gripping. Happy to be wrong on this one. On the ending though, I feel mixed. It feels like maybe the inception of the idea was "the end of the world", but I guess your specific choice of apocalypse (firey explosion) didn't feel right for the tone of the piece. Shaky VFX aside, I think something a little smaller would have sufficed. My pulpy genre brain goes straight to zombies - maybe one of them has been bitten and transforms by the end of the film? Maybe they both do? Something a little smaller and a little easier to pull off would have really elevated this film. It's awesome to see Everything Sticks up their game each year, and I think this is your best film yet! TITLE REVIEW: I really like END. It's intriguing, and has a nice double meaning.

Nosferatu II: No Sferatus Today

Truly this year's dark horse, a film which, while noticeably amateur compared to the other finalists, used this amateurness to create a super fun and engaging little film.

I'd describe this movie as "scrappy" - using everything available to create some genuinely great moments of filmmaking - from the hero being dollied away from the vampire using what I assume was a forklift, to the beating of the invisible heart against the plastic base it sat in - there's so much backyard filmmaking here and its so charming and reminded me of why this competition is so great.

Also, best title of the year.

Great job team!

Things you got right: Creating a finalist quality film out of some cheap by extremely endearing practical effects

Things to work on for next time: Just hone those skills! Get even better at these practical effects. I'd love to see you make the finals again with something similar.

Switch Glitch

A delightful romp from a school team who are clearly having a lot of fun with their story and especially their characters.

For the most part this is a great story that feels very authentic being told through the eyes of teenagers - perhaps the Leprechaun/Immortal Being whoever they were could have been an adult actor, just to add a bit of range to the cast - though the young actor does a great job with this role.

The body switch stuff is captivating, but it feels like you struggled to come up with anything especially exciting for the middle, and the film has a sort of lazy ending - a montage where the character walks into the wrong bathroom feels a little reserved for this subject, there are dozens of other high stakes situations a boy-turned-girl could encounter.

At the end, they just find the information they need - in the school library no less - I would have liked to have seen a bit more struggle to achieve this goal, and overall a bit more conflict in your story.

The tag at the end with the hair receding to indicate the girl was turning into a boy was very funny.

Challenge for next year: The central concept for this film is great, next year I would recommend exploring the stakes of your story a little more. What will happen if the character fails? What's the worst position they could find themselves in?

Hitman

What a charming film to come out of nowhere. So exciting to get a Foreign Language film in the Christchurch finals this year! Auckland and Wellington all had one too and I think that's awesome.

HITMAN has a wonderful sense of humour at its core, and some terrific comedic acting which constantly took me off guard - especially the director getting stabbed and STILL insisting the lead's performance was lousy.

It's a very simple film, but often the best 48Hours films are - and I especially loved how intentionally the whisper is used.

Also great job on the story structure - everything is at kinda cartoony levels of realism, but nonetheless the stakes climb higher, we have a great climax and then an epilogue which effectively puts a button on the film.

It doesn't overstay its welcome, and it makes you laugh. What more could you want?

Challenge for next year: There's not too much to specifically fault this little comedy-of-errors on - I think some of the subtitles were missing punctuation here and there but really you achieved what you set out to do. Next year I'd challenge you to shoot outside! But keep true to your own storytelling compasses, this film has a great sense of humour and I'd like to visit Art and Experience again.

Baking Takes Time

The frozen time scene in this film was SO WELL DONE! I'm not sure how "into" filmmaking this team is, but framing those shots with the frozen characters, and then the editing making it totally seem like there were two of each person in the room is actually super effective filmmaking! Very cool. With techniques like this, I'm looking forward to seeing what Taniwha Road produces as they get older and more experienced! My main note would be to work a little on your storytelling, acting and overall technical side, because this team shows a lot of promise and I would be stoked to see them in the finals some day. TITLE REVIEW: Great time travel/baking double meaning.

Under The Gun

A lot of cool ideas in this film, which were maybe taken a bit too seriously. Would have liked to have seen some comedy to ballance out such a thickly serious and tense situation. Good locations. Good actors.

Dumb Cult

This film's biggest strength is it's characters and acting. Both Mrs. Baggins and her typical kiwi wife mannerisms and Mr. Baggins and his beautifully subtle understated performance in the background of the shots, or quietly mocking his wife's end of the world beliefs. Both performances had the audience rolling, as well as some excellent gags and one liners, which basically tie the film together- my favourite being leaving the dog outside the bunker, so brutal but so funny. The judge's really loved this one. Mockumentary gets a lot of flack these days, but both "Dumb Cult" and "PC High" get an insane amount of mileage out of this format that I begrudgingly giggle at all those classic Mockumentary tropes like glancing at the camera anyway. This is slick for a 48hours film, Mockumetary or not, and it's great to see the culmination of a bunch of people who are creative for a living let loose and make something as crazy as this. In a way I think it represents a classic but tried-and-true formula for 48hours successes, and it's good to see No Budget Ninjas continuing to make the finals. If I were to pick any gripes with the film, I'd say there were a couple plot holes which I found it hard to ignore- mainly around the mechanics of the actual end of the world- I'm not sure why you'd need a bunker if the rapture was your apocalypse of choice, though I guess it was a 'prepare for everything' situation. Overall I'd say the story is the film's weakest link, I'd have liked something a little more original, but as I said, the performances are what makes this film so good, so that's all it needed. Perhaps, going forward, this could be something No Budget Ninjas focus on for next year. As for your title, I'm not sure if "Dumb Cunt" is ubiquitous enough of an insult for it to be obvious that "Dumb Cult" is playing off of it- I didn't think of it at all until it's bleeped in the film. I'm also not sure if the archetype character of Mrs Baggins is the type of person who'd use this phrase (it always felt like a Lad culture kind of thing to me). I think "LDOPE" would have probably fit your film better as a title, but this is all pretty superfluous stuff in the end isn't it? Great job anyway team!

Persecution Complex

This team obviously have a really good handle on tone and atmosphere, and while I didn't quite follow the story as much as I wanted to, there is clearly a lot of thought and care put into whatever the story being told is. As for your title, I'm not really sure how "Persecution Complex" works into the story.

Criminal Wanted

Gonna echo a lot of Mista Teas's great review here - very nicely shot, very technically proficient from a team which shows a lot of promise.

The premise of your story is great, though the audio mix made it a little tricky to figure out what was going on when Yellow entered the bar - I gleaned he was shot and killed, but it would have been nice to hear this a little more clearly. I also think a scene missing here - one which you could have done instead of the slightly aimless joke about the rain/sprinkler, would be the main character running away from the crime scene, escaping the sound of sirens.

I think Mista Teas brings up a great point that the auditions montage, while a great direction to take the story in, feels a little undercooked, and a more fleshed out sequence in which we see how these potential new partners in crime carry out (and fail) various minor robberies, would have been a lot more engaging to watch as an audience, and probably a lot more engaging to make as filmmakers. Instead of a "NEXT!" scene in an empty room, you could have had a great time dipping in and out of different locations, showing different small scale crimes gone wrong.

This would have also made the ending, where he decided to not attempt the same larger crime which had his previous partner killed, hit a little harder.

None of this is to say there was anything wrong with your story structure - in fact the ending as it is is already quite sweet, I guess this is more me punching up your script to demonstrate areas in which you just fell short of graduating the shortlist.

Challenge for next year: I don't think you need much advice from me, I'd say just keep practicing your various filmmaking disciplines. Maybe after writing your script next year, think of some areas before you film which could be enhanced, giving your film an X factor.

Mahnamana

Holy crap. Probably my pick for the overall competition winner for 2016. When the Puppet genre was chosen (I guess to replace musical), this is the film I bet the festival runners were hoping would be made. From the ingenious title, to the consistently inconsistent dystopian aesthetic of the puppets (I honestly loved how there was no constant species or style of puppet, they all were just random junky looking things), to the dope one-liner the Monkey puppet drops at the climax, this film is a wild ride and I'm stoked to have seen it this early in what will be a long run in the competition.

Merry Anniversary

Rocket Boy have been around the competition for years now, and their distinct style of storytelling can sometimes hit and sometimes miss.

Merry Anniversary is a dark and mysterious film, with some great ideas at its core - I think a jilted lover revenge film is a great angle for Anniversary. I also quite liked the use of sign being sign language, though it would have been better if sign langue was already a bigger part of the film.

The boy writing his note at the start got some chuckles from the audience, though I'm not sure if these comedic moments were intentional, and if they were, I think the film is a bit tonally confusing, not sure if it wants to be a hard drama or a black comedy.

There are a few technical and editing foibles here too - the boy promises to be home before dark when we can already see it's dark outside, and the mum checks her phone while two separate characters are heard having a phone call, which made pretty much everyone who has watched this film confused, thinking the mum was one of the participants in the call.

I think I would have liked to explore the innerworkings of all of these implications a bit more (having the end of the film be the middle is a more exciting idea here), and on the flip side I think some stuff was drawn attention to and explained, when if it hadn't been brought up, I wouldn't have thought to question it, like how the girlfriend's friend remarks that the boy hasn't been in maths class for a while. Surely if he's missing school and his worried mother hasn't seen him in a month, then this would be a harder secret to hide?

Overall, a good idea, and some effective performances from the actors. There was just also a bit of a laundry list of small hiccups which hold this film back.

Challenge for next year: Keep doing your thing, maybe look into practicing all the various filmmaking jobs before the weekend - get accustomed with editing and camerawork, make films outside of the competition.

The Endless Burden

This film looks gorgeous, something to be expected of the NZBS. While the story is not the most original concept that has cropped up around the ideas of time travel, the acting and delivery is awesome, and I would expect to see it make the city finals.

Perpetual Pause

There's something about the ability to freeze time that feels intrinsically linked to the high school genre- maybe it's because of shows like "Saved by the Bell" which used freezing time as a narrative device, or maybe it's because as teenagers, probably more than any other time in our lives, we fantasize about the ability to postpone, procrastinate and even control time itself so that we don't have to face up to our bogus responsibilities. Beyond the creative concept, the casting of characters was great too, and well done getting enough extras to convincingly pull off a functioning high school, albeit a frozen one. The extras all do a great job of being paused, I didn't notice any stumbles from anyone, though I wasn't really looking for them. I also LOVE the striking visual image of a school covered in screwed up notes, and I kind of wish the film had leaned into this more and just had an absurd about of these notes falling out of closets and filling up rubbish bins. Maybe Jack has been trying to write this perfect note for years? There are a couple of plot contrivances/inconsistencies however that I would like to point out, if only for constructive criticism. I don't necessarily want to know HOW our hero has the ability to freeze time, but the fact that it froze everyone except for this girl felt like it needed a bit of explaining. For someone who has been able to freeze time his whole life, he did not seem in anyway shocked that someone was immune to his powers. I also think the stakes could have been higher here- all they have to do is write a note and Jack can unfreeze time whenever he wants. Some kind of time pressure here would have helped make the film a bit more action packed. I'm also not sure if it was entirely necessary to demonize Jack's crush, she seemed like a nice girl who lets him down easy, but then the main girl explains that she's actually a cheater and a bad person- and if this is true then it would have been nice to see this for ourselves instead of being told it by someone who could just be lying. Ultimately, I would say I would have liked to have seen a little more mileage out of the pausing time concept in the film, but hey, it's still a fantastic idea and is A+ in so many other areas that it still feels like it's own little complete piece. As for your title, "Perpetual Pause" is interesting, it kind of feels like there could have been something that suited the genre more, but this is small potatoes stuff.

Text Back

I really liked the concept of this film. Super original and have never seen it done before. Another solid entry from Chess Club, and though I doubt it will reach the same heights as last year's monolith, it still reached the audience on a much more personal and touching level this year. Fight Club ftw.

Tech Support: Don't Call for Help

A pretty cool story, you guys should be proud of what you made, even if you didn't get it in on time. Great comedic performances from the male technophobe too, I laughed so hard at him reacting to the door beep. Keep working away at those storytelling skills, and maybe next year try come up with an idea you think nobody else with your genre will think of, because this kind of felt like you went with the first and most obvious idea. As for your title, "Tech Support: Don't Call For Help" is pretty intriguing, I like it.

Unbe-weeb-able

Kicking off the night with a fun and hilariously contemporary film about an all-too-real subculture in today's society. While your technical side let you down severely, the sense of humour of your story telling shows a lot of promise. So study up! Learn how to craft the technical side of a film, and you could see yourselves going far in the comp.

"ouch"

Absolutely hilarious stuff, and the idea on paper is a sure bet for the finalists, so all you need to work on is your picture, sound and editing, because your sense of humour and story are VERY solid. As for your title, "ouch" is great. Simple, indicative of the film's style, and immediately puts a smile on your face when you see "Splatstick" as the genre.

Just Your Basic Hysteria

I love how the use of elements and genre are integral to JUST YOUR BASIC HYSTERIA - in that respect it has the bones of a 48Hour film which usually does quite well in the competition.

Particularly the marriage of "sign" with "supernatural" feels like the primordial ooze from which this film sprung from, and a piss-take around Live/Laugh/Love signs and the basic white women stereotype which is attached to it, is something I think was really fun to see in the comp.

Similarly, the way the L/L/L's curse manifests being the too-cool flatmates slowly turning into the stereotype is genius. The acting from all the leads is really great as well, very naturalistic in a way you don't often tend to see in Christchurch 48.

One thing I think could have been executed a little better though, would be when the guy drowns in the bubble bath, I feel like the tonal shift from silly comedy to emotionally devastating was a little jarring. This is an issue of tone, and one which plagues a lot of teams. I'm not saying people wouldn't react that way in real life if their friend drowned, but tonally the world you presented felt a little bit more cartoony than real life, and seeing someone respond realistically to a friend drowning (by way of a cursed Live, Laugh, Love sign) didn't fit quite right for me.

I also don't think the character should have drowned at all anyway - I think a much more effective climax would have been 2/3 of the flatmates succumbing to the sign's Basic hysteria, and the 3rd one needing to fight them off as if they were trapped in a instagram fauxtivational zombie apocalypse. Maybe the surviving flatmate converts them back to their non-basic selves by getting them to judge an arthouse film critically, or acknowledge that reality tv is bad for society - conversations 'basic' people typically don't engage with.

Sorry for Script Doctoring, I think I'm over-correcting because this was probably the script I'd have most liked to have been a part of making this year. Hahah.

Challenge for next year: Outside of these subjective storytelling issues, I really really implore you guys to scrub up on your camerawork, sound and editing going forward in the competition. The sense of humour and the storytelling ability is already there, I think the main thing holding you back from progressing to the finals (and, frankly, doing quite well in them) is your low-fi technical side. Get a DoP on board the team, a soundy, an editor. You have great actors, writers and an awesome Director with a distinct voice, improve these other areas and you'll soar. I'd love to see more More Vermouth.

Twenty Four Hour Rewind

A really good idea, with some great locations and super solid acting. I think, as is the problem with time travel, we did end up in the repetitive zone, and it all ended up feeling pretty futile. Still, a good story arc with a strong ending, and I look forward to seeing what this team does in the future. As for your title, "Twenty Four Hour Rewind" is a bit of a headscratcher, I get that it's kind of related to the plot, but I think you could have come up with something more creative.

On The Beat

ON THE BEAT might be one of the best approaches to Ultra in the competition, which from what I've seen has managed to trip up almost every 'established' team who've taken it on. ON THE BEAT is the BETTER CALL SAUL to ROLLERS' BREAKING BAD, and I think the 'spin-off' method is something a lot of other teams maybe should have done as well. The songs are great, the story is gripping and it was genuinely a treat to see the best Charlie Flowers from last year back on screen, though as Richard mentioned, he didn't quite have the same charm of thoughtfulness as he did in ROLLERS, which would have been nice to see. Reminds me of how much Jeff Goldbloom's characterization changes between the first and second JURASSIC PARK films. Still, far and away one of the best 48hours films I've seen this year, will definitely make it far and could even win.

Sidney Manson and the Twin Factor 2

Hilarious and unexpected, let down only by the fact that it seemed to rely too much on what I assume was the acclaim of the previous film.

Night Shift

Ah shit here we go. I'll be honest and upfront, city manager impartialness be damned: This was my favourite film of 2019, I ranked it as a winner, and was legitimately mortified to discover it hadn't placed, I actually felt sick for a couple of hours after seeing the result because to me it was such an injustice. Not necessarily saying the top 3 didn't deserve their awards, but more that this film absolutely blew me away. The animation is slick, the songs are fun, the ultra elements are masterful, the story is great, and I think it has the best ending of any 48hour film I've seen this year. The shot of the explosion from outside the window coupled with the security screen breaking was such a FANTASTIC climax on its own, but the integration of Ultra along with it makes it that much tastier. While we're on the topic of tasty ultra, the 4th wall break is also, by far, the most well integrated 4th wall break I've seen out of all the Ultras in the country, and I'm pretty sure I've seen all the Ultras in the country. What's great about it, is that it totally fits in the language of the film, it's a throwaway joke, sure, but one that doesn't make an uninformed audience member go "Hmmm that was a weird joke". Another super effective part of this film which I love, is after Joe attacks the 'ghoul' and the "Gremlins" song starts, the shot of the screens closing in on him with "we are coming to find you" playing, is such a triumphant moment of the film, it's scary, its funny and it signifies we're now moving into the third act, and if there's one thing more 48hour films need to have, it's a third act. If I had to point out any weaknesses in the film, and I only feel I have to as some sort of explanation as to why it didn't quite make the cut of the top 3, I'd say the dialogue/sound mixing maybe wasn't 100% clear at times? A couple of people have mentioned to me that the character's lines are lost under the music, that sort of thing. But I dunno. Everything else about this film is firing on all cylinders, so I don't even really care about that. I love this film, and I'm very invested to see what Bork delivers next, inside the comp or out. TITLE REVIEW: Night Shift is an appropriate and very satisfying title.

Covert Movements

A really funny film which looks like it would have been super fun to make.

The performances and characters here are all world class, in particular Jordan's closet murderer and Courtney's eccentric heister are very good.

I'm a little meh on the poop focused story, and I feel like I've seen this interogation-for-silly-crime model of 48Hour film exist before - right down to it being a workplace comedy.

My biggest issue would be, with what was clearly a limited cast, I don't think the story benefits from having multiple characters played by the same actors - this works in a sketch format, but this is too long and too structured for that, and otherwise it's a decision which feels like it needs to be creatively justified, here it just feels like you ran out of actors hahaha.

Things you got right: Some really fun performances from some actors who are clearly enjoying acting

Things to work on for next time: Maybe being a little more focused with your story, maybe upping the stakes and focus on quality over quantity,

Tarot's Harrows

A super simple but super charming little comedy which might look low fi but actually has a pretty solid technical side.

I really liked the Tarot hut as well, it would have been better if it weren't obviously just someone's backyard, or maybe you'd have made it like an outside barbecue party with a strange fortune teller tucked away at the back?

I think the performances and the script are great - it's nothing revolutionary but the jokes kill, and I laughed at ever tarot reveal, and the reader being just as confused as the customer.

The ending is also, ofc, a great time.

Overall a really solid effort with effective jokes and fun acting.

Challenge for next year: I would say if you're aim is to get further than the shortlist in the future, maybe just focus on moving away from a premise which only really sustains a sketch comedy, and see if you can inject some of your sharp comedy into a more beefed up story with higher stakes and emotional pay off. Or keep just making silly stuff, coz there is a place for that in the competition too!

Re-maid

A really cool idea, and some really cool costumes. I think my main gripe with the film is that I don't find a call center location particularly interesting, I think it would have been interesting if this temp agency sent these mismatched revived characters off site into crazier work forces. The ending is a little expected, but it's a good ironic twist. As for your title, "Re-Maid" is great, though the main character was more of a Robin Hood analogy that a maid.

That Time of The Month

I really love this film. It's very sweet, and awesome to see a topic which has been needlessly taboo for a while covered in such a quirky way. I think the actors are all great, Briana in particular gives a really nice understated performance, she's not one of those actors who you can see is just waiting for her next line, she felt like a living breathing person in the world of the film. Kieran is hilarious and fulfils his role as the uncomfortable male perfectly, it's more of a satire of male characters than anything offensive. The joke is on him, not on the women. Maddi also plays her character with wonderful genuineness, pulling off an introverted awkward teenager perfectly. It's a small mousey performance (dragon v mousey?) which is perfect for her character's place in the film. The script, I think, is probably the best part of this film, while it's maybe just a series of wacky plays on the central concept, the underlining message is super sincere and plays throughout it. The stakes are low, but that's okay because the funny concept does more of the grunt work in terms of entertainment. My storytelling sensibilities are somewhat at odds with this film though, on the one hand, I feel like the concept is somewhat underutilised, as it would have been cool to see more extreme time travel, and while I respect the creative choice to make it a more grounded world where you only travel a few months at most, I guess my desire to see Grace and Liv travel to the 1920s, or the 1800s, or the future, or wherever (or WHENever ;)), is mainly because the single house location is a little dull, personally I prefer 48hour films which take us on a road trip to different locations. Personal preference but there you go. Also with the single location, the time travel itself feels more akin to teleportation than time travel, because you never see what time they go to. And when you start thinking about that, you start thinking about all the ways in which the implications of time travel as a concept aren't explored at all, and you start falling down the rabbit hole that every time travel film inevitably falls into. Ultimately though, what I think is really the main thing holding this film and potentially this team back, is just their low-fi set up. Some better cinematography and more consistent sound would have really made this film pop, and I think that acquiring these elements is the logical next step for Dragon V Mouse. I loved the sincere take this year, and it was awesome to see you all try something a bit different from your usual satirical films. I think this is your best film so far and a promising step forward for you as a team. TITLE REVIEW: That Time of the Month is great, as I'm sure were any of the other period/time travel titles which would have come to mind. In a way though, Time Travel as a genre feels like it produces the easiest films to title, as everyone eats up a good time based pun.

A Series of Unlikely Events

This was a breathe of air in a sea of atrocious films I was drowning in, in this heat. After watching about 10 terrible films and only one good one (The Butterfly), A Series of Unlikely Events managed to deliver a hysterical performance. Well done Zebras.

Pizza money

Action is the genre you guys were made for. I loved this film, the characters are great, the effects are great, the acting is great, and the story is as elegantly simple as it needs to be. I hope PIZZA MONEY gets recognized nationally, coz Jovial Entertainment absolutely deserve it.

Cabin Fever

I think there is a nugget of a good idea in this film. The character dynamic worked and the twist at the end was funny. But I feel like the rest of the film is quite stilted, and goes on for probably too long. It kind of toys with absurdity without leaning into it enough. I think maybe if there had been a few more locations and wasn't entirely tent bound, we'd have something a bit more interesting here. Technical elements were competent, though whatever camera was used kind of makes the film look like it was recorded on a VHS camera. TITLE REVIEW: Cabin Fever stands strong, an obvious title for the film.

The Jacket

The heart behind this film is really really good. A great approach to the "Over ten years" genre which has proven to be the most self-defining genre of the lot this year as it's not quite as easy to ignore or sweep under the rug. Ultimately, I couldn't help feel that this film felt more like a commercial, like an extra long one you see at the previews for a movie- a Hallensteins logo appearing at the end would not have felt out of place, but hey, kudos to you for making what I would consider quite a clever and effective ad concept for a clothing store. Great motivation to go out and buy a jacket with the hope that it will become your magical lucky jacket. As others have said, I would have liked a more clear indication of the difference in time era- everyone looked more or less contemporary. I think this idea was a solid introduction to what could have been a bigger film, but then you would have fallen into the same story structure as "Cushy: A Pull Story", and the last thing I would have wanted would have been an overflow of ten year movies following inanimate objects. Really well shot, really well edited, I look forward to seeing what you guys produce in the future. As for your title, "The Jacket" makes sense, and knowing the genre means you can kind of guess where it's gonna go before you watch it.

Anarchy in Year 10

A lot of good stuff in this film! The high point definitely being the ingenious title haha. I loved the grungy camera filter, it really added to the film and made it feel more 'punk', and I suspect probably covered up a lot of issues that could have existed in the colour grade. In terms of story, I would have liked to have seen Charlie overcoming more of an obstacle before realizing being a punk like her sister is the wrong path. I liked the set-up, and where the story went, but in the end, Charlie just made a good decision with ease. Keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing your future films!

When Space Hears You Scream

Well well well, ya got me. Sometimes guilty pleasure, sometime thorn in my side, Aaron's Anal Whatever are back under a covert name which shocked and, for some, appalled the audiences I've watched this film with, some of whom familiar with Clandestino's antics, some baptised by fire as that silver guy showed up and the credits went on and on for what felt like HAD to be more than 5 minutes.

Still, in a way that almost feels stupid to bring up, I don't think this is your best work gang. The last couple of years we just as rough around the edges, but I felt like there was an incentive to tell some kind of story - WHEN SPACE HEARS YOU SCREAM (which is an excellent title btw) is rather aimless, even for you guys, and to be honest I'm not exactly comfortable with the Spanish director persona that's been adopted for your press tour across the facebook groups this year. Coupled with the overused "ay ay ayyy" in your film, I dunno, it felt kinda racist and I'm not sure a bunch of white guys from Christchurch should be deploying these jokes in their grotesque orgy of unfinished CGI and playdough moulded penises.

Previous entries from you guys would be a shoe-in for the recently revived INCREDIBLY STRANGE award, and while I was tempted to nominate you, and this team is indeed incredibly strange, I didn't feel like I was seeing anything new or inventive from you. It's not enough to show me bare naked ass for an eternity-long 30 seconds anymore. I want more from you. I wanna see you weave your weirdness and crassness into something more cohesive, because I'd love to have to be forced to announce one day that Aaron's Anal Annihilation has made it into the city finals.

Challenge for next year: You completely ignored my challenge from last year! Give me a female protagonist - one that is not the butt of the joke or belittled in anyway. A doll does not count. Come on guys, you must know some REAL women??? ;)

THRILDO

Pretty funny. The style was really nice, from the animated dildo title sequence to the hand SLAPPING down on the mashed potatoes. The camera work was really great, and the concept as an idea was really good too. I think the middle of the film really let it down though, I didn't like that the dildo was just magically turning up in places, I felt like it would have been more effective if the dog had actually ran off with it, and she spent the film trying to retrieve from the adventures the dildo went naturally through case and effect instead of it seemingly having a mind of its own and turning up in the fridge by itself. Dinner scene was excellent, ending scene was excellent, I can't imagine it would have been a comfortable conversation with the actress playing the mother when you told her the story idea.

The Snapper

Like many, I'm not really sure what was going on in this film, but I still loved it. From the moment we see the fish 'come out', I was hooked... Though the lack of coherency with the rest of the story did leave me feeling kind of unsatisfied- I would love to know what this film 'means', if it does mean anything.

A Hearts Desire

Hhahahahahah the ENDING! You guys are insane, this film is now a total review powder keg, a grenade thrown into an inescapable room full of us 48 veterans, anxious to explain what everyone already knows. What the hell happened! Why! How! Why!

I'll be straight up, I genuinely voted this film as my number 1 pick of the city, I wanted to see it take out the big prize - but it should also be noted, I was the ONLY judge to place it even remotely this high, so this is a film which works for some, and is a complete write-off for others.

Let's get the objectively marvelous stuff out of the way first - the cinematography, the tone, the art direction, the sound design - it's all SPECTACULAR here, it's easily the most impressive stuff PlanetFoxFilms have ever done, and its cinematography especially stood head and shoulders above the other finalists. I want to frame some of these shots on my wall.

That shot early on where we see the eyes through the reeds was what locked your best use of genre award - even though your film arguably flushes its genre down the toilet by the end - this is the Best Use of Horror I have EVER SEEN in this competition, it's genuinely terrifying, but in such a mature way which is never cheapened by a jump scare or revealing too much. It's maybe cheapened by uhhh the elephant in the room though hahah.

Still, there is some breathtaking stuff on display here, and this is before I've even mentioned the acting - the obvious nod here being towards our spooky swamp man, who is kind of typecast into one of the most specific types I've ever seen an actor be typecast into. A live action cartoon character? Who knows, but its working. I also really enjoyed the performance from the female lead, who, as I've said in previous reviews for your films, comes off pretty wooden, but this woodeness feels totally utilized by the direction - it's a trend of your films to employ intentionally "less confident" acting performances and I just love the dryness it brings to the projects. This dryness reaches its peak with the final reaction shot crash zoom of the actress, which is so goddamn funny and definitely could have won Best Reaction on a different night. The same praise for intentionally wooden performances could be said for the swamp cop - a highlight for me is how Sean clearly wasn't anticipating walking so deep into the water and sort of half breaks character for a second. I love it, it's so charming.

So let's talk about the ending! I think its important to understand the reason people are so upset is because of how incredible the first two thirds of the film are - a lesser film with this ending wouldn't have ruffled any feathers, and with that in mind it begs the question whether or not you knew how good what you'd already captured was while shooting - if you knew it was gonna be this good and this effective, would you have gone ahead with the sketch ending?

I'm not entirely in agreement with others who say it comes out of nowhere, we do learn in what is admittedly a somewhat confusing first scene that there are multiple swamp creatures hanging about, and I think some of the main character's wishes are a little too absurd (an invisible robot dog?) and I actually probably would have downplayed this absurdity so that the bananas ending hits even harder.

The reason you were nominated for Best Ending despite all this is because A) despite it being a sketch ending, indicative of a team not knowing how to get in and get out, it's still directed and told VERY confidently, it's not half-assed and is so baffling and effective, it's arguably as powerful as what came before it, just on the other side of the spectrum. Oh, and B) I wanted to stir and cause upset with everyone who felt it let the film down hahhaha.

When we vetted this film, we were completely silenced by the opening minutes, only to explode into an argument as it ended over whether it was a good ending or not, and it resulted in us rewatching the film several times.

All in all a very impressive feat, and basically confirmation that this team will probably win the city in the future. They just gotta get on the same wavelength as the audiences and the judges.

Also, fantastic Ultra entry, well deserving of its best nomination. This must have been exhausting to edit since you stayed up all night filming. I've been there.

Things you got right: A complete tonal masterpiece, legitimately some of the most impressive exploiting of genre tropes I've seen in my decade or so involved in the competition.

Things to work on for next time: Okay hear me out, maybe make a film as good as this but it has an ending which nails the genre instead of subverting the genre? Just try it out, you can always revert back next time :P

BRAT SWAP

I agree with a lot of what is said in the reviews above - particularly that the aftermath of the swap maybe would have been a better place to focus the story and expand upon the ideas and the characters and their motivations.

The story as it is feels more like a comedy sketch - though the length of a short film, and personally I think I found myself getting over the joke fairly early in.

Effective performances from all the actors though, the brats were bratty, the kids were cute and the mother was suitably privileged and oblivious. Her shrugging and agreeing to buy beer with her son at the end was a great emotional resolve too.

The host of the show is maybe a good indicator of the ways in which this film stopped just short of going the extra mile here though - while his performance is good, I don't recall the last time I saw a game show host with a scraggly beard and several facial piercings. Coupled with the "studio" very clearly being just a dim living room with some posters hung up on the drab white walls, the X factor this film was missing is better art direction and production design.

Some work is done to be fair, the host is wearing a suit, and clutching some cue cards - and the lighting work is very intentional - but imagine how much better this film would look if you'd scored an actual studio, an actual Steve Harveyesque host, built an actual set? Obviously this is much, much more work, and I'm sympathetic to time constraints, but when it comes down to it, and audience isn't going to forgive needing to meet YOUR vision half way. We only get to see what's on screen, not what you're wanting it to look like, and so the solution is either go whole hog and improve the production value, or change your story to one which works with the assets at your disposal.

Challenge for next year: I think you've got a great set of actors and a really clear creative vision - I'd like to see that applied to a story which doesn't require the audience to do the heavy lifting when it comes to suspending disbelief. If all you have access to is a living room, make a real cool story set in a living room. Or if you have a mate that works in a library, or your mum is a manager at Kmart or something, hit them up and see if you can set your film there.

The Pickup

Haha I love you guys. This film has a such a strong personality, that the sheer fun and enjoyment I know you would have felt making this film really pops off the screen. My favourite part was the little kid half-heartedly skipping. You guys have evert aspect of filmmaking down, from your camera work, to your writing, to your editing and especially your acting, every character in this film is so enjoyable to watch. All I would say is keep honing those skills and creating even better films in the future.

Accessories Not Included

An awesome story, awesome location and awesome character.

While the banter is hilarious and the concept is really succinct and well pulled off, I think the best part is probably the concept of the approaching heartbeat, whatever that may mean, looming over the film for so long without any real explanation.

The ending is great too - it's a really interesting film to rewatch and pick up on all the clues, and yet at the same time, enough of the story and art direction is enigmatic that you know from the get-go that there's something weird about this film.

Things you got right: A really funny story with strong lead performances and an ending that'll knock your socks off.

Things to work on for next time: Maybe a little more narrative focus, it feels like we were lost in a sea of never ending dick jokes for a while? But really all this team needs is to keep making stuff, keep getting better. Looking forward to seeing you next year.

a nipple in time

Hmmmmmmmm. I'm very nervous as to what to write here, what will be used against me in next year's team intro? I was pretty excited for this film, the title is hilarious and intriguing, and A Slice of You was one of last year's highlights, which I gave such a glowing review, and as such I feel it permits me to be ever-so-slightly harsher on you this year. The premise is totally 48Hoursian, and the idea of time traveling via nipple play is dangerously close to an idea I've had in my back pocket for a sequel to Not Again, which I'll never make. I guess I couldn't now anyway, but this is all to say I was onboard within the first couple of minutes. Okay so we time travel by twisting nipples, sweet, where are we gonna go team? ... Not really... anywhere? Look, props to you guys for making a time travel film which actually takes us on a journey, it's far more than I ever did when I got this fuckin genre, but by the end of the adventure I was just kind of... confused as to why we were going to the places we were going to? The caveman era, the old timey cottage and the dawn of time with Adam were all great ideas, but everything else left me scratching my head, ESPECIALLY the "era" where people talk via playing instruments? What time era is this supposed to be? Or the one where the instruments talk about their prostate? Or the dark police state where they're chased for having nipples? At a guess, I'd say these are supposed to places FAR OFF in the future, right? Like humans develop into... uhh... instruments? I kind of wondered if time and space itself had broken, but you save that for the end when the nipples get twisted opposite ways. My point being, I think we needed to see the guys travel to more distinct time periods, because the places where it gets wild are just kind of vague and confusing, and to be honest, in terms of art direction, aren't wild enough. A stage or a school hall don't feel very wild at all, almost boring, to be honest. The most intriguing part of your film is at the end, when one of the main characters bump into their older self, and I just feel so conflicted for you guys, because it kinda feels like you brushed greatness with this scene - I'd have loved for you to utilise the fact that Marcus and Cameron look *identical*, and straight up made a completely different film about a character and their older/younger self. Maybe the older version travels back to fix something he regrets? Maybe its a cute love story? Maybe its a dark tragic crime film? This was what your film should have been guys. I'm sorry. I love you. I hope we can still be friends. My autopsy of this film, is that you guys were maybe a bit deflated getting time travel for the second time in 3 years, and I'm sure it can't have helped that your composer was once my team's composer and also made a time travel film where their mission statement was almost exactly the same as it sounds like it was in this film. Anyway, it feels like you landed on A Nipple in Time because it was a funny title that parodied your other time travel film, and built it around that. When I saw your title, I kind of hoped this wouldn't be the case, but alas, it looks like it was. ALRIGHTY! I still love yas, and I wouldn't have been so harcore on you if I didn't know you were capable of something better, so please take this as an encouragement! TITLE REVIEW: What more is there to say? It's great. But I'd have preferred a better film, even if it had to have a different title.

My Boo

Oh boy, what a great film, and what a genuine tragedy that this was disqualified, I feel for you guys- I've been there too. A fantastic idea for a story- and executed to such a high degree. The lead is great, so charismatic, and he'd need to be for having such a morally grey motivation. But what a motivation it is! Dave was also a fantastic guide to purgatory, very good call making him a comedic character. I would have liked to have seen more of him, though I'm not sure how that could have worked with the story already as tight as it is. The leading girl, as well as the medium are both fantastic in their roles too, and I loved the medium's outfit- immediately told me everything I needed to know about her personality. Really good ending too, great closure/full circle stuff here that a LOT of films seemed to be lacking this year. This would have 100% made the shortlist and probably the final 15 as well. Totally my kind of film. This leaves me with trying to access what went wrong? What made you late? You mentioned to me at Hand-in that you spent a lot of time on the special effects to give the ghost characters an aura. My advice would be, you didn't need to do this, and you could have kept it really simple, and above all, practical. How about make-up or costume? If you set up a rule in your universe that all ghosts wear flowing white robes or something like that, I'd have never questioned it, and it would have saved you hours in the edit. This also leads me to my next point..... YOUR TITLE! "My Boo" is a great title, I totally get it, my only comment would be that if the ghost characters had looked more like traditional halloween spooky ghosts (hence my flowing white robe suggestion) this would have been a ever-so-slightly better title. Still, hindsight is 20/20. Please hand in on time next year guys, you could probably win this thing.

Yes Mother

Pretty wild film. Did I understand it? Not entirely. Was the production value high? Not exactly. But that make-up was dope! I would love to see this level of dedication to make-up be implemented on a film that takes place in a location a bit more interesting than an empty room :) TITLE REVIEW: Yes Mother is great. The kind of simple turn-of-phrase title that I really dig.

Dice to Meet You 2: No More Mr Dice Guy

Lucky you, you get two reviews!

I think this film is definitely the stronger half of the Dice to Meet You saga, so good job leaving us on a high.

Once again the Netflixian User Interface integration was really well done and I absolutely loved it.

Chroma keying out the sky to have the demon towering over the characters was really awesome too, a lot of fun.

Challenge for next year: Please keep doing two-part films! I love this format, and I think as you improve as filmmakers, you might even see your funny Netflix gimmick play before the City Finals audience one day :)

The Janitor

Mad Scientists are a team who are both able to adapt to feedback, but also remain completely true to who they are and the stories they want to tell, and that's still true in The Janitor.

What's I'm really loving about the team's development, especially in their last two films, is a growing understanding for story structure, something that was missing from some of their earlier stuff, and here we see a really great grasp on the comedy-of-error genre, complete with goofy cartoon sound effects, a classic mistaken identity set-up, and a plot driven by Looney Tunes-esque beats as our main character bumbles his way to victory.

Really solid work from the cast, and as always the props and violence are incredible. Also as always, the technical side could use a little extra polish, though ya'll were late this year so perhaps you run out of time?

Challenge for next year: While I'm glad to see a film that isn't shot in someone's house, I am still aware that this is the second Mad Scientists film shot at Laser Strike in a row -- perhaps this is unfair and a film should be judged in a vacuum, but this team have often ventured out in the wild green (screen) yonder and I'd love to see somewhere new next year.

Oogabooga

Some solid work from a team who show a lot of potential. Effective camerawork, acting and storytelling here, though some stuff worked more than other stuff.

Conceptually, this is a good idea for a swap movie, and Encino Man riffing story which sees a caveman fish-out-of-water in the big scary world of central Christchurch 2022. I think these are great ideas, but I'm not sure the film lives up to this greatness.

Structurally, the story very much has a "we couldn't think of a middle" middle - the only thing of consequence that happens is we meet the friend, and I think this friend needed to be introduced a lot earlier, and we should have gone straight to smoking drugs. The character mentioning this was the most fun he'd had since yesterday is hilarious, I would have loved for you to lean into this faux-sincerity of this character who I get the feeling grossly overinvests into every relationship in his life. The mystical stone being the conduit for time travel was fun too.

There are a hundred ways to take this story, and it all depends on who the caveman meets in modern day. A stoner isn't a bad choice, but I think it would have been worthy to explore some others as well.

A big fault in the film too, is your production value - while I'm delighted to see a film shot outside and in public no less, with a wide variety of locations, it would have been cool to see the world the filmmakers were clearly imagining in their heads instead the ramshackle vision we have in the final product.

What I mean by this, is the Caveman is clearly wearing a fake beard, his timeline is clearly just a beach, and judging by the superimposed yelling lines from off screen cavemen, you maybe had some trouble casting any other cavemen? I know it's a frustrating note, but I think these scenes would have been dramatically improved by actually casting someone with a scraggly beard and messy hair, and in fact cast multiple cavemen, and film IN A CAVE, instead of just asking the audience to believe New Brighton is the stone age.

I know the rebuttal to this is "But AJ we didn't have any actors that look like cavemen, we didn't know where to find a cave to film in", and yeah it's hard. I'm sympathetic to these troubles, but a great 48Hour film is one that works with the assets the team has access to - whenever we (the audience, judges) see a scene or character which was clearly supposed to appear a lot more authentic than it actually was, we understand, but we don't forgive it, and unless your film is going for a Z-grade aesthetic (which I don't think this one was), this production value issues is one of the biggest things which separates the good teams from the great teams.

I'm saying all this because this team strikes me as one who would love to get better and improve and make something with more clout in the competition, and this is one of the best ways to do it. If you have a scene set millions of years ago, I want it to look like millions of years ago, and if you're character is a caveman, the comedy of him being in modern day is going to be intoxicatingly funny if he looks authentic, instead of a dude in a shiny wig and fake beard.

Challenge for next year: Keep practising your craft, and make some more films outside of the competition. Learn how to make a technically flawless film (you're close already) and also explore how to tell an effective story with the assets you have access to - this might mean simplifying things and if you only have access to a house or a classroom, focus on telling a really cool story in that environment - or, double down on your fantastical concepts, but use actors and locations and props which sell this idea authentically.

There Was A Way

I loved your film last year, and while this year's outing isn't quite as charming, it's still really great. I think you guys remind me of myself when I was younger, but from the audience laughter its clear that it's not only me who enjoys your style. Probably one of my favourite Splatstick films from what I've seen. While the story could be improved, the sense of humour is so good, as are the various stunts like the baby falling in the river or the character's guts falling out. I encourage you guys to buckle down into story next year. I could easily see you making the finals in future years, you just gotta combine your great practical ideas with a really quality plot. As for your title, I absolutely love "There Was a Way" as a title, but I'm not sure how it relates to the film?

Emily goes to the dairy and buys some milk

Definitely a team woefully underprepared for Musical/Dance, but some magic happened on that sunny Saturday when Emile went to the dairy to buy some milk.

The lingering opening shot was great, and as Emily walked away, way out of focus, I found myself hoping this would be the whole film - a static shot where someone leaves the frame and comes back 4 minutes and 55 seconds later with a bottle of milk. What an experience that would be.

Still, the film we do get is absurd and relentlessly entertaining. The music, when it does show up, is a little too loud, but it totally adds to the bizarre nature of this (perhaps unintentionally) arty entry into the competition this year.

My only criticism would be that I think the film becomes a little too self aware - I didn't like the narrator describing the dance as "awkward" the second time. Emily should be confident and proud of her dances. She should hold her head high.

She bought the milk. She did the dances. She kept the gate? I guess so. Great stuff.

Challenge for next year: If your technical proficiency was a little stronger, an absurdist film like this could actually find itself going pretty far - though it maybe needs a touch more story. Or maybe that would ruin your vibe! I don't want to control your vision, you're clearly much better artists than me.

Eggs for Breakfast

Not really sure about anything that happened in this one.

The camerawork and audio are all great, and there are some interesting visual ideas and techniques, but I'll be damned if I have any idea what was happening, who these characters are or what the message of the film is.

To be clear, I don't think every 48Hour film needs a message, but this film clearly has one, and I really have no idea what to take from it.

I liked the lead, and I liked the narrative device of breakfast, but I don't have any idea what it all means.

Things you got right: Charisma, technically solid, and I really like the title too.

Things to work on for next time: Telling a story with a clear narrative that doesn't leave everyone trying to figure out what was happening.

Stealing Thoughts

I didn't quite understand what was happening in this film but I really liked parts of it. The opening scene was AWESOME. A really cool idea and my favourite part of the film. As we rushed from civilian to civilian (kind of) hearing their thoughts, it was really effective. I'm even glad the audio effect made it difficult to actually decipher the words they were thinking, because it made me wonder if that's what reading people's thoughts would actually sound like, kind of inaudible and hollow. The rest of the film certainly delivers on what was probably a cohesive idea in the minds of the filmmakers, but to the audience, nothing really makes sense. Why is he hearing voices? Why is he typing out that note? Why is he smothering that girl? A bit more explanation could have turned this spooky film into something better. The lead actor was pretty wooden, he didn't really seem like he wanted to be on camera, but maybe that was the intention. Loved your team intro too, it made me laugh. Maybe the rest of the film should have kept that same light heartedness?

Polaroid 2

POLAROID 2 is Submission Impossible's BEST film to date, and managed to do what no other Ultra sequels did; close a loop left open by the original. The subject matter of the story is crazy emotional, but it's handled with class thanks to the tremendous acting. My only confusion lies in something that has eluded both films in this series now- Are we assuming that at some point in the future, time travel becomes possible? As both films have had messages sent and intercepted from the future- within the characters lifetimes- yet both present day stories are pretty grounded in reality. Perhaps a Polaroid 3 will clear things up? ;) As a whole, one of the best Ultras I've seen in terms of continuing the story (and surpassing it imo), though if the original isn't fresh in your mind, I can imagine this one being a little difficult to grasp.

Modern Romance

This film starts out a little slow and janky, but quickly slips into a hilarious bout between two gentlemen callers. The cinematography was awesome, and the macabre dishevelled line delivery really gave this film it's own feel. I loved the match cut, though I was a little upset at who won Harper's heart at the end of the film, as I was definitely routing for the underdog.

Dog's Day Out

A pretty cute story about dogs!

The highlights for me were those cathartic shots of the dogs running free through the bush - I wanted to join them and go on their adventure too!

Maybe the most controversial use of "Something Invisible" I've seen in the comp though, I'm not sure "not being able to find something" counts as invisible!

I think the story had highlights, but ultimately I'd have loved to have seen it go to bigger and better places.

Still, very cute and charming. Great job team!

Things you got right: A movie which felt very inspirational at times, especially if you're into/are a dog!

Things to work on for next time: I'd love to see you heighten the stakes, play with tension and build character arcs.

Snow Country for Cold Elves

This film didn't play in our heat, but it gets full marks for its hilarious title. I wonder what it's about. EDIT: Just saw it in the city finals. Really awesome work here, from the snowy aesthetic, to the rhyming narration, to the art direction, Permanently Confused really embraced the Christmas genre, and absolutely deserves the full 7 stars I prematurely gave it.

The Clock Is Ticking

This film felt like it had a lot of jokes which were probably hilarious for the cast and crew, but I don't know if they translated to film. While I'm left with a lot of questions about the plot, I'm sure that was the intention- I don't need to go digging into why there was a bomb there anyway. I think there was a lack of focus with this story, and I would have liked to have seen it go to more interesting places than "Here comes another wacky character!" TITLE REVIEW: Your title is a little rudimentary no? I'm sure there's something more creative.

Knife Jogger: The Final Cut

Really charming young team pulling off a great little story which, as others have said, I would have liked to have seen a little more of. Despite the team name being "Big Boys", KNIFE JOGGER has some really good female characters, which is nice to see with the competition's emphasis on that this year.

Bad Therapy

A really nice message at the heart of the film, and a stand-out performance from the Conscience character.

Once again though, and this isn't through the fault of the filmmakers, we're finding ourselves trapped in a 21st century post-quake townhouse with white walls and clinical lighting - which, to be fair, is what therapists offices look like, but at the same time, we got one-too-many films which were essentially just people talking in rooms exactly like this one this year, and through the fickle hand of fate and the alphabet, Upshot ends up being one of the final films we watched in the whole city, so suffice to say by this point I was a little exhausted.

This exhaustion didn't help with a film which was literally the longest one in the comp this year by a full disqualified minute.

In a way, I've always felt stories about a character literally just going to therapy are narratively cheating a bit - so often stories serve to take us on an emotional journey wherein a character undergoes a sort of thematic therapy - having a character just visit a therapist and unload their woes is maybe the only acceptable use of telling instead of showing?

Apologies for the harshness, I think part of the problem is Upshot have made some awesome stuff in the past - 2018's delightful shadow dance film AURORA comes to mind in particular - and so seeing something without any of the visual flair I know the team to be capable of was a little disappointing. The emotional journey of the protagonist also shows the storytellers here have an understanding of character development - I think it would have been nice to see that as subtext instead of just THE text.

Challenge for next year: Get back into your crunchy scrappy filmmakery corner and make something that pops visually and narratively - and get your film in on time ;)

Munchies

Wooooooo! This film was AWESOME. My favourite of the heat, and I'd love to see it make the city finals, and maybe even the grand finals beyond that. What I loved about it was it was so unapologetically bizarre, and it completely works in spite of itself. I can't imagine the script made a lot of sense, and the fact that you guys produced an A+ film out of that is something I admire and greatly envy. Your casting was great, your direction was great, your sets were great. A total package.

I'm Gonna

I have a real soft spot for this film. Knowing nothing about you guys at 1:1 Creative, it really took me by surprise. Every element of this film is fantastic, the editing, the camerawork, the acting, the narrative. It's all here, and in a lot of ways it sets a great example of what a 48hour film should look and feel like when every base of filmmaking is covered. It's a shame the art direction award is absent this year too, because this film looked gorgeous with it's vibrant colours, especially in the candy scene- from the giant lollipops, to the rainbow strips, to even the choice of flavours for the soda, it all really makes the film pop and plays into the childlike glee that it's presenting. The kids do a great job as well, they're young enough for their naivety to be realistic (this is a weird thing to point out, but the old 'age inappropriate casting' problem can sometimes go the other way too). Their grown up counterparts really sell the show, with their actions and attitudes being very clearly children in adult bodies. It's funny that "I'm Gonna" and "Hero" were the two opening films of the night as well, because both are child centric non-Ultras which use voice over as their narrative and end on a twist that the people presented on screen aren't the people who've been talking the entire time (that's if I interpreted the ending to this one correctly). This film was the most wonderfully simple and clever idea which really did a great job of kicking off the finals night. Congratulations to the team as well for being the only first time finalists out of the whole 15! Let's hope we see you there next year. As for your title, "I'm Gonna" is perfect.

Friendly Fire

Well well well here we are at Sweaty Hands 2022.

I'll start with the good: Visually this film is stunning, the cinematography looks awesome and the golden glow of Bottle Lake forest is so nice that it's obvious why there's a cultural joke around filming there. How can ya resist!? Plus, one of few films not set inside a house this year, so that was enjoyable to see.

The editing as well, while unfinished by the deadline, shows a lot of potential, moreso in how it cuts between different shots and characters talking - less than when someone shouts so loud it nearly blows up the Little Andromeda speakers.

I'm not sure about everything else here though, and in different ways both this film and your film last year demonstrate you're a strong technical team who are missing a few important roles in your team - I've yet to see a particularly strong story, nor particularly strong performances in a Sweaty Hands film, and if you can finish editing by the deadline next year, these two elements are the only things stopping you from getting into the finals and probably maybe even winning.

I must admit, I found it quite difficult to follow the story, beyond the fact the characters were camping and they seemed to fuckin hate each other. There's some kind of spooky story about Hell Hounds who end up being real, but we don't actually see them and the spooky stuff is set during dusk, so tonally I'm not feeling like I should be scared, nor am I convinced the other characters would be either.

There's a lot of telling instead of showing here - characters telling us the plot, characters telling us how they feel, characters telling us what spooky dogs await out there in the trees. This grueling exposition certainly doesn't help with line deliveries either - none of you are terrible performers but I winced a bit when the opening dialogue from Connyr's character had him sigh TWICE and explain that this was the last time these characters will spend any time together before they go off to university. Why is he saying this? Is he clarifying this to the people in the car who already know? This is such an easy plot element to slip into the story without a character just blurting it out when everyone already knows.

I also found it odd that none of the characters seemed to like each other at all, and I think this was a big turn off for me. Coming-of-Age is a genre about youth and conflict, sure, but it's hard to know who I'm supposed to identify with when the cast are all assholes to each other.

While I praised the cinematography, one thing you'll need to work out properly is character blocking - a lot of characters just standing around, waiting to say their lines, and unconvincingly getting spooked. I think you guys were going for something claustrophobic, but there's so much open space it feels contrived that anyone would be that nervous.

Horror/spooky isn't a bad choice, but I do think there was a better tone and a better story to tell with these characters and this location and this team.

Challenge for next year: I reckon rope in an accomplished writer (or study up some story structure and the films you like and the stories you want to tell) and maybe one or two accomplished actors. I think do that, and you'll soar as a team. Both years you've been so close, and I think this is a step in the right direction. 2023 is your year!

Scarfface

Very cool ideas in this film, accompanied by some very convincing and authentic acting from the 3 main actresses in the piece. The way they interacted with each other before and after they got in the car felt very real and casual, which is something which is very hard to pull off in amateur filmmaking. The terrified acting later on in the film was also very authentic, and the twist was one I truly didn't see coming and I really appreciated it. I did wonder why the girl who escapes the house would go back in alone to save her friend instead of calling the police, or even just for help? Technically this film was let down a little in its sound and camera department, but I think you guys are definitely on your way to creating something very polished. Here's hoping you impress even more in the future!

A Series of Unlikely Events

This was a breathe of air in a sea of atrocious films I was drowning in, in this heat. After watching about 10 terrible films and only one good one (The Butterfly), A Series of Unlikely Events managed to deliver a hysterical performance. Well done Zebras.

Opposite side of the track

Really great camera work and production design, but I found the story hard to follow at times and it maybe wasn't as compelling as it wanted to be. There's a really strong directorial voice, which is nice. I'd have loved to see the characters outside of the room, maybe with actual flashbacks to illustrate what they were talking about. TITLE REVIEW: I'm not sure your title perfectly illustrates what the film is really about.

Crimson Snow

I'd seen bits and pieces of this film through facebook stories and thumbnails and things before I got to it and I was so excited.

With a plethora of films (even some of the city's best) shot in drab white houses this year, I was so excited to see such a unique location - one which feels so intentional (were you always planning on shooting your film in the mountains?) but also it so perfectly matches with Pavlova Western as a genre. Visually this film is thrilling, with certain shots of cowboys and the endless winter tundra of Christchurch's rolling fields and hills, being the kind of imagery you just don't see in 48Hours, and at the best of times this film evokes feelings of longing, or melancholy, of hope and hopelessness.

The filmmakers involved with Sons of the Broad Meadow are ones who have made some pretty impressive visuals before, but a consistent weak link in their team, unfortunately, tends to be the story - or at least creating a story which matches the brilliance of the visuals and the ideas. This, sadly, rings true for CRIMSON SNOW, but in a way which allows for, hopefully, some wonderful constructive feedback.

In this case in particular, I think the premise is good, and the broad strokes story structure is fine, but if I could have offered one piece of advice for this script it would be "do less". I'd even go as far as saying this film would have been vastly improved by little-to-no dialogue, because it seems like every line in this film is pretty expository, and I felt the atmosphere created by the location slipping away with every line spoken.

I'd have probably also vetoed the Missing Person poster which looked a bit to glossy for the (admittedly vague) time period - communicate the bounty situation in a different way. I'd have also tried dirtying up the outfits a bit, making that fake blood a little less neon raspberry, and, yeah, probably would have cut the incomplete ragdoll shot at the end - ambitious for sure, but it's a bit of a death knell on the film, disrupting the mood and tone at probably the most tonally important part of the film.

The preceding gun fight between the protagonist and the man in black was awesome, and served as a climax in and of itself, making the ragdoll even less necessary.

I'd also like to talk about the issue of the missing girl not being found - a lot of people I've talked to about this film, including a lot of the judges, have just been absolutely baffled that he doesn't find the granddaughter. I understand this - the easiest way to make a satisfying ending here would indeed be for the guy to find the granddaughter - but I'd like to offer a different thought in this area...

I think stories, at the end of the day, don't need satisfying endings, but they do need thematic closure. Westerns especially thrive on very complicated and hard-to-accept truths and themes - look at something like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which has an incredibly non-traditional conclusion. So with all this being said, I don't think the protagonist NEEDED to find the granddaughter, maybe he doesn't, maybe she's dead - as the white fabric he finds would suggest (though literally any other colour would make more sense, how the hell did he spot it?!). However if this is the ending you're going for, it needs to ring true as the conclusion for a theme completely absent from the film.

In other words, a hopeless ending is cool, but what are you saying ABOUT hopelessness?

Every sad ending you've ever seen that worked, worked because a thesis statement is being completed and communicated. THE GODFATHER is about how you can't escape corruption when it surrounds you, WATCHMEN is about how absolute truth is more important than comfort, PARASITE is about how the class divide is so broken that the poor will never become rich even if they work their whole lives. These all have sad endings, but they all have a point. And Westerns, as far as they go, are some of the most thematically rich (and depressing) films ever made.

All of this is definitely me being overly critical out of love - I can see such brilliance beneath the surface here, with the award winning cinematography being just the beginning of a team who have the potential to leave every other team in the dust. Or the snow.

Challenge for next year: I expect the Broad Meadow boys to make equally as brilliant location decisions next year (please PLEASE don't film indoors). What I would recommend is you guys find yourself a really solid writer to join the team, or act as a consultant. OR spend the next year studying story structure yourselves, and make sure you figure out how to be both exciting AND deliver on an emotional set-up.

No Bromo

Really solid work all around. Actors were great and the camera work was competent. I did think the actual characterisation was a little unclear, I was genuinely surprised that neither were gay because it felt as though we'd confirmed at least one of them was. While there's a strong sense of humour in this film, I am a little concerned at a film in 2019 basing a whole plot around gay panic, I'm not sure this flies today. We're not at critical toxic levels here, there is almost an equal amount of progressive thinking by the characters in the film, but still, it does make you wonder what the attitudes of the filmmakers were when making a film with this subject as their core conflict. As other reviewers have pointed it out, the fact that the characters stop just shy of kissing makes it all a little disingenuous, maybe all the gay panic elements would be forgiven if this was actually just a genuine coming out of the closet story. TITLE REVIEW: Again, I think No Bromo feels kinda like play on an antiquated term by today's moral standards, and it really didn't make me feel right. My favourite joke is probably just "Wokeback Fountain" as a film title, and I'd love it if you'd called the film this, or better yet, made this as a film.

Windows

Not your typical TBALC fare, taking a more dramatic approach for what could be the first time in this team's long and illustrious history. Ignoring the fact that doing two films in one weekend is pure insanity, WINDOWS is a great stand-alone piece, with some really simple but creative camera work. I'd say DOWN TO THE WIRE is the stronger of the two entries, but I would be very surprised if both films didn't make it into the city finals.

HOME

Beautiful music and beautiful scenery accompany a great short with a cool concept. I think your initial idea, the last person on earth listening to the recordings of her lost family, is a great concept that maybe wasn't delivered in the best way, and by the time the twist is revealed, we all sort of guess what is going on. The final shot, as other reviewers have said, really took me out of the experience, and maybe Harper simply diving off the cliff to meet her family in the afterlife would have been a bit more impactful. Once again you guys deliver a great drama though, destroying my theory that only comedies make it in this competition.

Second Skin

There is a bit of bad blood between Sneaky Horses and Les Cousins, which was why my blood boiled as I watched this film for the first time and was completely at the mercy of this terrifying story and it's immersive style.

Wrong Target

I really like the idea that Mad Scientists just kind of make the same movie every year. I mean, WRONG TARGET has a lot more depth and detail going for it than ONE MAN ARMY, but all films by this team are just big ludicrous shoot-em-ups, and while I would argue this to be a bad thing for any other team, I truly hope you guys never change. Keep making these delicious pieces of schlock, and you'll probably end up with more cred than the finalist regulars.

Pass Card

AWESOME match dissolve in the beginning. I liked the concept and parts of it worked really well. Actors were all great, and the lead was hilarious. The reveal at the end that he wasn't how he thought he looked was an awesome joke. The trope in Mistaken Identity genre of the lead being mistaken for a celebrity is probably something I've seen a few too many times, but that's the danger that comes with such a niche genre. A few of the beats felt a little unclear to me, I didn't really work out what he was doing in the bathroom. I get he was pulling gum out of his pubes, but I thought initially that he'd peed into his condom (and that was what he'd pulled up after he peed), having forgotten to remove it before he'd peed. I think what doesn't work here is that the gum scene felt like a completely different story to the rest of it all, there was no organic flow from this beat to the next. We hadn't seen his lover chewing gum beforehand or anything like that. Perhaps that's why I assumed it was a condom because it felt like a more logical step. A lot of technical work on this film was wicked, as I said before the match cut was great, and the camera work was pretty awesome too. I think if you guys worked a little more on defining your story, you could be stronger in the future.

U-Knighted

U-KNIGHTED is an incredibly looking, well performed, somewhat understated entry from PlanetFoxFilms this year, and while it didn't quite make the top 15, there's still a lot to be proud of here.

As I said, the cinematography and production design is really great - the warm afternoon sunlight is kept so consistent throughout and there's something very peaceful about the way this film looks. The animation, as well, should not be overlooked, and if the cinematography wasn't so lush I'd be tempted to say it's the best part of the film.

The house filmed in is also delightfully interesting - no modern white walls, no sterile lighting! Plus filming outside looks great too. What is it that's so filmic about a couch outside?

So, what lets it down? It's hard to quite explain, but personally I actually had a hard time fully grasping the story, fully understanding what was going on, and while I have the broad strokes, I'm still left scratching my head after multiple watches.

I understand it's about one friend trying to earn another's forgiveness through playing their favourite video game, but so many other story beats just perplexed me - why is there a crowd clamoring to get into the store at the start? Where aren't the crowd let in to the store? You went the extra mile getting so many extras to appear for this scene but I'm not even sure what purpose it served.

My biggest "huh?" moment is when the main guy (Player 2) helps the friend (Player 1)grab the controller and sensually rubs his hands up his arms and caresses his shoulders - I really don't understand what the intention of this was, and for a moment I thought maybe their friendship broke up because of unrequited love? It just seemed like such a homoerotic set-up which ended up going nowhere. Would love to know what this moment was supposed to indicate, please DM me.

Another beat which confused me is when Player 2 is killed by the Gatekeeper and Player 1 is so mortified by this - what's going on? At a stretch I think it's supposed to suggest he died on purpose to prolong their playing session? If this was the case I don't think the comprehension is quite there. Or maybe it's just me.

I do also wonder if perhaps a larger problem here is the relatively low stakes of playing a video game? I wonder if something stronger and more tangible needed to drive the external story and been a conduit for forgiveness.

We're delivered the important emotional context of what caused their falling out - Player 2 started dating someone lame and Player 1 "got sick" - both of these things are delivered through telling and not showing, which isn't the worst thing in the world since the story is about picking up the pieces, but I do think both of these explanations, especially Player 1 getting sick, are told to us waaaaayyy too late in the story. "Getting sick" is also such an intriguing idea but not developed or expanded on at all. It felt more like you were using a trusty narrative trope rather than actually kneading it into the dough of the story.

I'm cautious to tell you, or any team, what I'd prefer they make films about, but for you guys in particular who've cut your teeth on wacky and bizarre stories with crazy practical effects and charmingly scary monsters, I am surprised at just how subdued your entry this year was, especially coming off the back of your city finalist film last year. I understand wanting to tell more personal stories, but you guys are just SO good at this wild and insane stuff, that I wonder if there was a more PlanetFoxian way to take this story. Do they get sucked into the video game and have to fight off goblins and ghouls as a metaphor for mending their friendship? Or does the Gatekeeper come out of the TV and serve as a grotesque mediator for their conflict?

You should write what you want to write - but in terms of what you excel at, I felt something was missing. As it stands, U-KNIGHTED focuses far too much on character backstory and sets up WAY too much but also clarifies WAY too little.

Challenge for next year: So I guess my mission statement for you in 2023 would be to find the happy marriage between these more personal stories you want to tell and the pulpy Z-Grade weirdness you're so goddamn good at. An emotional arc doesn't need to be crazy specific or complex to still be effective, and if you manage to successfully combine your crazy with your sincere, honestly, I think you'll probably win Christchurch.

Best Buds

A very fun short with some great acting and a lot of laughs. I would have liked to see the story go to a few more places, up the stakes etc. But it still works as what it is. Fantastic Wilhelm Scream too.

Confused

Remember guys, the out-of-sync nature of the film is part of the charm of 48Hours, and when people laugh, it's out of comradery and catharsis, there's no venom behind it. A lot of potential for this team nonetheless, you really achieved quite a spooky tone so I'll be interested to see what you throw us next year. As for your title, well "Confused" really hits home.

Duck Season

The more I think about this film, the more I love it. It starts out kind of slow, but then this concept is completely ditched and replaced with some of the funniest banter I've ever heard between two hillbillies. The one guy telling the other to 'shush' constantly nearly had me in tears, It had the same energy as an improvised scene, but the dialogue was so informative while also being hilarious that it had to have been scripted. This could be my favourite Chch city finalist, just because of it's bizarre progression and almost downright upheaval of storytelling structure. It's simply good for a laugh.

Fang, Bat, Stake

JAGBOG has had a pretty solid run in the last couple years, this being their second finalist in a row after years of deserving films juuuust missing out.

There is some great stuff here, technically it's super strong with awesome camera and sound work - I particularly loved all the grotesque close ups.

Great use of genre too, I'm glad one INVITATION movie tapped into the vampiric association here.

I think, for me, the weaknesses of this film come down to a story I'm not entirely clear on - I don't quite understand why our hero vampire is A) visiting the same woman every day and B) selling something different every day - it feels like it should be either, he's trying to sell the same thing to her every day, or he's selling to different people every day - not sure what's going on here and this distraction permeated the whole movie.

I think there's also some inherent difficulty of building a compelling narrative out of a pretty simple Paper Scissors Rock clone, but you still have 3 acts and an ending, even if the second act is just a montage.

Things you got right: A slick looking film with some strong lead performances

Things to work on for next time: I think I prefer the crazier more insane JAGBOG films, while this one was a little more subdued, with lower stakes a bit of a confusing set up. My advice would be to embrace your weirder past films with the finalist know-how of your recent films!

The Silent Man

This was awesome. Such a great concept, taken to it's full potential. Everything was kept close to this central idea of outer-inner-monologues too, as the villain is revealed and defeated due to her thoughtlessness. Well done guys, absolutely deserving of your city win, hopefully you win Nationals!

The Art of the Deal

I know this team has a lot of talent behind it and a lot of that shines through here, especially in the acting. I think what kind of let it down was the... colour grade? There was something very intentional but very odd about the way this film looked. I also am not too crazy about the story, I guess this is one of the downfalls of Real Time- it doesn't really give you too much to work with storywise, but someone sneakily trying to recruit someone for an MLM isn't exactly riveting stuff. I liked the credits! TITLE REVIEW: The Art of the Deal! Funny. Good stuff.

Prick

It's always scary as city manager, to review a film from a legacy team who didn't quite make the cut this year - and please believe me, no one took any joy in ending Dystography Studio's impressive city finals streak (what are we talking, 7? 8 years in a row?).

Of course when I say no one took any joy, I should probably clarify that the judging process is a collection of numbers assigned by judges who don't know what anyone else is picking, so done blind - but still, I know firsthand the sting of not making the finals when you've done so in the past, and this same fate has befallen other Christchurch best-of-the-best teams in the past like TBALC or Strang Entertainment. Neither of those teams entered this year, so I hope this isn't an omen.

PRICK, still, is a fun time made by filmmakers who know what they're doing and enjoy what they're doing, and a lot of the polish associated with this team is still present here. I think its an engaging premise and I always do like it when ya'll stick to comedy over drama, but therein may lie the issue, as I'm not sure the comedy merged as well with the hard R drama injected into your film this year, and I found myself caring more about the silent hostage characters than the burglar and Greg.

Some nitpicky things I usually wouldn't mention in a review, but you guys are big players in the comp and are probably hoping for comprehensive feedback:
- As I said above, I found it difficult to identify with the main characters, and actually immediately assumed the hostages would get a lot more play
- Why are the hostages so underused? One of them is even killed and the other doesn't seem to react
- There is a flashframe which was accidentally left in the final cut, though this shows up a lot clearer on a tv screen than a laptop screen.
- The footage is a bit rougher than your usual output - don't tell Oppo I said this
- The audio is a bit inconsistent
- As I've mentioned in other reviews, my personal bugbear this year is films set in boring modern houses
- Finally, I think the final closing line was cool, but it's a callback to something which JUST happened one story beat earlier (mentioning that body disposal is a two person job). This kind of twisty callback "oh shit" moment always works better when the thing being called back to happened at the beginning of the film, that way its bookended.

I wonder as well if there's something to be said for the execution of your premise. A H&S officer for cat burglary (loved the callback to 2021's winner btw) is genius, but does it go anywhere ultimately interesting? In the end our makeshift protagonist is left dying and Greg is basically like "told ya so", something anyone would have been able to predict from the start. Burglary is wrong and dangerous... but what if it wasn't? Or what if, these two characters both find themselves needing to set aside their differences and work together? What if they discover they both need each other?

Now all of this being said, I still really enjoyed the film, which boasts some solid performances, hilarious jokes and fun gory effects, but I think that knowing how good your stuff usually is, made this entry into the Dystography library leaving a little to be desired. That being said, and here's a quote for your poster, I think we all know this is probably the best film to not graduate from the shortlist this year. Or rather, 2022's biggest snub.

Challenge for next year: I reckon go outside, explore making a film with a dozen different locations - or don't and just do what you know works best. I adored your film last year, so I'm not sure you need my advice.

The Rock and a Hard Place

While not Submission Impossible's finest Submission, it would be impossible for anyone to not submit to this film's charm. I loved a lot of what you guys did with the idea of a real time film. The tea kettle going off was a nice touch, and the ending was great too, though I think it would have been made stronger had the protagonist not already been asked to leave the house in the first place.

CD Rom Com

Damn! There almost needs to be a separate competition for 48 hour animated films, because there are always so many good ones and they almost always get kind of overlooked with the big awards, in favour of the more "real" films. CD ROM COM was great, a solid story with a strong protagonist, and I'd love to see it in the national finals.

U B U

I think I somewhat echo the bewildered reviews above, there are some ideas happening in this movie, some I can make out, some I cannot.

I think there's some kind of 1984 dystopia happening, and judging by the multiverse genre, the main character is trying to leave or get back to her universe...?

Hell, there's an argument Kmooreknowsmore does in fact, know more, and the black-and-white genius of this film just went over my head.

Challenge for next year: I think there could be some value in focusing on making a more cohesive, and for lack of a better word, obvious narrative. You clearly have some crazy ideas, I'd love to be let in on the joke.

The Intervention

Strang Entertainment once again delivers a film with a jarringly different tone to the rest of the finalists. Knowing this is a shock ending film, I was trying to figure out the whole movie what could possibly happen. Safe to say I wasn't even close to guessing. That being said I didn't entirely understand the ramifications of the twist ending, I'm guessing Harper's friends were doing some sort of temporal time travel spell? Still, the tonal shift is masterful. The one place this film really suffers is it's sound mix, with the noise of nearby traffic constantly cutting in and out, though I'm not one to talk on this subject because we had the same issue.

Best Before

I feel like you could have done a lot more with this idea. I loved the concept of an expired ham sandwich teleporting it's consumer to different dimensions, but nothing much happened. The other dimensions themselves weren't other-worldly, and as such I'd argue whether this fits the genre at all. There was one dimension where someone tried to take Harper's sandwich, and I wonder if maybe you should have made that the focus of your story; Harper trying to get back from this new dimension after someone takes his sandwich and teleports to his. The line delivery for both characters was very wooden too, Harper's wife sounded like she was reading lines off a script, and being removed visually didn't help this either. Technically this film was great, the camera work and editing are awesome. I'd say y'all just need to work on fleshing out a story, because you treated the concept like a one-trick pony, and I feel you could have been far more creative with it.

Urine Trouble!

Some funny gags throughout, I think the highlight was the credits song, or the photo of me because I'm a narcissist. Analysing my selfie was great.

Completely chickened out of Ultra though - the challenge is there for you to embrace it, not find a way around it, and if anything I thought the stuff in the dark satanic ritual was more compelling than the killer robot stuff.

I didn't really understand the story, but that's relatively normal for an Aaron's film.

Pretty good reaction from the crowd, was a much better audience for it than any of the people I vetted the films with.

Things you got right: Some funny stuff, some cool costumes and set dressing.

Things to work on for next time: Maybe do away with the blow up doll, I don't mind the crassness but your films always flirt with sort of a vague sexism that makes me uncomfortable. Also do Ultra properly, and don't make your team name something directly offensive.

My annual challenge for you next year: Have a strong female protagonist! A fully fledged female hero, someone who is actually played by a woman and is not belittled or made fun of for being a woman.

Postgraduate Massacre

Technically, this film is a masterpiece. The cinematography, the editing, the sound design etc. are all top knotch and really powerful. I do feel the acting and delivery of dialogue let the film down though, and once again I have to point out how lost I felt having no knowledge of the original film that this one was a sequel to.

Tane Huata: Puppet Hunter

This film really impressed me a lot more than I thought it would! The initial Mockumentary style kind of put me off, but your story is awesome and the ending nearly had my rolling on the floor of the cinema.

A Duck Secret

Did you guys have a duck in your film last year? Clearly the duck is what makes this film so memorable, and its a great costume and a pretty good premise for a murder mystery I do think ending it with narration saying you don't know what the moral to the story is, is a little bit of a cheat. If you work out the message of your story, you'll have an easier job giving it a more definitive of an ending. TITLE REVIEW: A Duck Secret is hilarious.

The Greatest Gunman

This film, sadly, was probably one of the most frustrating I've seen in the whole competition.... BECAUSE I LOVED IT. The story was great, the acting and dialogue was IMPECCABLE ("Yeah! Hiss at him" or the monologue about which parts of Auckland the Gunman controlled). The last shot with the lead just shoving rotten bread into the girl's face, hahahah! It was so full of GREAT elements, elements that could win the entire competition... But that camera work and editing really left something to be desired and I fear it has cost the Brothers in Crime any placing in the competition above (third?) audience favourite. There were so many good ideas in this film, great ideas even, but all those jokes and performances seemed to be wasted in sub-par cinematography and what seemed like a first cut. I hope you guys return next year with a more effective crew, someone who knows how to set up a shot and someone who knows editing, because you're scripting is some of the funniest and cleverest I've seen in my 6 years of 48 hours. All the best!

And Good in Everything

A lot of truly impeccable work has gone into AND GOOD IN EVERYTHING, which boasts a dazzling technical side that is near-flawless. From directing to cinematography to sound design to the production design to the editing, this is a film which is super clean, and super consistent.

Editing conversations can be way harder than people think, with a thousand different continuity problems creeping your way, but I haven't noticed any in this film in the dozens of times I've watched it, it seamlessly jumps between close-ups and wide shots without any glitches, and carries an audio bed which is thorough and clean - the bar atmos is doing a lot of work, but even the best films in the competition may end up having some inconsistent white noise or static audio between shots - but this film is hella tidy in that respect.

I've been umming and ahhhing over the actual story for quite some time now, and I'll be honest, it's one I've struggled with and I think MistaTeas put it best above - I think here we have a story that's just a bit too saccharine to really impact me emotionally, and this is coming from a guy who has a few sickeningly sweet 48Hour films under his belt.

Another more AJian way to phrase my issues - I think this film needed more sex. Lol. By that I don't literally mean the lads should be ripping each others' clothes off and going at it on the table, I'm more referring to the lack of edge in this film, a film about a gang of lads getting a bit tipsy and reflecting on their life, but their experiences and the things they say seem censored and squeaky clean in a way I just don't personally recognize.

This could very well just be my taste, but there's a strange vibe to the film created from it discussing and portraying worldly characters and ideas, but then depicting PG content - the boys recall their high school formal where they walked in on their mate in his underwear, and yet in the flashback he's merely shirtless, and all 3 act as if this is the most embarrassing or traumatizing thing they could ever see - but I've probably seen most of my (male) friends shirtless and it's fairly normal - I think he should have been buck naked! We should have seen some ass! Someone should have said "fuck"! The dirtiest word we hear in the whole film is "nipples", and I think we can all stand to be a bit sexier than that.

This sweetness extends into other areas too, which I think in general weakens a story which has such a soft conflict at its center - Our actor boy states he's thinking of giving up acting, and we cut to a flashback where one of the others literally says "you can't give up acting". It's very blunt, and very convenient storytelling. I think there would maybe be a benefit in focusing in on one of their stories and not all 3, and the one I would pick would have been the soon-to-be-dad who leaves the table for a good chunk of the film.

I think what highlights a lot of my hang ups with this film, is there is genuinely a very relatable and heartfelt truth at its core - Looking back on your life and how you and your pals have changed and how you will continue to change, is a profound reality and a frankly wonderful dramatic idea to explore, and one I've seldom seen in the competition, but it's often the type of internal story which better suits propping up a more action packed external story, OR these emotional stakes should be much higher than "not too sure about being a dad" or "Idk if I wanna keep being an actor". These arcs are resolved without really any struggle, and I think if one of the characters had been super depressed, or burnt out or facing a tragedy, or maybe even a more immediate time pressure ("I gotta catch a flight!") then this film would have been a bit more exciting, and lived up to the glorious technical side.

Challenge for next year: Well, certainly keep your cinematographer/soundie/editor! The directing is also very consistent, and its not so much the performances I take issue with, but the story. I want you guys and gals to take the world class filmmaking ability and apply it to a story with higher stakes and more conflict and more earned character resolution. And I think one of the characters should say "fuck" or "shit" or something.

Instutution

Congratulations Stuey boy! You're the man, man!

What a delight it was to call Everything Sticks and let them know they'd made it through to the city finals, especially with what is their best film yet.

While some of the technical aspects are a little scrappy, this is such a great film with a mysterious and dark core, and an attitude that is *classic* Gilpin. I think that's what I love most of all - In team leader Stu's Olympian climb through 48Hours over the years, he's at long-last reached the city finals with a film that doesn't trade in his own sense of humour or story for a cheap crowd pleaser something he thinks will get them in - there's no tradeoff here, this is pure Everything Sticks.

The most visceral I felt this was with the line "what is this, some sort of millennial fuckery?" - probably my favourite line of the year, and one which tickled me bright pink because of how much it felt like Stu groaning at myself and the other Millennials whose fuckery he's had to deal with over the years. I love it, genuinely. I wouldn't be surprised if a team registered under the name "Millennial Fuckery" next year.

We also have some awesome natural performances here, especially from Beth and Stu himself, all which created a tight and engaging package. Stu's "fuck you" whispers, all drawn out and sans-music, with nothing but footsteps and the squeak of the linoleum, create such a fun, tense and awkward vibe.

The ending is one which does have people asking questions - it is (thankfully) deliberately vague on what the rules of this specific time-loop/purgatory scenario is, but I think we get enough information to put enough of a picture in our heads.

Overall a fantastic effort, and one I loved watching and re-watching everytime.

Challenge for next year: I'd love to see more crochety grumpy narratives from Everything Sticks, combined with compelling and dark stories. I think this film has an excellent sense of humour as well, which is a step up from previous years. If there is any area of tangible improvement needed, I'd say get a dedicated audio person and get ride of some of those harsh atmos shifts - not too big of a deal in the long run.

Heartless

Some really cool ideas and imagery in this film, and a clear passion bubbling below the surface from the team.

I found the story a little hard to grasp - a girl's brother has died and she's on a mission to resurrect him? I liked a lot of what I saw - the blue heart springs to mind as does some very slick cinematography, I just don't understand why I was seeing everything.

I think storywise this film might be a little to big for its britches - very heavy topics and very intense acting - and since I know this team personally and what they're capable of, I can say I think you could have dialed back the drama and gone for something a little more lighthearted or silly - not just because comedy is easier to pull off in 48Hours, but also because the idea you landed on feels much more like a feature film shrunk down and crammed into 5 minutes, than a 5 minute short film.

Things you got right: Technically proficient, some really cool ideas and imagery

Things you can work on for next time: Making a film which plays more within the parameters of the competition - not necessarily a comedy, but something that focuses in and feels self contained instead of something as wide-scope as this.

Baby On Board

"Baby on Board" might be my favourite Dragon V Mouse film to date. What's great here, is that we get to see that classic TRADEMARK DvM meta humour and sarcasm which was really cemented with last year's bitter ULTRA, but implemented with a lot more positivity and warmth, from a team who actually liked the genres, elements and ULTRA this year. "Baby on Board" pokes fun at the competition instead of flipping the table like it did (wonderfully nonetheless) with last year's "Grisly". The strongest aspect of the film is that great directorial voice, this is a deliciously simple idea executed to it's full potential, and aided by a witty sense of humour. The titular baby is a fish out of water in more ways than one here; not only is he in over his head in a car driven by a criminal, but he's also a weirdly self-aware 6 month old Scorsese gangster in a world where everyone else is taking things VERY seriously. This is so funny, and if there's something DvM have nailed with particularly their last 3 entries, it's showing our reality through a surreal comical point of view, whether that's the point of view of a New York gangster baby, a cheeky mouse, or a jilted director who REALLY didn't want to have to make a sequel. Ironically though, both years that DvM have canonballed into ULTRA, they've nailed it, with a healthy mix of adhering to ULTRA's strict guidelines as well as subverting the formats they set up, and as someone who had a hand in creating the ULTRA element this year, I loved that this film stood up to the challenge and actually used a real life baby. Sure the whole story is told in "lazy"(quote) voice over, but that's the joke, and there was still a baby on set there doing his damnedest to be a good wee actor. On that subject, while I know it was probably only a matter of filming the baby for a while and getting him to look at certain things, the way he, as a character, responds to the events unfolding is excellent, which probably comes down to editing and selecting the shots more than the baby being an amazing actor. But hey, it can be both. The attitude of this film is so good, so silly and funny, and in every way indicative of 48hours. Going forward with Dragon V Mouse, it's either a case of "never change" or "drastically change", and that's up to you guys as a team and what you want to achieve. There is a place for you in this competition as the meta wink-wink-nudge-nudge team which continues to make films that dismantle the genres and elements, as well as the entire competition. I don't think anyone will get sick of that as long as the concepts your bringing to the table are as good as this one. The other way to go would be to change up completely, and try tell stories that dismantle our expectations of your team, as opposed to the competition itself. While I love the self aware stuff, I must say I am intrigued to see what else this team of storytellers can bring to the table. As for your title, it might be the only thing about the film I'm kind of disappointed by. "Baby on Board" feels safe and obvious, and something more appropriate to the Scorsese style being parodied maybe would have landed better.

In Jest

This was a really effective film which juuuuust missed out on being on the shortlist. The plot was just a little weak, and felt like more of a vehicle to get us to what is really impressive about the film- the clowns! The circus poster blowing in the wind to reveal the no camping sign was an excellent use of wind. I look forward to seeing what this team has in store in the future. TITLE REVIEW: In Jest would be a great title if we actually built up the horror of a clown eating people through out. It's a great pun.

Student Exchange

Probably one of the more heartbreaking DQ's of my tenure as city manager - it's clear a lot of work and heart went into this film. It looks great, the animation is solid and it's a bizarre-yet-sincere story,

I'm delighted to see more animation in the competition as well, for the first time ever we have a full stack of Best Animation nominations, and rest assured this film would have been on that list too.

The story structure is good - this is important - mainly that there's a conclusive ending/closure to the story. I think this is what solidified the storybook vibe of the piece - and the film really does look like an illustrated kids book come to life.

I was a little confused by the machinations of the plot itself - where did the little demon spirit come from? Did the spider and the boy already know each other? Why did the boy want to swap with a spider specifically? It just feels like a bit of context was missing to a lot of these set-ups, and while ambiguity is cool, these moments were maybe just a touch underdeveloped for me.

Challenge for next year: I mean, make sure you get your film in? It's hard to give you any other definitive challenges because you're already operating at such a high caliber.

Closure

I feel like this movie is two very different ideas stitched together. A redemption story about a guy making up for the crimes of his past is one thing, and a schlocky long game revenge story is something completely different. As a result I think the ending undermines the rest of the film and leaves the audience with a somewhat disturbing message about morality and revenge. To be clear, if the film had started out a little more stylistic and a little more clear with its intentions, I think the ending could have worked, but as it stands it kinda feels like someone came up with the first half of the story, and couldn't think of an ending and then someone with a very different storytelling agenda came up with the ending. Both parts are effective, but I don't know if they work together. Still, good work with the technical side, and the actors give decent performances. TITLE REVIEW: Closure could be a double meaning for both characters? But again, I feel like it's more suited to the first part of the film.

Under The Bridge

Very cool film, far and away my favourite of the heat. As others have pointed out, this feels like a full on seed funded short film, both in its design and in its story. The acting from the two leads was great, they both felt like real people who wound up hanging out. Nice subtle use of the brazen Wilhelm scream. Only think I would have maybe liked to have seen was the two buddies travel on some kind of small journey together, or achieved some mutually beneficial goal. Then again it's a slice of life, and maybe that's all it needs to be.

Love Machine

LOVE MACHINE is a delightful little addition to the competition this year, and probably one of the most visually striking.

In a year where I've done nothing but complain about drab white walls in people's films, this is a great example of "leaning in" to a pure infinity white aesthetic that actually improves the film. There is a brightness to this film that makes me smile every time I see it, and that robot absolutely pops on camera. Very photogenic.

The stop-motion itself is a little scrappy, and the occasional wire can still be spotted, but it's 48Hours, and I'm willing to overlook that stuff for something as different as this.

I love the song, I love the ending, I love the voice acting. I guess I'm a little concerned about the story beat where the robot seemingly attempts to electrocute himself only for it to give him superpowers - I wouldn't show this to too many children lest they go around sticking forks in outlets.

LOVE MACHINE is so self contained and cute, with a sneaky cheeky sense of humour underneath the surface. I wouldn't be surprised to see it go further in the competition just for its uniqueness alone.

Challenge for next year: OLAX are such an interesting team, in that they seem to make staggeringly different films each year, which feel like they're straight up from different teams, so any improvements or challenges feel a bit arbitrary. How about this - next year, take us to space.

Dick, Actually

DICK, ACTUALLY has got a lot of soul at its center and another slam dunk from the ghost researchers!

By soul I mean there are some best-in-show elements at play here, most notably a fantastic lead performance from Scott Koorey, an actor so good he should be more famous. It's great watching Scott perform a role like this and seeing his subtle reactions and nuanced expressions, and just knowing any other actor would have overplayed these moments. The film in general, I think is completely held up by Scott's performance here, as well as the award winning VFX which give the film its own identity - as with the Scottish vibes of LAST LORD OF SCOTLAND, this ia another example of a motif most 48Hours teams wouldn't think to include.

All of this being said, I'm not particularly enamored with the story - it's one of those maybe-too-simple plots which is held together mostly through the second act being a montage of funny sketches, and the rest feels very paint-by-numbers - I love the ending, but again, that mostly comes down to the performance of Scott and the reactions from the two kids.

I think SJGR's magnum opus is still their debut film CUSHY: A PULL STORY, which was a genuinely very inventive 48Hour film which would have probably done a lot better in the comp had it come out ten years earlier. The subsequent films have been great, but I feel like CUSHY is still unmatched, and I'd love to see the team tap back into whatever exactly made that film so special. Part of that was maybe that the team's serviceable but minimal technical side and production design served that story, whereas your last two films, I think, could have benefitted from flashier cinematography or a more experimental location than just a suburban house.

Things you got right: A commanding lead performance which IMO probably should have won, as well as awesome VFX which did win!

Things to work on for next time: I think ya'll are at the stage now where you need a challenge, and I think that challenge should maybe be in the aforementioned location of your next film. I don't wanna see another home base double as main location, what does a SJGR film look like set in the woods, or in an abandoned ware house, or in outer space?

Smiling

Shen - I think this might be one of the worst 48Hour films I've ever seen and I truly mean this as a compliment hahhahahahah.
Incidentally appearing towards the end of the heats, this is exactly the kind of baffling mind-boggling fever dream that really enhances the insane maddening nature of the competition.
I'm left with so many questions - what's actually happening? who are these people? How long did it actually take you to make this?

A couple years ago I reviewed your film and mentioned I wanted to see you get back to embracing the Z-Grade nature of your 2017 finalist, a film which is no more technically impressive than this one, but embraced that amateur nature in all the best ways. Since then it seems like you've struggled to get back to that place, and I can't say you're any closer with this one ahhaah. But keep orbiting, and keep getting weirder because what you lack in technical prowess, you make up for in absurdity, you've just gotta tip those scales once again.

Things you got right: It's undeniably a creator's vision, it looks like you had a lot of fun
Things to work on for next time: Finding the balance between bad and so-bad-it's-good.

Last Night

A gripping and compelling narrative full of mystery and dark implications.

Some really great work here gang - well done tackling a non-linear narrative with 100% cohesion. Locations are great too, I appreciated being outside, seeing the van, and the night club look great as well.

With a bit more polish, I could see a film like this doing well in the competition. It's almost like you needed just a bit more time ahhahaha, what a frustrating thing to say in a review for a 48Hours film.

My main gripes with the film would be the camera work could stand to be a bit sharper, and the final moment of the movie is a great filmic moment, but also tonally a bit strange as we end on a black comedy joke, while the rest of the film has been a lot more serious and scary. The acting from the male lead in particular is almost too creepy (the audience audibly shuddered when he mentioned the woman character had "no undies" on).

Challenge for next year: Perhaps invest in some higher quality cameras or learn how to make your cinematography pop.

the last duel

I did not like this film. It's had a very high production value and all(a huge mansion and section, + 18th century costume, guns etc.) but what became increasingly obvious, was that Pressure Productions had came up with this idea completely before the contest started. Their genre is barely recognizable(fad), which was conveniently explained to the audience through the poorly delivered line "this FAD has gone on long enough". The character and line of dialogue were easily slipped in, and the bent bit of wire was probably written in the script as "object X" as the fact that it is a bent piece of wire is irrelevant. It could have been '10s broken toy or the rock or any other previous years' prop and had exactly the same effect. The acting is average, which let the 18th century feel down a bit. This film got third in it's heat, which I am disappointed in, just because a film is big budget and looks good, it does not mean it is a great film.

A Slime of Passion

CRAB CRAB CRAB are one of the most reliable and consistent teams in Christchurch, and SLIME OF PASSION fits nicely into their filmography. The acting is hilarious, and the effects are thankfully on brand for the team. I'm a touch confused by the combination of story elements- It seems to me the WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S style story and the quest to destroy a giant slug couldn't be further apart, and I'm not sure how well one informed the other, as the two concepts feel like they're from completely different stories. However maybe that's the point, and I look forward to more absurdist stuff from the Crabs in the future.

We're Dead and Gay

You're here! And Dead! And Gay!

I love this film - scrappy set design and a pretty cartoonish story, but probably one of the funniest films I've seen this year.

Every kiss made me laugh, ever duck under the table made me laugh, and the ending is so genuinely clever. Also good on you all for actually kissing on camera - gay or not in real life, this commitment to the bit is so rare to see in 48Hours. Am I saying more actors should kiss? Maybe.

Favourite line exchange of the year: "These questions are hard" "same".

I think this film is an interesting example of the evolution of the "gay" joke in the zeitgeist - 10-15 years ago, a lot of these kinds of films in 48Hours (and beyond) were problematic, and would be riddled with homophobic jokes. But as the progressive Zoomers have increased in numbers in the competition, we're starting to see comedies about gay characters, which are still comedic, but not offensive. The right people are made fun of here, and that's important.

Challenge for next year: The main thing holding you back from advancing beyond the shortlist this year, I think, is maybe that your production value and cinematography was a little on the amateur side - that and this sense of humour isn't to everyone's taste. But if you create a film that looks great and is edited great, that divide in taste won't be able to stop you from going further.

A Slice of Heaven

A simple and at times, nonsensical story which nonetheless has a beginning, a middle and an end, which is something not every school team is going to boast.

While some of the storytelling is a bit sloppy - I'm not quite sure how the rules work around entering into heaven, or how someone could routinely find themselves killed by toast - one aspect I really like in this film is how it is (mostly) non dialogue, save for a few important lines from St. Peter, which adds a lot of weight to the character and the stakes of the story. This is such an intelligent and specific creative decision which you don't often see in school teams, or even 48Hours in general.

Super charming, and super promising filmmaking chops from this young team. I look forward to what they crack out in 2023 and beyond.

Challenge for next year: I'd love to see you continue to put structural twist on your film (such as non-dialogue is in this one). I think this will do a great job of setting your films apart from the pack. Maybe do a single take film next time, or a black-and-white one? I hope you get musical some day.

Blue

Fantastic atmospheric piece with some really nice special effects and a super satisfying and wholesome twist at the end.

Us... But Mainly You.

Lots of really cool ideas and elements in this film result in a charming wee comedy. You guys are great, I bet you had a lot of fun doing this. I thought the characters were great, loved that Harper was a slimy Brony and the Maori Grandma made me chuckle. While your storytelling and dialogue is good, albeit the delivery from you as actors could be a little improved, I think you should work on your structure, because I didn't find myself wondering what would happen next, more just watching events unfold, and ultimately they didn't end anywhere unexpected anyway. That being said, a story about politics never ended up boring me, so you must have done something right! Love the title btw, "Us... But Mainly You" is intriguing and relevant. Drone shots probably weren't needed, but I'm sure it was fun. I could easily see you guys going pretty far in this competition in the future if you put a little more work into your technical work, especially editing. Perhaps expanding the team to three people?!

Self Service

The storyline of this film really went over my head, but I blame myself for this and not the film as the judges clearly loved whatever it was I was missing! Great job team.

A Funky Little Place in Time

There's a lot of heart from this team - I don't quite understand the story, but it's still confidently told and you all seem like you would have had a blast making it.

Really impressive work on the art direction and costume design, and it warms my heart to see a school team shoot ON LOCATION!?

Loved the invisible door, it really works well and ya'll were THIS close to being nominated for best use of something invisible.

Looking forward to seeing what you bring us next year.

Things you got right: A lot of passion and a lot of heart, one thing this film does not lack is conviction.

Things to work on for next time: Maybe telling a story that's a little more clear and a little more decipherable for the audience.

(Time) Travel Centre

Chillybox turned in one of my favourite films last year, and so I was excited to see what they had to offer this time around! A very slick and professional looking/sounding short, and the acting is great, and reminiscent of the writing style they've established before. I think the most impressive thing about the movie is how accurate and convincing both the writing and delivery of the callers lines were. Like it felt like I was listening to 40-something New Zealanders ringing in about their time holiday, it added a layer of authenticity which I really appreciated. The film kind of ends in an odd place, it kind of felt as though we were owed a more clarifying ending, as my mind couldn't really make the leap over what horrible tragedy was about to befall Auckland, and what it even had to do with the time travel story.

The Hunted

Loved this film! Just guys being dudes on a Saturday night (though I heard you shot Friday night?!??), making a bare-bones plot action film which, while its has some scrappy moments and blurry shots, is actually surprisingly effective.

The unbroken take of the characters running through the house is incredible, but the real show stopper is the super innovative use of Bird's Eye View which looks down upon a genuinely impressive fight scene, with a neck snap and flash of lightning to really add to the dark mood as the camera slowly pivots around the scene. The music and sound effects really sell it too, A+ for this moment.

I'm not sure what I can say for the remainder of the film, with its low frame rate, inaudible dialogue, kids playing adults and tacked-on Gatekeeper character - but I'm not sure if this matters because there's so much passion and fun on display here that it becomes a lot more infectious.

Challenge for next year: I'd love for you guys to just keep entering every year with these frenetic action-packed romps, and if your filmmaking and storytelling continues to improve, I think you would find yourselves gaining quite the reputation in the competition.

Wheat, Myself and Rye

I had you guys pegged for the top 2, but sadly the judges felt differently. That being said, the audience loved you guys, and I did too. The Mr. Bread costume is one thing, but on top of that the world you set up and the soul-crushing atmosphere that absolutely swamps the world of the film are impeccable. It takes a lot of skill to achieve this kind of stuff in a film and you guys did awesome.

FEEDING

Hilariously dark story with some awesome acting and awesome make-up. I love the premise of this film- probably the most authentic Bad Seed film of the year. The ending is great, and the perfect send off to the film. With some higher quality cameras, and slightly better lighting, I could easily see Southern Belles winning the entire competition with a film like this.

P.S.

I absolutely loved this film, and fought pretty hard to have it included in the finals. Ultimately I was outvoted, so this review will be comprised of what I loved and what I think could have been done better to allow for it to truly soar. The strongest aspect of this film is indeed the writing. The construction of story here was a surprising delight. It really creeps up on you and the ending is so effective it gave me shivers. When we were vetting these films, my mum saw this one and we both absolutely loved it, so props to you, YIKES for making my mum nearly cry :) Great performance from the lead, great implementation of one of the trickier genres this year, and absolutely oustanding work from a team which is jumping through at least 3 specific 48hours award hoops (Female Filmmaker, Solo/Duo team, and School team among others). I haven't been able to work out if the older person at the end was her lover from when they were the same age, or her father reminiscing, or someone else, but to be honest I kind of like this. We know he's a loved one, and that's enough. A couple of other people are pointing out that drawing attention to the date at the end was kind of hamfisted, but having watched this a couple of times now, I have noticed that we do in fact see a calendar at the start indicating it is modern day, so the dates at the end aren't entirely out of place, though maybe they would have suited being in the background instead of the camera floating and focusing on them. It would have been nice to see this film focus a little more on camerawork and art direction- and maybe this was a symptom of the solo/duo team format, but most of the video entries looked like they had been filmed on the same day. A hair cut, a bit of makeup, or shooting at clearly different times of the day could have really added a touch more weight to the idea that these videos were progressing along. A couple of the judges mentioned that they would have liked the performances/monologues from the lead to be slightly more understated- more naturalistic I guess, which is something I think will come with time as we see Yikes develop and grow as a filmmaker- which is something you could say for all of the aspects of this film. On that subject, I am very much looking forward to Yikes's film next year, and any work that may be produced in between. So much promise in this writing. As for your title, "P.S." is a beautifully tragic double meaning. Perfect title for the film.

The Punisher

I loved almost everything about this film. The characters were great, the black-and-white style really added to the overall tone, and the story is a really good interpretation of the cat and mouse genre. My only thought is that I would have liked the ending to have a bit more finality to it. The main characters just kind of lose and concede to putting up with Rodney's shit, which they'd been doing the whole film anyway, so it didn't really feel like much of a conclusion. Maybe the three friends should have teamed up and tried to kill him or something? Two Cat-and-mouse stories in one movie? Great work guys!

Losing My Edge

Had this film not been let down by an amateur technical side, I think it could have very well been one of my favourites of the year. As a bit of a horror movie nerd, I absolutely love the concept of a Jason Voorhees type not knowing how to relate to the kids of today. All the jokes were super solid, especially the "I'm Dead" bitmoji on snapchat, but overall a better technical team could have really elevated this film. If you guys enter next year, I encourage you to hone in on the film side of filmmaking because your storytelling and comedic sensibilities are awesome. TITLE REVIEW: Losing My Edge is great, but is there a way to incorporate something a little more 80s horror genre into it?

Out Loud

In a sea of comedies, OUT LOUD really makes its mark in the line up this year. A really beautiful film which feels so deeply personal and nuanced.

I love the location for this film - anything set outdoors automatically piques my interest, and the Mona Vale location was particularly pretty. One of my favourite aspects about OUT LOUD was the cutting away to shots of the scenery and wild life - showing us the duckies or the leaves waving softly in the breeze give great spacial awareness and command the pacing of the film - and pacing can be a very easy thing to get wrong.

The application of genre is interesting - I think this is a really unique use of Multiverse, though as Nimble said above, I feel like the film stops just a little short of establishing its multiverse's rules - I didn't need a beat-by-beat breakdown, but maybe a little more indication as to what is actually going on here. The characters themselves seem completely unfazed by meeting someone from a parallel universe - does this thing happen often in the world of this film? Or was the 5 minute max duration looming over and you decided to skip the world building foreplay? Not the worst thing in the world, just a note.

The story itself has some wonderful highs, and the conversation felt very organic after the characters figure out what's going on. I'd be curious to know what the filmmakers were trying to communicate about the subject matter as I was a little lost - is this a darkly comedic look at how a woman is doomed to date gay men in every universe? It feels more like the boys' story, but we end just as they were approaching the threshold they needed to cross and the conflict they needed to face.

This probably all sounds like heavy criticism, but one thing I will praise this film over maybe any other in the city finals this year was tone and atmosphere, which is so palpable and so prevalent it does a lot to stop me wondering about all the above questions and nitpicks. The film is a masterfully directed tableau and while it can feel like just a taste of a much larger story, it's one that absolutely stays in your mind after the credits roll.

Challenge for next year: I'm looking forward to seeing more from ScreenQweens in the future, and I encourage you to experiment with different styles and different stories, but keep a hold of the personal and intimate nature of OUT LOUD - I'd love this sensitivity to be seen as your trademark going forward. But that's up to you!

Natalie & Gregory

While lovable stalkers are a little over-represented in 48Hours, I still found this film really charming and a really good take on the Anti-RomCom genre. The best part of this film is when Natalie says she wonders where Gregory is these days, and you see his out-of-focus head appear out of the bushes in the background. That and him hiding in the closet at the end. Overall this film's biggest strength is its comedic timing. I also thought Gregory's characterization was really strong, he seemed like a genuinely sweet guy. For what it's worth as well, even the backyard of the main location was pretty cool with all the chickens, sounds small but it added some nice production value to it all. To improve for next year, I would recommend you guys just knuckle down on your camerawork and make a story with higher stakes, as that's all this one was missing. As for your title, Natlie & Gregory is great because it makes you think they're together from the start, so it plays into that bait and switch at the start.

#2 way

How embarrassing it was to discover another film in the city finals next to ours who used Harper as a ditsy bimbo forced to be a hero, right down to the paleo parody. Oh well! I can't really complain as this film is a slick stop-motion ride that is as hilarious as it is clever. Much better than some other similar styled films I've seen in the competition before. The story was a little out there, but I guess it's able to be with lego.

The Good, The Bad, and The Aussie

Full marks to a school team for embracing Pavlova Western as a genre - the New Zealand references and Western tropes are so thick in this film - I'm surprised a team of Zoomers have this much knowledge of kiwiana from the past 45 years and this level of national self awareness. I suspect someone's Gen X dad perhaps had a wee pass of the script? ;)

Nonetheless, this is a very fun time, my interest may have been piqued by the kiwi flavour, but I was completely won over by the little baby lamb. This is the X factor most teams find themselves missing in their films, and while you have kids playing adults, and you dressed up different houses to look like bars or police stations, having an actual lamb be the macguffin for your film was hilarious.

In fact, theres a shot at the end of the film where the characters are in a stand off and this little lamb bleats, and it just creates one of the most absurd 48Hoursian tableaus - imagine seeing that shot out of context - a bunch of teenage girls dressed as cowboys, aiming nerf guns at each other while a leashed baby lamb looks around completely confused - this is high art.

Great shadow work at the end too, I absolutely love seeing shadow work in 48Hours. Great ride off into the sunset as well.

Challenge for next year: Really the main feedback would be to keep getting better at the technical side, and maybe explore beefing up your production value outside of the lamb - this film would have popped in the milo and marmite bar was filmed in a real bar, for example. This film has a wonderful sense of humour and I'd love to see this team (and this baby lamb) back on screen next year.

Stanley & Mildred

This film slayed me guys. It was already funny enough with just how bizarre everything was; the old person make up, the adopted daughter, the casual mention of the fountain of youth as if it were just a new cafe that opened up. So funny, and for a while I wasn't sure if you guys were in on the joke, but then that ending, oh boy. I've seen the whole "character watches and laments over their own 48hour film" plot twist in this competition before, but this was the first time I've seen it actually still stay true to the genre, great stuff. As for your title, "Stanley & Mildred" is simple and obvious, but perfect. Come say hi to me at the finals/whenever you see me next coz I wanna shake your hand(s).

Monday

While actually being an example of the opposite of its genre, this film was a lot of fun. It's a little light on story, but with a better technical side, I could see a film like this being in the finals. I'd say work on camera work and editing, and if the stunts in the film looked a bit more genuine, I think this would have been kickass. TITLE REVIEW: Monday is perfect.

Barry's World

It's a shame that the team intro was so professionally animated, because it made the following stop-motion, which I would have otherwise found incredible, a bit of a downer. I got a BoJack Horseman vibe from more than just the protagonists' similarities. I really loved the other dimension you set up, in the world of lego there are no rules to what everyone has to look like. Story ended pretty abruptly however. Just like this review.

Nan's Hole

Really strong premise and really strong first two thirds, haha.

This has the makings of the definitive musical of the year tbh, I got NEW FISH vibes from some of the production - though my heart sunk during the Granny's song when her vocals got completely drowned out by the music.

I think the ending is also a let down - It feels like something really unique is being constructed and then the final scene is just a date. Could have used a twist or something. Would have also helped if the cafe scene wasn't someone's living room ahhahha.

Things you got right: A really strong premise and a great full-hearted attempt at musical

Things to work on for next time: Your technical side really lets you down, so maybe focus on building up that side.

PC High

"PC High" is Submission Impossible's best film to date, which is insane considering it's committing the dreaded Mockumentary sin, which has been very much covered by other reviewers here, though as they've also pointed out, this does Mockumentary right, genuinely feeling like an episode of "Summer Heights High" with zombies. The best director award was given to you guys here because, while none of your performances were better than each other, the overall collective voice of the piece was consistent and effective. To put it another way, we couldn't choose just one actor to nominate for best performer because they were all so good, so the conclusion then is that whatever creative force was directing each of these wonderful actors was doing a fantastic job, and the same can be said for the overall tone of the piece, the art direction, location and how this entire thing felt complete. As Nimble said above, the "watch your fingers" gag was probably the single best gag in the whole comp this year (next to "Does anyone have a corkscrew?" from The Spares, or C'larence seeing himself deliver his own pizza in nightmare from "A Slice of You"). "Watch Your Fingers" would have been a great title too, but we'll get to that later... There are so many elements at play here, and at least two or three story arcs going at the same time, it genuinely felt like a full episode of a sitcom with classic and lovable characters going about their day, and it's absolutely insane that all of these ideas are paced so well in a 5 minute story. Great adherence to the genre too. If I was going to take any marks of this film, I'd just comment that it feels like it would have felt right at home about 8-10 years ago, more than it does now. As I said, the Mockumentary style is aced here, despite our collective grievances, but then also pairing it with a Zombie story, another element of pop culture that has slowly been phased out in recent years, it was certainly poking the outdated cliche bear a bit, though it never fully woke that bear up because this film is baller. As for your title, and I've been wanting to say this for a while now... "PC High" is... fine? I feel I'm allowed to be a little harsher on your title because I've just gushed over your film and titles are so superfluous, but I do kind of wish you'd gone with some kind of high school/zombie pun here. Is it called "PC High" just because that's the name of the high school? or is it a play on Politically Correct? If so, the PC element was kinda underplayed here outside of Kate's character. Is there something else I'm missing entirely? Do I just care about titles WAY too much? Let me know in the comments below, don't forget to like and subscribe, and hit that bell icon to be notified whenever I upload a new video.

Fresh Blood

Lots of great gags in this film, it's unabashedly funny and unabashedly Z-Grade. Great acting too, lots of lines and facial expressions from the leads which made me laugh.

Free As The Wind

God. I love this film so much and it killed me to see it didn't make the finals. I love PlanetFoxFilms, and this is their best film yet, and the kind of wild madness left in the wake of CRAB CRAB CRAB's influence that really needed to be seen by the finals audience. Goddammit. You guys this film is great. From the get-go I love that we open at Gus screeching, begging his girlfriend not to go. It's so funny, and such an overreaction. I also loved the weird joke about throwing a knife at her. In fact, I love the lead actor's whole goddamn performance. Its played off so dry and with such wry wit, and it's so funny to me- it's like he knows he's in a film, almost. Or more specifically, he knows he's in a 48hour film. It helps flesh out a character who could have just been a serviceable straightman to the Wind, who is obviously the more wacky and eccentric character. This actor has mad Gaten Matarazzo energy. On the Wind, so good! The production design is hilarious, and the ghostly white contact lenses really bump up the production value. When he came on screen my heart sung because, while I've enjoyed your last couple of films immensely, they all lacked a certain X Factor which I think this character, and a pretty decent story arc which takes us to some fun locations, certainly provides. So many great jokes and one liners. So funny. This film is so fun AND funny. Even the ending, which is distinctly lacking of any real stakes, is just such a funny and carefree place to take the film - that being said, while Gus does learn a lesson in growing up, it would have been MAYBE, MAYBE a bit cooler to actually see him have a confrontation with the wind that's a little more action oriented and less dialogue driven. The wind's arrival at the beginning looks great with Gus's hair blowing about like wild, what if he managed to escape the wind with similar effects? With a hundred million dollars you could have done a full on grandiose final battle, but a MUCH MORE SCALED DOWN version of this would have only contributed to the film's charm. I'm so proud of you guys. This film is so fun and charming and it really feels like you've learned more and more about filmmaking over the years and that's on full display here. Keep practising! Keep getting better! When you get to stage where your technical side and storytelling sensibilities are as cracking as your sense of humour, I could easily see you guys getting into the finals and maybe even winning Christchurch, or at least being my personal favourite team. This film was everything I wanted to see from you guys and more. Keep being rock stars. Add me on facebook. TITLE REVIEW: Free as the Wind is great. Love the title drop as well. Love this film.

My Pet Earthling

Part of me hates this film because it played right before ours, and the energy of our film was completely usurped by the absolute weirdness of MY PET EARTHLING. You warmed everyone up for something really strange, and we failed to deliver with, what by comparison was, a very normal movie. But, I don't want to be a poor sport, and if I'm honest, I completely loved this approach to the Bechdel film, which passed the test by having no one else really even talk (if you don't count howling and moaning as talking). I love the style and atmosphere this film brings you into, and the art direction and make-up is second-to-none. I would expect to see Knawtra win some awards, while also possibly having a place in the city finals.

In bread, love

Hmmm. I think it's hard to tell a story where your protagonists are incestuous lovers because it's not an ideology people can route for. Unless they are also boning their brother/sister. Maybe even then. I don't know. This seems like an idea that was brainstormed and run with, and the team fell down the rabbit hole a little too far without realising that it's an uncomfortable watch. Or maybe you guys were completely aware of this and that was your intention, in which case, bravo. It felt weird. Other than that, the progression of story was good, there were clear beats, though some of your editing could have been tightened (Brother walking into house saying"Hi!", then cutting to him walking up to behind sister and surprising her... did she not just hear him say "hi"?). The characters seemed to change their minds quite a bit to fit the story too, going from supporting their forbidden love to grappling with it, to even as far as explaining why it's wrong to their THOUGHTLESS mum. This bothered me a bit because them changing their minds didn't feel as much like the internal wrestling that one would feel in this situation, just more like ham-fisted exposition, and because of this some of the acting suffered: the scene where they talk about moving to Gore/suicide pact was hilarious dialogue, but it was completely undermined by the awkward performances. You see this a lot in 48 hours, actors reading out lines that someone else clearly wrote. The film ends with the couple finding out they're not actually related, and everything seems fine after that... But... would it be? Is the desire to commit incest just as bad as committing incest? Is your adopted brother still too much like family to marry? These are the haunting questions this film left me with, and I'll be thinking about them for years to come.

Hide and Seek

Giles sort of touched on my main feeling about this film: The easygoing thoughtless Harper being shockingly cavalier about her abducted child could have actually been played off as really funny, and a whole movie based around a mother trying to save her child without being really bothered one way or the other would have been something original that I would have liked to watch, but with the 'serious' acting thrown in, it's clear that this film only gets half-way there, and I don't think it was intentional either. I didn't quite understand parts of the story, why she couldn't call the cops, what her business was, how she got the money, who had kidnapped the child and what the last scene was meant to imply. If the mother of a kidnapped child simply has the money lying around, and the bulk of the film is her easily collecting it and then just paying the ransom, then there's not a lot of tension in that story, and it's kind of a bummer too, that the kidnappers just win and get the money. I feel like i would have liked to have seen Harper outsmart her enemies, though I get the feeling the ending I didn't understand is meant to imply something to that effect? I thought the characterisation of Harper was really good, and as the film started out I was actually quite hopeful as she leaves the branch to thwak her son's face as he follows behind her. That whole first scene with the kids was really well shot and the kids did a pretty good job of acting too, though as a whole it was a bit long and seemed to just stall the rest of the movie. I actually thought the game of Hide and Seek they were playing was gonna be the meat of the story, which was a good idea and... wait what's this film called again? "Hide and Seek". Oh man. Did I totally miss the point? I need to sleep.

Elite Genetics

This is a really strong film - one which looks and sounds pretty good, has some good performances and some good production design.

Where it ultimately falls short sadly, is I think the story we're told would better suit being the backdrop to a more exciting story. The ethics in question of selective impregnations for the wealthy elite are a little dubious (we're told "some people don't deserve it" while also told "everyone should have this choice" at different stages in the film), I'd much rather watch a story which maybe takes place after where this one ends.

Is our character going to need to escape the law to keep her baby? Will the baby be taken away? Is she going to prison? A higher action approach to this story could be cool - a pregnant woman on the run from the law. I think something like this could have broken up the well-dressed but sterile sets.

In the end, you created what I'd consider quite a great foundation for a story - but I wanted to see more from the story itself.

Challenge for next year: Your storytelling instincts are good and I think your worldbuilding in particular is very strong - I'd love to see this expanded upon more, and after you land on your idea, consider if there's a more exciting story to tell in your universe.

The good child

A lot of good stuff in this film, and the comedy of the situations were a nice counter balance to the shoddy camera work. Nice use of gratuitous cameo.

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

When I found out you guys at CRAB CRAB CRAB were doing ULTRA this year, AND you got the Musical + genre, I was so excited to see what you'd deliver, and boy oh boy, did you deliver. As a team, you've slowly bubbled to the surface of my most anticipated films each year, with "Wheat, Myself and Rye" being the gold standard for how to truly master bizarre in 48hours, and while "Close Encounters of the Bird Kind" is a little lighter in the story department from previous films, it sets a new precedent for being... weird? shocking? terrifying? All of these things and more? This film is carried by it's amazing songs with gut busting lyrics (I love that you worked the word "Cloaca" in there) and an inspiring and devoted performance from Tim Driver AKA Mr. Penguin. Every year I marvel at the production quality of the costuming and art design in your films, and while I wasn't as dumbfounded by Mr. Penguin's get up as I was by your bread man or the slug lady, it is definitely the most terrifying character to be inducted into the CRAB CRAB CRAB rogue gallery. Maybe they could all team up next year? That would be a nightmare. As I said up top, the only way in which this film is lacking is that the actual story feels a little undercooked. I would have liked a little more connective tissue between the songs Mr. Penguin is singing and the little girl watching him- both characters go on arcs, but neither seem to truly affect each other beyond the girl ultimately choosing the penguin life. Maybe if he'd taken the girl by the hand and they actually flew to Antarctica together to witness all the events detailed in the songs (like a fucked up version of that animated Snowman short film from like 40 years ago), the film would feel more like a complete journey as opposed to just a girl listening to a penguin singing. But, alas, penguins can't fly. Still, it feels a little pointless to critique a film which is already as amazing as this, but there you go. I love this film, I love this team, and I cannot wait to see what the crabs offer up next year. As for your title, "Close Encounters of the Bird Kind" is classic, I'm sure there are other more penguin based movie titles you could have spoofed here, but this one speaks to the alien nature of your film, and your team.

Split Sibling Decision

SPLIT SIBLING DECISION is what happens when you smash together several very talented fimmakers with great synergy and teamwork. The rare 48hours drama- while not something I'm brave enough to tackle- is pulled off here with probably the highest level of success a team can hope for. The make-up for the last timeline was great, and the cinematography and editing really helped create what could be a confusing concept easily clear. If a less experienced team had tried to pull this off, I'd doubt they'd have even made the finals. So well done Free Chicken for achieving a seemingly impossible task. I'll throw in one thought here regarding MistaTeas's comment about SPLIT SIBLING DECISION being an awful name- I tend to agree, especially since the whole film is quite serious in tone, having what is essentially a pun (and not even really a clear one) as a title seems kind of a cheesy choice. But hey, you guys still took home the big prize as well as several others, so I have to fault you on something ;) A great film from a great team.

Bread Winner

This film was great! City finalist for sure. Maybe even Nationals. In the same vein as last year's overall winner "Pants on Fire". The songs were hilarious, as was the acting, and the camera work and editing were spot on. I loved the Les Mis vibe, especially when both actors started singing their own parts back-to-back. I bet you guys had a lot of fun doing this. I think the only thing that let this great Musical down was its story, but everything else compensated so hard for this that I don't think it even matters.

Word on a Wing

A very slick film, with a premise, as well as great adherence to the genre. The location was interesting too, but I think I got a bit claustrophobic and would have loved to explore a little more - I think something that could have really spiced this film up is if you scored a bunch of stock footage of moths and inserted clips when relevant.

I enjoyed the performances, and the Chekhov's Cake joke was great (even though it went, intentionally, unfulfilled), though I don't quite understand why there was a Chekhov's Gun joke in this particular story, but a joke is a joke is a joke.

I was left with a couple more world building questions - I'm not sure how common radio interviews are where A) the host isn't in the same room as the interviewee and B) the interviewee is joined by a different person all together, but I could be wrong on this.

I think there was the groundwork for a good story here, but in the end we have a story mostly told not shown and a little too undercooked. While the writing is effective in parts, I did find that structurally some stuff could have been improved - I think naming the Moth species after his father was touching, but this is the kind of plot beat that works best as a pay-off to a set-up, meaning we needed to begin the film knowing there was a schism between Peter and his father, so that we can see his character arc resolved. Bringing up a character's central conflict and then solving it in the same sentence doesn't exactly make for a satisfying emotional send-off.

Challenge for next year: You're a team who clearly understands what makes stories work, and what enhances and emotional arc. I'd say continue to dig into these, but remember it's important to set up the stakes at the beginning, and action/adventure is always going to be more compelling than a character speaking their problems.

talk.

A film which I think may have landed a little better 5-10 years ago in the competition, and unfortunately missed the mark for me personally here.

Firstly committing one of the cardinal sins of 48Hours: Making a rehab center/support group movie (and I can say this because I also made a support group movie once back when I was competing, and everyone hated it and I wanted to die). I wonder what it is about this idea that means it keeps showing up and consistently underwhelms - perhaps it's just a very convenient way to showcase many different personalities and ideas, especially within the more pulpy genres (my support group film was a time travel movie and more or less had the same strategy of using this format to establish several different characters from several different time eras).

Personally, I felt the humour was a little too crass in some areas - classic stuff from pre 2010 48Hours here like one of the few women characters being bullied, a male character lavishly describing one of his sexual experiences, and most dated of all, the first sodomy joke I've seen in the competition in years! Wasn't a fan of this joke gang - I found it super problematic and unnecessary,

Lastly, as Steelpotato noted, the audio here was bananas, if you are gonna film in a big wide empty space like a hall then you really need to get audio right, because all the characters yelling at the same time in this film echoed to corners of my ear canals I didn't know existed.

Listen, it's not all bad, I enjoyed the visual effects of the teleportation and the fun practical filmmaking of the invisible midas touch guy - great work there.

Things you got right: Looks like you had a lot of fun with your friends, which is ultimately what the competition is all about

Things to work on for next time: audio audio audio. Also maybe consider the subject matter of some of your jokes and whether or not 48Hours is the right audience for it.

Wonko

There are a lot of ideas going on in this film, and just when I thought I worked out what the premise was, it changed completely. Is it about a sad clown? Is it about a clown who whenever he touches someone they start dancing? Oh no its both of those things and also he can't masturbate. Was the fact he couldn't masturbate supposed to be clear from the beginning? Because I didn't catch it if so. The balloon animal gag was great. The song was pretty well done too. A lot of potential in this team, I think the storytelling just needs to be a bit more focused. TITLE REVIEW: Wonko is a great title!

The Performer

An incredible twist ending, which recontextualizes an other-wise pretty empty story!

Unfortunately, that recontextualizing doesn't do enough heavy lifting to push this film past the shortlist, which is a shame because it's such a great twist and good storytelling in it's own right.

The meat of the film is basically just a clown performing a pretty good song - but it ends up feeling more like a music video than a short film.

I'm hard pressed on how to improve things here - my instincts would say the song itself should be more relevant to the world of the film - perhaps it's about living in an invisible world or dealing with invisible things, and maybe we could see some cutaways of the clown interacting with these invisible things and scenarios - but then, on the flip side this would also ruin the twist!

It's a tricky situation, and one I'm sure has an answer, but unfortunately I can't think of it, and I don't think you guys did either.

That ending though.

Things you got right: A powerful ending which completely changes what you've seen preceding it

Things to work on for next time: Making what precedes the ending actually feel relevant and compelling within the story.

CornChip

I was very impressed with Cornchip and The Gentlemen's Agreement. The story was an awesome spin of the noir style, having only the lead character being part of the gritty surrealism that is inside his head. The acting and use of narration was amazing to, I really enjoyed it. I voted a 3 for it, and was probably my favourite film out of the 3 heats I saw.

Wild West Side Story

Hornby Heroes always bring a really charming sense of humour to their films, and as they've grown older, watching this sense of humour develop has been really fun.

Lot of stuff to love here - the mannequins standing in for extras, the embracing of Pavlova genre, the genius ending where we reveal it's all a class presentation - love this.

My main notes this year beyond keep getting better in the technical department (you are), would be to consider tone. A lot of your film is quite comedic, which made it relatively jarring when one character is cradling another while they die, cursing the heavens. Tone is a massive thing 48Hours films struggle to nail, so focusing on that will do you well.

Challenge for next year: I reckon make some films outside the competition, become familiar with your equipment so that when you get into the fun of the weekend, you can get better video and audio.

the last duel

I did not like this film. It's had a very high production value and all(a huge mansion and section, + 18th century costume, guns etc.) but what became increasingly obvious, was that Pressure Productions had came up with this idea completely before the contest started. Their genre is barely recognizable(fad), which was conveniently explained to the audience through the poorly delivered line "this FAD has gone on long enough". The character and line of dialogue were easily slipped in, and the bent bit of wire was probably written in the script as "object X" as the fact that it is a bent piece of wire is irrelevant. It could have been '10s broken toy or the rock or any other previous years' prop and had exactly the same effect. The acting is average, which let the 18th century feel down a bit. This film got third in it's heat, which I am disappointed in, just because a film is big budget and looks good, it does not mean it is a great film.

No Pain No Train

Classic 48 hours fever dream feel, but the animation felt a little lazy and the story was non-existent. Not good enough animation to be interesting, not good enough of a story to be forgivable.

MeatLoaf

From the team intro to the terrifying boogeyman emerging from the darkness, this film was an absolute pleasure to watch. I loved it. The animation style changes every time the protagonist walks through a door, and while a couple of times it was reduced to still frame storyboards, other times we were treated to beautiful cell shading and extremely smooth cartoon work. The necessary elements of Harper Harrison's thoughtlessness and the "oh really" felt a little shoehorned into what could have otherwise been a completely dialogue-less film. But I guess that's 48 hours. This was my favourite of the heat by far, and it's a shame it didn't even rank third with the audience, though I feel it probably had something to do with the size of the other groups on the night voting for themselves. I would love to see this make it all the way to Nationals, what a joy to watch. I hope you guys return next year.

Utka

What can I say? Well, a lot apparently. I absolutely LOVE this film. Every time I watch it, I get more and more out of it. I appreciate the animation, the voice acting, the script, the music, and I still get mad shivers at some of those line deliveries. Let me just say as well, to anyone reading this review that isn't from Poutine Wolf, I almost wish (lol) this film wasn't as incredible as it was, because as my first year as city manager I felt like a total ass kisser giving the big award to my immediate predecessor. There are a lot of whispers about biases in 48hours (mostly unfounded but still) and here I am, wanting to make my mark as a grassroots man in charge, contributing fully to that bias. But the thing is, if anything, I was biased against it. You really have no idea how good a film made by someone in Andrew's position is going to be, coaches don't play after all, and before watching it for the first time I did think to myself "Lol this could potentially be really bad, wouldn't that be embarrassing", but... well... NOPE! Instead Andrew has proven how much he has truly learnt about 48hour films by creating what genuinely might be my favourite one of all time. Man oh man do I love this film, and man oh man do I feel like a brown noser. Of course, it wasn't just Andrew doing all the work here. Both he and Johnny wrote a script SO tight that there was almost no deliberation from the judges on this one. Some of these lines are absolute word porn guys, they're simple when they need to be, they're sad when they need to be, they're epic when they need to be and they're terrifying when they need to be. Every single element of this story is there, working at full capacity. A lesser film would have featured Utka's brothers and sisters dying at the hand of some other animal or of exposure, but here we see it was that damn evil cat who granted the wish in the first place. This is all to say it's very satisfying to see a film fold in on itself and fire a chekhov's gun you didn't know still needed to be fired. This is a film made by a team who knows what they're doing when it comes to narrative. I also love Johnny's voice over here. The choice to go Russian was inspired and wonderful (and combined with the Spanish lover from summer co's "in the woods" this year, I'm starting to think that giving your film a foreign flair might be a growing trend we see in the future of 48Hours). The line delivery here is so damn good. In particular, the line that always gets me is "My wish came true. Did yours?"-- the way the evil and despicable reality comes to light with Johnny's pitch shifting for the "did yours?" is fucking terrifying, and demonstrates super effective vocal control on Johnny's part. Theatrical, terrifying, effective. While you didn't take the award home, I loved the adherence to genre for "Utka". While other nominees like "An Appointment with a Poo" and "The Stile" both got nominated for subverting what we expected for their genres, "Utka" and the film that actually won the genre award "Cushy: A Pull Story" are both excellent examples of the old nail your genre game. "Utka" truly nails the Wish genre, with a "be careful what you wish for message" wonderfully suiting the simple nature of this Russian crayon storybook. I think it's really interesting to view "Utka" in the context of the top 3 Christchurch films as well- while "PC High" is a rich comedy, and "Hero" is a hard hitting drama, "Utka" comes out on top as being the best of both worlds here as kind of a mix of the two. A complete package: It's humorous in that it's a story about a duck becoming a dictator, but it's also a sorrowful tragedy that leaves you feeling as alone as the character himself. And he is alone. As for your title, "Utka". Of course. What else would you call it? It's a fun word to say.

CornChip

I was very impressed with Cornchip and The Gentlemen's Agreement. The story was an awesome spin of the noir style, having only the lead character being part of the gritty surrealism that is inside his head. The acting and use of narration was amazing to, I really enjoyed it. I voted a 3 for it, and was probably my favourite film out of the 3 heats I saw.

How to Fix a Broken Heart

A lot of truly top notch elements in this film, and a true shame to see something so innovative get disqualified :(

The actors, cinematography, sound and editing are all a cut above the rest of the competition here, very professional on all fronts and a film I was able to find myself engrossed in.

The true stand out though is the production design - taking us inside the heart was exactly the kind of fun madness we love to see in 48Hours - and a really exciting take on SciFi as a genre.

My one big issue with this film is not its premise (which is great), but the story itself - I was a little uncomfortable with the "let me shove this down your throat" joke towards the beginning, but it was really the ending which left me scratching my head. I'm not sure I can get behind the message of a hired professional inserting himself as the new love interest for his client, it felt unethical and a little male gazey - she falls in love with him without the two of them developing a romantic relationship at all, and I think that would have helped, though overall I think a completely different direction with the ending would have worked better.

Things you got right: a super creative idea, inspiring production design, your technical side is perfect and your actors gave very authentic performances.

Things to work on for next time: creating more complex characters with organic emotions, responses and arcs - and also don't include footage you don't own in your film D:

Journey To Dreams

Taniwha Road continue to show more enthusiasm and eagerness to explore filmmaking than any other school team, and it's been this way for years. The finished films aren't always perfect, but the technical ideas and concepts this team has tackled in their various outings has always inspired me.

While JOURNEY TO DREAMS is a little light in the story department, we're still seeing the fruits of a young team who take on feedback and dive headfirst into their projects - no other school team is employing ADR, for example (not as effectively as this anyway), and it's been a joy to watch them improve over the years.

The acting is good, the dancing is great and the beginning/end have great adherence to story structure - it's the middle of the film which maybe could have used a little work I think - because it's mostly just practicing dancing, which I think could have been expressed in a more narratively dynamic way.

Like, maybe the main character rolls her ankle? Or maybe she's gonna be late for the audition? Or do her and her best friend have an argument but heal their friendship through the power of dance? What I'm basically talking about is drama, higher stakes, something which you nailed in your superhero film last year.

Always consider how to make your story bigger and deeper, more exciting. Your technical prowess is only getting better and better and the experimenting you're doing with the form is inspiring. I think its only a matter of time before you get that perfect genre which moves you to make a film worthy of the city finals.

Challenge for next year: Really focus on telling a compelling and thrilling story - think of high stakes, what will happen to these characters if they fail? Will they be kicked out of school? Will they lose their lover? Will they die? Explore these tensions and marry them with your inventive and scrappy filmmaking.

The Ghost Whisperer

Phrasing have a lot of potential from what I can see, but this film didn't quite do it for me. It's tough because all the elements are there, the camera work and editing is great, the acting is great, the art direction is great and the story is great too- just maybe a little ambitious. If you're reading this guys, take heart because I think in order for you guys to improve you just need to adjust how you tell your story, to ensure it will fit into the 5 minutes 48hours allows.

Falling For You

I get the feeling No Budget Ninjas were not quite ready to tackle action, and the way they pulled it off is what I love about this film. The central premise of a gravity bomb pulling everyone closer into the ground is not only a great way to get around the typical fast paced nature of action film, but it's a great concept anyway. Hilarious performances all around. Great job.

Potem Immortales

Once again, this film came very close to the short list. The songs were great, the choreography of the dancing really added to the film and its heightened reality where even when you're held hostage you can still dance to the music. Over all, I feel the story of the film is a little undercooked, and maybe it can be when you get musical, but it would have been nice to see more developments happening, and the reveal that the guard is wearing the mask at the end would have been aided by seeing him survive his attack and apprehending the original mask wearer as well. Also, surely they can still all defeat him again? Technically a lot works in this film too, it would have been cool to see a bit more framing and care in the cinematography to honour the wonderful location. As for your title, "Potem Immortales" is the perfect thing to call this, I can't imagine what else you could have called it.

Infinite Body Confidence

Great film guys, very original and well made, and well cast too. My only criticism is the ending, whilst funny, the line "I'm gonna jam my finger so far up your anus" was quite an abrupt way to conclude the film, and I felt like a happy ending would have suited the story more.

Sundown

SUNDOWN!

I absolutely loved SUNDOWN, a hilarious and thrilling little short film and a career best for rip focus - last year's HIM AND HER was a little more technically impressive, but SUNDOWN is easily the best and most thorough work we've seen from one of Christchurch's most reliable teams.

I think the performances are hilarious, the VFX are slick, the editing is top notch and the story, while some have commented felt a bit confusing, I think is actually really interesting and great, though it did take me a few watches to fully take in the alluded to backstory of Sundown and Moonup.

The Pavlova Western elements here are also much appreciated - while the anime inspired fight scene seems to veer off course, the image of two socks and sandal'd feet stepping into frame with the sound effect of spur-shackling cowboy boots, is really a microcosm for what the whole genre is about.

There is so much technical skill on display here and it's coupled wonderfully with hysterical performances and jokes, and an exciting narrative. The cinematography and various VFX tricks in the fight scene, accompanied with the exciting music, made for a very effective climax.

Once again the thing I need to praise rip focus more for than anything else, is they may have the best - or at least the funniest or most unique - world building skills in the competition. So many of their films include characters and concepts which just feel completely lived in, there's an idiosyncrasy to the dialogue and the direction and the sense of humour that at times is ever-so-slightly mind boggling (I'm not sure I understand why there was a wire in Sundown's pav, but it made me laugh nonetheless), but because the sense of humour is consistently slightly mind boggling, it creates an atmosphere rather than confusion. We accept these strange and hilarious worlds for what they are.

Quick shout out to your award winning gatekeeper moment here - while it's always a little sheepish to award to team that did something tricksy with the wording of an element, I thought this case in particular was so well pulled-off in a year where almost every gatekeeper was excruciatingly signposted. What I love about the gatekeeping in this film is the joke works if you aren't familiar with the comp (it's just like, oh yeah right this petty character will take any token to claim some kind of victory), but it's such a cathartic release to see it in the lineup after dozens of lesser inclusions. I also love the sound design on the gate being pulled - was that the natural foley or did you record it after? It sounds perfect.

When I first watched this film, I actually thought it had a good chance of winning or placing, something I still stand by, thought it seems it didn't strike quite as hard with the other judges.

CHALLENGE FOR NEXT YEAR: It's hard to say because rip focus are really just firing on all cylinders. What would take you to the next level? I wonder if there is a way to combine your usual standard with something that is a little more heartfelt? Perhaps a sincere character arc or something that tugs at the heartstrings may push you over from a team that makes us laugh to a team that makes us laugh and cry.

The Radical Adventures of Captain Flowers and his Sidekick Barnaby against the Legions of Evil. Episode 1: Fleeced

I love I LOVE LOOPS. The gratuitously long title alone had me laughing out loud. Each year you crank out great (yet for some reason overlooked) little animations, and this year is your best yet. I hope to see it make the finals. My only note would be that CAPTAIN FLOWERS followed a similar trajectory in terms of journey as your film last year (both being stories about a protagonist escaping some kind of facility). I'd love to see you guys be more adventurous with your narrative while still keeping the slick sense of humour and impeccable animation.

Trolley King

Blood and Bone out here cementing their legacy as the most technically impressive team to constantly get disqualified! Christchurch's own Disqualified Tim.

The cinematography, audio, acting and of course music in TROLLEY KING is truly a sight to behold, and sets a very high standard for surrounding musicals in the competition this year.

I loved the main actors, I love the crisp footage and the stylistic voice which changed between songs and moments in the narrative. There's such an intoxicating energy to this film and the audience at the heats responded to it so well. Everyone was on board, cheering for Trolley King and joining him on his journey. Some really slick characterization here, and some pretty great stakes for the mood of the film too.

One thing I'm a little underwhelmed on is the story - it feels like we're missing a middle act here, particularly because the beginning and the end are both so good. But the call to adventure is immediately interrupted by our King falling out of the trolley and into the "wallet girl" song, which felt thematically like it needed to come later. There are also only really two songs in this musical, and I'd have loved a third one as that feels like it graduates a film from a movie with songs to a musical lol - I suspect this is all an issue with the five minute time limit - I think the best version of this film is maybe 7 or 8 minutes.

Also a little confused why the King thought the woman in the wallet would be the wallet owner? When he finds the owner I actually immediately assumed it'd be her partner or someone, because who keeps a phot of themselves in their wallet?

Things you got right: Similar to 2019, maybe one of the best looking films in modern 48 history, likable characters, a hilarious premise, great songs.

Things to work on for next time: Getting your goddamn film in on time! Also focus on fleshing out the middle of your story a little more - certainly the hardest part for me anyway.

Hard To Do

Disclaimer: This is also too mean because they are also my friends and I am also aware of what they're capable of.

Awesome performances, a great premise, and as always an impressive technical achievement which creates a film that feels very complete - something plenty of teams find HARD TO DO.

While this film definitely deserves its place in the finals, I too am struggling to judge TBALC with the same grace I use for other teams, simply because for a long time they were all Christchurch had, but now plenty of other teams have caught up, and the once great TBALC is now just another great chch team. It feels like a window was missed here for TBALC to achieve greater success than they have already? NEW FISH should have won the grand final in 2009 god DAMN it.

I'm not a big fan of the mean spirited nature of this story - but I know that's just a creative decision I disagree with and not a failure on the storyteller's part, though as has been pointed out, it's certainly a story which stumbles in trying to achieve its full potential, with the many examples of ways in which the wives' relationship is clearly one-sided being pretty subdued and uhh.. under directed? Is that a term?

I said the story is too mean, but maybe it isn't mean enough? Maybe we play too much in the realm of feasibility when things needed to get fucking absurd for the meanspiritedness to be justified?

I am also at a loss for how the grandpa character ended up in the film - an actor clearly, CLEARLY wearing a cheap bald cap from LookSharp, with flour in his beard to appear elderly. You guys are TBALC! You're the team that actually find an elderly actor to play this role! Genuinely baffled by this decision and probably the most disappointing aspect of the film.

Things you got right: As said, a very complete package with elements that are all pretty good, pretty good enough to continue your finalist streak.

Things to work on for next time: I'm not sure what it is, but you really need a kick in the pants to be able to get back to achieving that same level of greatness I know you're all capable of, and that kick in the pants needs to be in the opposite direction of this film IMO. Love you guys!

Avoca-don't

While I'm a little sick of everyone talking about Millenials and avacados, Cruel World Productions establish within seconds that they're the perfect mouthpiece for this societal issue. AVACA-DON'T is an awesome musical, with great catchy songs and a real grasp on storytelling. There's a lot of great stuff in this film, and I fully expect to see Cruel World in the city finals a few more times in the future!

SUPER ANOROC

Very sneaky of you to mark this as a city finalist, abusing the system!!! ahahahah.

Taniwha Road are one of the best and most impressive school teams in the competition and are really great at upping the ante every year, and while they've impressed me before with their filmmaking ingenuity, this year they have stepped up their game with some VERY impressive camera work and some VERY nicely looking shots. Everything with the scientist looks incredible, well done gang.

The story is funny too, with some awesome twists and turns. The Lime scooter joke is great as well.

Things you got right: You seem to respond to feedback better than any other school team and it really shows - so keep improving! I could easily see Taniwha Road being verteran finalists in the coming years.

Things to work on for next time; Maybe consistency? While at its best this film is very impressive, there are still a few shots and a few story beats which feel amateur. It really is just a case of maturing as filmmakers and learning new skills. I'd recommend you start trying to make stuff year round if you don't already!

ESCAPE

What a roller coaster! From the team intro, I was expecting a humble, charming made-by-kids-for-kids film that would leave the audience smiling. Instead we got a shockingly morbid and depressing account from inside the 'prison' or school, and I loved every minute of it. This whole film really tickled me pink, very much my sense of humour, would love to see it travel further in the comp.

The Ad

God what a perfect 48Hours film. This feels like it should have a place at the grand finals, and if there was an AJ's wildcard, I probably would have selected this.

This is one of those unfortunate cases of "second best in every category" films, where ya'll didn't take home any awards even though you excelled in so many areas, especially the acting. The lead performances here are so good and so fun - James pulls off the surprisingly difficult task here of acting as a bad actor, and Rosie gives such a grounded and realistic performance as Richie McNugget's straightman. I not only love these performances, but I love the characters too.

The dialogue is also hilarious and snappy, as is your use of genre which was a great idea, because it's a race-against-time concept that is specific to filmmaking and we've all had scenarios where we were running out of time to shoot something.

A great location too - sure it's just a house but it's a really nice house and made it truly feel like the film had production value and wasn't just filmed at whatever house was easiest.

Also a genuinely stacked ensemble of background characters! So genuine, so true.

In my freelance corporate video career, I have shot an ad that was so eerily similar to this, right down to the location and blood-from-a-stone lead performance. Hit home.

Again, I'm really sad to see this film slipped through all the cracks because in another year I could have seen it placing or even going to the grand finals.

Things you got right: All the important stuff, an engaging story, lovable characters, great location and confident comedy

Things to work on for next time: Idk I think if there's anything missing, it might just be that it's a slightly technically weaker film than some of the other finalists. Perhaps scrubbing up on cinematography and art direction is the key to pushing this film across the line further.

Boogie Buddies

Hahaha, uhmmmm Yeah so if there was still a BEST BAD FILM AWARD, this would probably get it. And I mean this as a compliment. You get AJ's unofficial fever dream award this year. It was neck and neck with you guys and Foreign Objects, but at least I understood their film well enough. It wasn't until AFTER I'd seen this film a second time that I clicked that the characters are boogers inside a nose. Maybe the problem is because Shen plays both a booger and the owner of the nose? Anyway, put yourself in my shoes and imagine my reaction to this film, not understanding the story. So many questions. Why is everyone singing? What happened to the characters at the start? Why'd he sneeze out a person? This film is pure madness and leans so intensely into all the ways in which to make a bad movie that it almost comes back round again and becomes great. TITLE REVIEW: Boogie Buddies. Ahh. Of course. It was right in front of me the whole time.

Two Steps Forward

I had to watch this a couple of times to fully understand what was going on- though that might be my fault. Still, I prefer confusing story to no story at all, and you guys clearly have the fundamentals of storytelling down, and good on you for tackling a heavy subject. As with most time travel films this year, I feel the time travel aspect was a little underplayed. As for your title, "Two Steps Forward" is intriguing, so it works really well I think, plays into the time travel genre well.

Wizards Escape

Really cool effects, attention to detail in the art direction and world building, and a really cool idea for a story, I'm just not sure I fully comprehended what was going on.

Meet Heath

In what is a massive step forward for this team, MEET HEATH is a cold and calculated surprise thriller with some solid performances and a unique location - funny that team with "Christchurch" in their name looks to have shot in Scotland.

In previous reviews for Chch on Air's previous films, I implored you to be a bit more experimental with your storytelling - for years I felt you'd told us the same story about morally reprehensible men who die or kill someone at the end, and while, uh, you certainly didn't change your stripes, you have greatly improved your filmmaking, and as such made it further in the competition than ever before.

A lot of MEET HEATH is very effective, and while there were just one-too-many flaws for it to quite resonate with the judges, it's no small victory to say this is your best film yet.

So, what are those one-too-many flaws you ask? Well on a technical side, the scene in the car at the start became so drowned out with traffic that it felt like I was missing important dialogue, and I think some ADR could have been employed here to fix the audio scape.

Similarly, though not as unsalvageable, the cinematography is framed nice, but COMPLETELY flat. The kind of footage you can tell was shot on a good camera, but it seems it didn't make it to the colour grading session before the 48Hours was up, which is a massive shame because it's uninspiring desaturated look is probably one of the main contributing factors to this film stumbling at the finish line. Even just a quick pass to deepen the shadows, or a standard LUT thrown on an adjustment layer would have made this film a hell of a lot more engaging to look at.

I'm not saying it couldn't have still looked bleak and cold - it wouldn't surprise me if this was your creative vision - but there's a big difference between intentionally and unintentionally desaturated footage, and unfortunately MEET HEATH does not do very dynamic things with its grade, looking more like I'm watching a film through fog than enjoying any deep or rich near-monochromatic visual dimensionality.

Lastly I'd like to talk about your story - so be prepared for a bit more of a subjective critique, and feel free to reject it entirely. The first note I have here is I think the film could really just start at the picnic. I'm surprised you didn't make this call anyway considering the drowned-out dialogue in the car, but virtually nothing is told to us as an audience before the picnic that we can't glean later. I guess in this version you'd also be gutting the anniversary genre clarification and the compulsory gatekeeper, so maybe start at the gate, or work some figurative gatekeeping into the characters' personalities. Instead of "I'll leave you two alone" the final line could have been "Happy anniversary" and then bam we've ticked off all the boxes.

My more radical story note though, would be I'm far FAR more interested in what would happen next, or if the stakes were upped. This film seems to want us to side with the man - he sure taught his cheating girlfriend a lesson! - but to be honest I sympathize far more with the woman, whose clearly psychotic insane and abusive boyfriend pushed her into Heath's arms in the first place. And now he's MURDERED him???

I think if you'd started with the picnic, had the murder/baked into a pie reveal be the midpoint, and the rest of the film was the woman either escaping being murdered herself by her clearly insane boyfriend (he did drive them out into the middle of nowhere, the perfect crime), OR if you still want to have him cockily leave her there, I'd have loved to see her take revenge on him. Catch up to him, kill him, bake him into a fucking pie.

There are flashes of a brilliant idea in the film we have - in particular I love that the titular Heath isn't even a character in the film - but I'm sorry I just thinking murdering someone and forcing someone else to eat their minced up body is a LOT worse than cheating on someone, and the lead male gives me the vibe that he probably wasn't a particularly good partner anyway.

Finally, whichever story approach you decided to take, I think we needed to see a finger poking out of the second pie or something - something to confirm Heath has indeed been chopped up, because if I was her, and this happened to me, I probably wouldn't believe my boyfriend if he all but admitted to a grisly murder like that, and even as an audience member I'm not sure I believe him now either.

I hope all of this provides some insight and clarity into how I judged this film (I can't speak for the other judges), and while I know criticism can be painful, I truly intend for this to inspire you to continue to improve and overcome certain shortcomings in the future. I think Chch on Air have proven this year that there are some great storytellers on board the team, I just think the stories they tell, like Heath himself, need a little more time to bake in the oven.

Challenge for next year: Story notes aside, the big things are your technical bits and pieces because a film that looks crisp and sounds crisp will override any subjective storytelling issues I, or any of the judges, have. Things like colour grade and audio quality should be your big goal for next year. Narratively, I think I'd still like to see you dip into some new ideas - what does a Christchurch on Air comedy look like? Perhaps it's not fair for me to make suggestions in that area, because you should write what you want to write. But I hope you get musical or something next year ;)

Connection Issues

Really cool idea, if a little derivative of READY PLAYER ONE, but that's okay. Probably one of the best overall story arcs I've seen in a school team this year, with a nice punchline to end on. While the castle was a great location, it would have been nice if all the others were of this caliber, I know that's no easy task, but it was a bit weird that this online game had very simplistic and banal locations like paddocks and beaches. I'd work on your technical side for next year team, and your storytelling skils are nearly there too. As for your title, "Connection Issues" is a fantastic double meaning, really stands up well, and knowing the genre makes the joke clear even before you watch it.

The Trees Are Alive!

When the judges and I finalized the shortlist, this was definitely in the conversation, so feel encouraged that your film was in our top 30 overall. I really dig the acting in this film- the two leads have a very authentic and believable relationship, and so in a lot of ways I was pretty invested from the get go. The ending also hits on a bang, the monster is a little cheesy though- I do wonder if you should have hidden or blurred the actual design. The middle of the film is kind of where it falls away- I think I would have liked more focus on the build up to the monster instead of just a drastic shift in the last minute or so. As for your title, "The Trees Are Alive!" is a great pulpy title, reminds me of a novel you'd find in a second hand book store. That being said, the film itself didn't feel like this, so maybe it could have used a more grounded title.

The Third Factor

The Third Factor is one of a couple of films this year in which the entire film should have probably served as the premise of the film instead of the whole plot.

Having Soul Validation be third factor of password protection is a hilarious concept, but almost all of the film is used to explain this - with only a brief glimpse into what all of this looks like at the end. I think it would have been fun for this entire psychedelic journey to authenticate one's log-in to be the majority of the plot. Take me on a trip.

It's frustrating too, because film looks and sound really clean, but this is used exclusively on the ad, which is filled with so much genuine actual information about online security that it was hard to discern the jokes.

Challenge for next year: Apply this same technical proficiency and creative storytelling to a film which actually takes us on an adventure and explores the world building with action instead of words.

Chromaticity

Some strong stuff from this team - a really clear vision, a strong idea, and some effective editing.

The biggest issue with the film is it seems to end just as it's getting interesting, and I'm not sure the fish-out-of-water adventure really reached its full potential. A woman going from the 50s to modern day should be a story full of more observations than just walking through a park and meeting a couple of people. What does she think of the city? How does she cope with culture? What's she gonna do next?

As stated above as well, age-appropriate casting (or the lack thereof in this case) has always been a bit of a bug bear with judges and audience members, myself included. I think as well, the characters didn't need to be married. I think the story would still work if the lead character was just a teenager in this world as well.

Challenge for next year: Some good storytelling chops on this team, I'd recommend studying story structure and seeing if you can squeeze some more satisfying beats out of whatever you make next.

Velociraptor

The technical side of this film is clearly the team's strong point. The camerawork is really good, as is the music and the original song got a laugh out of me. I think you guys fell a little flat with your story though, relatively strong beginning and a banger of an ending but not a lot happens in the middle, which I think is a common issue with romcoms and their sub genres like this one. As for your title, I like "Velociraptor" as a relation to their star sign (though I didn't know that was a star sign). Not exactly indicative of your film, but intriguing nonetheless.

Banned Practice

Lots of great ideas in this film, I'm not sure they all reached their full potential, but there was enough in there to be a real crowd pleaser for sure.

A Brush With Commitment

There's a lot of really funny ideas here, and one of the better takes on Wrong Place/Wrong Time from Christchurch this year. I think parts of the story are somewhat unclear, I didn't fully understand what was going on until I rewatched it. I think with a more focused story, and a bit more cohesive visual storytelling, this film could have been one to mess with. TITLE REVIEW: It's a great title, very funny.

Clean Getaway

My favourite film I've seen so far out of the 4 or 5 heats I've attended. Coming into this film after a school's heat was exactly the kind of pick-me-up I needed, as soon as the beautiful letterboxed cinematography blasted onto the screen I let out a sigh of relief, and on top of that the acting was INCREDIBLE and HILARIOUS, and the story fit the black comedy genre so well. I loved the part where one of the girls nearly throws up, not because of the dead body but because she remembered the wet bread. My friends and I were quoting that back and forth to each other all night. The two actresses really owned their roles, and as characters they were both very different people so it felt like a really genuine dynamic. The make-up on the dead guy was great too. I definitely expect to see this in the city finals, and probably Nationals too. Hell, I hope it wins. Peace out.

The Essence

The art direction here is this film's strong suit, very fun and energetic, and at times pretty funny too.

The story is just a little lacking, would have been cool to see something with higher stakes and a bit more conviction.

Things you got right: A film with a surprising amount of production value, plays well to a crowd

Things to work on for next time: Crafting a story with a little more weight

Ta Da

Hilarious, captivating and deeply personal in a way you rarely get in 48Hours, TA DA is, in my humble opinion, the best film in 48Hours this year. Apologies to all whom this offends.

Story structure, we're looking at the reigning champ in the competition I think, and very deserving of Best Script. There are so many story beats BLOB ticks off that seem to go overlooked by other stories from other teams. Right away we're introduced to a character, shown their flaw, and therefore we have the rest of the film to enjoy the character development. It's not revealed halfway through that our protagonist is lying to his partner, it's not the introduction of Da that lets us know that "becoming my father" is the protagonist's biggest fear, it's told to us up front and the rest of the story is in service of helping him reach closure.

Similar to UTKA, 2018's Christchurch winner made by A SMALL BLOB OF ICE CREAM + 1 extra person, I think adding a foreign accent and flair to the film (Russian in the case of UTKA, Scottish in the case of TA DA) makes it a much more textured and interesting over all package. Truly a short cut to making your 48Hour film stand out which I'm surprised has not been highjacked by more teams.

The vocal performance from Andrew Todd is incredible as well, voicing multiple Scottish characters, each with a distinct different voice. The dialogue is delightfully jargon-y as well, but does a great job of contextualising anything too niche - for example I'd never heard the term "Bairn" before but picked up it meant "child" pretty quickly. It's a really intelligent marriage of script and performance.

I love so much about this film that it's hard to not just list individual moments that orbit my mind daily - it was such a joy to rewatch every time and I especially enjoyed valuing out it's award nominations. I think my favourite award this film one was "Best Use of Whisper", one of the rare element award wins that takes it out not because it subverts the element, or takes it literally or does anything tricksy, it's just that "You're just like yer fuckin' Da" is such a baller line/delivery/climax, and the resulting defeat is so cathartic. I think excitement is under-utilised in this competition. More films should be exciting.

The Bonnie Box song is also awesome and despite its simplicity, was very nearly my vote for Best Song, but maybe it's more that I love how accurate it is to fast food campaigns than it being the best jingle of the year.

If I were pressed to give this film any critiques, I'd say that the animation doesn't exactly offer a new dimension to the story beyond a lot of these elements being way easier to control in animated form (meaning, it would have been mostly the same live action), and also, I wonder if Da being defeated needed to have an emotional equivalent instead of just the physical running over of the sign. It felt like the protagonist is given an emotional conflict to overcome, and he gets there by killing his ghost dad - perhaps there was a way to merge this physical action with an emotional one? Small nitpicks anyway.

Everything here is firing on all cylinders, basically every element is enjoyable, from the satisfying script to the impeccable production design to the engaging performances to the sound design to the music to the cinematography to the tiniest smallest minutia. It probably would have won Christchurch if animation wasn't so divisive, and it's my perhaps-biased pick for Grand Final champ. I guess we'll find out.

Challenge for next year: It's hard to say - I guess if you're going solo again, you don't need my challenge. But maybe, maybe my challenge is to join a team again, and see what is born out of collaborative effort. Will it be better or worse?

Man Bat

Delightfully silly and funny, a great palate cleanser in the middle of the heats. In a way, the quintessential 48Hour film.

Some great goofy ideas present, pretty much every line has been written to be entertaining and we're not wasting anytime. While crass and crude, the comedy is never dull and importantly, this isn't a boring film. The multiverse gate on the ceiling was my favourite gag.

Feels needless to say this, but a higher technical quality and maybe a bit more of a strong narrative backbone would dramatically improve this film, but it looks like you had fun making what you made, and that's the main thing.

Challenge for next year: See if you can combine your great sense of humour with some more impressive visuals and cleaner audio.

Fist Puncher and Foot Kicker

Fist Puncher and Foot Kicker is a lot of fun, and, while I've been told teams hate it when I bring this up, it very nearly made the shortlist.

The comedy is great, delivered confidently faux-poorly by the leads, and the plot is maybe a little too simple but delivers on a basic story. The characters covered in pasta at the end looked great, as did the cave location where they had their final confrontation.

While ultimately just falling short of the top 25 (mainly because the rest of the lineup was stronger as opposed to anything being too wrong in this film), I think it's a good time. Although, maybe a bit too Gen X for my young Millennial tastes, which isn't always something that bothers me and certainly doesn't factor into judging, but the vaguely 80s low-budget throwback is a sub-genre I have never really enjoyed seeing all that much. Yeah its funny, yeah the tight suits are funny, yeah the wigs are funny, yeah the line deliveries are funny, but I think they were funnier ten years ago than they are now.

The most egregious use of dated humour was basing the whole plot around the flying spaghetti monster, an edgy atheist meme from, what, 2008? 2009? I didn't like the use of this, mainly because it's a dead meme, but also because I think the film would have just been better with an original monster. It could even still be a spaghetti monster! Tying it to a specific internet joke just brought back 4Chan flashbacks I'd rather forget. Hahah.

Points to you for some interesting locations, it was good to get a tour of Blenhiem.

Challenge for next year: I think with just a smidge more production value, maybe some sharper cinematography, a film with this sense of humour would be too engaging to ignore. I could see you making the finals next year if you step things up to the next level :)

Rough Trade

A great palet cleanser and a great film. Fantastically cheesy performance from the lead actress. I'd love to see High Water Mark be regular finalists with this kind of thing every year.

Shank'd

Absolutely hilarious, really effective comedy, which while a little predictable and lacks a satisfying conclusion, was still a very good time. If you're asking yourselves why you didn't graduate beyond the shortlist, it's simply because the top 15 were so good and so top notch- I could absolutely see a film like "Shank'd" making the city finals in previous years, and I'm sure team Cactus? will crack it in the future. If you are looking for ways to beat the competition though, I'd say it all really just came down to camerawork. The cinematography in this film is serviceable, but if those opening shots before the reveal had been more slick, we would have had a pretty powerful piece. A lot of the shows you based "Shank'd" and "Plow'd" off have some pretty wacky and trippy camera angles as well, and so to fully achieve the maximum effect, it would have been cool to really drill home this style, and to have it be distinctly separate from the "real world" scenes. I think as well, your storytelling could be a great area to work on, while I definitely don't want you to change up your sense of humour, a funny-but-repetitive formula, or a parody TV show, or a film which is probably 50% just opening sequences (hilarious ones), probably wouldn't cut it above some more traditionally told short films with powerful or engrossing stories- and this is probably more a testament to the difference between a short film and a comedy sketch, the latter of which "Shank'd" more fits into. All of these rules can be made to be broken, and I absolutely encourage spitting in the face of the formula (see Strang Entertainment's 2012 entry "True" or their 2017 entry "Pandora's Night" to see this at premium capacity), but you still have to produce something that is ultimately a very satisfying watch if you want to find yourself a spot in the finals and beyond. Even if you do stick with something like a "Punk'd" prank show, a great way to up the stakes would have been to take it beyond "Jury'd". Maybe an overseas country bombs New Zealand "NUKE'D" or God turns up and destroys the whole world "APOCALYPSE'D". Just a thought, haha. I hope this review doesn't seem harsh- as I said at the beginning I loved "Shank'd" on it's own terms and you should all be stoked with your effort. As for your title, "Shank'd" is obviously the only thing you could have called this film :)

I Wish

Some incredible imagery in this film, probably some of the most well constructed art direction in the competition nationwide.

It's always somewhat of a quandary with films like this, which feature shots and sequences that look like they could be pulled from a major Hollywood production, but then other parts of the film tend to bring it down.

One thing I would note is the story is a little vague/non-existent, and excluding the bookending flashforward scenes (which I'll get to next), it kinda feels less like a story and more like an excuse to show off some amazing production design. And once again, it is amazing production design.

Now, those bookended flashforwards which open and close the film, Ironically, I think should have been taken out. They don't look nearly as good or compelling or meticulously designed as the war sequences - they aren't even colour graded particularly well considering. I said that the war sequences look like they're from a Hollywood blockbuster, but these scenes give the truth away. And we OPEN the film with one of these scenes.

This somewhat diminishes your coming-of-age genre, so then that would need to be worked into the meat of your story, but these are the retroactive notes teams love hearing from me. Right?

Challenge for next year: Combine your incredible production value with a more clear and compelling story, and you'll go far. You'll probably win, tbh.

Hunting Pavlov

Beautifully shot, hilarious concept, easily the Musketeers best film to date, a massive step up for the team in pretty much every area.

What holds it back is probably it's length - I think it might be the shortest film of the year, and while that's a welcome relief for those of us drowning in films, in a vacuum I felt like everything after the intro was just a bit too quick - the intro is actually probably longer than the meat of the film.

I think NimbleMarmoset has some wonderful points about how to drum up tension in your scene, his note about the bell is genius. In general, I think starting with the hunt already over was smart, but I would have liked to have seen the fight be a little more exciting. Check out another Pavlova Western, SUNDOWN by rip focus for this - lots of action, well choreographed, it's exciting and completely true to the genre.

Still, an incredible premise and a neat little package.

Challenge for next year: I'd love to see your higher quality camera work, editing and comedy in a full length 4-5 minute story. You have story structure down, now it's time to grow and expand.

Grisly

Probably my favourite script from the Chch finals. The meta approach (and somewhat middle finger) to not only 48Hours, but the trials and tribulations of ULTRA itself, creates one of the cheekiest 48hour films I've ever seen. Maybe this should win Ant's risk award purely because of it's gaul and smartassery. I really like GRISLY's approach to Ultra and it may be one of my favourites that I've seen. Out of all the sequels I've watched this year that required intimate knowledge I don't have of the original, GRISLY does the right thing by assuming you have no recollection whatsoever of Mr Bearly's previous adventures, and pulls no punches is making fun of itself, making fun of you, and making fun of the competition.

Tag, You're It

One of my favourites of the night. Beautifully filmed with a fun little story to boot. I'd love to see this one make the finals.

Dice to Meet You

How am I the first review here! I am honoured to be the city manager for this team/teams - I've never seen a School Team use the two-for-one deal to make essentially a ten minute film. Good on you guys.

The story set-up and some of the plot machinations are great here - I think the Dungeons & Dragons/Stranger Things route was a clever place to go, with some really resourceful green screen work when you get to the cult/cave.

I'm not sure if the VHS filter applied atop the film really added anything though - was this an 80s reference to Stanger Things? If so, Stranger Things itself doesn't use that filter, so I'm not sure why it was used here.

I also think some of these scenes are pretty inaudible with some of the loudest background sound I've ever heard, where essentially the sound of "nothing" was drowning out the dialogue - something to watch out for next time.

I absolutely loved your "Next Episode" button which played over the credits - genius, a really fun way to play with the heats,

Challenge for next year: Get that audio improved. Get your microphone as close to your subjects as possible without getting seen on camera, especially for scenes set outside.

The Second Coming of Draven

A really fun premise - very 48Hoursian in a good way - really funny and some great visual effects with the Draven/not Draven spirit..

Ultimately it feels like the premise doesn't take us anywhere beyond a quirky argument between the cult members and the ghost though, it could have been cool to see the situation escalate and maybe even visit some other locations, though at the same time I respect the creative decision to contain it.

Nice use of stock footage too.

Things you got right: The perfect kind of premise for this competition

Things to work on for next time: Upping the stakes and being a little more ambitious with your storytelling.

Wine and Die

An incredibly well shot film - a level of cinematography that is such high quality that it's probably the biggest strength this film has, and successfully masks some of the flaws. Everything from the lighting to the framing is 10/10, and the kinda stuff you see at the Grand Finals, let alone the city finals.

But, alas, Oomen Nature doesn't quite make it this year, and I think this comes down to a story which at times was a little too complicated, and at other times was a little too convenient.

I found myself quite confused over the four characters' relationships, and maybe it's just coz I have mild face blindness and couldn't remember which characters were married, which were related, which were cheating on each other and which were in business together. On top of this, the placid domestic scene felt like it didn't quite earn the murder premeditation which ripples through the story - Nor did I quite buy the adulterers would be so blatant in front of their spouses, nor did I quite buy that one character would confess to everything via a note dropped off IN PERSON, nor did I quite buy your (perhaps unintentionally comedic) ending in which a character just slips and falls on a knife.

I guess all of these notes are around the world you'd set up and how realistic it felt for these characters to behave in certain ways. Tonally it felt grounded, but the events felt like something from a game of Cluedo.

It feels like you'd landed on a good premise - two couples having dinner but there's a darkness bubbling below the surface - but then you crammed in every possible idea you could instead of just following up on one story thread, which is all you really have time for in five minutes.

Last note - I think it's pretty funny that both TheRealClose and Steelpotato praise your gatekeeper mention, because I'm with MistaTeas on this one, it felt like you had such a quintessential and clear example of a gatekeeper, that when the characters says "Who made you the Gatekeeper of punk?" the audiences who'd already sat through dozens and dozens of short films which used "gatekeeper" in their dialogue, could be audibly heard deflating. What it feels like is you weren't sure it'd be clear if this counted as gatekeeper, so you clarified in the dialogue, and I'm here to tell you that I am ready to believe whatever interpretation of the elements you have - you don't NEED to say it aloud.

Challenge for next year: Keep up this impeccable cinematography, but definitely focus on telling a simpler story. If you can tell a simple story with your expert camera work, you'll do so well in the competition.

The Sounds Of Earth

Super impressive animation, a deserving win for sound design, and a great premise which maaaaaybe doesn't stick the landing.

The quality of the animation alone here secures its place in the city finals, while there are noticeably some time saving tips and tricks here (the characters not having mouths, the objects MOSTLY consisting of simple shapes), the difference is that these shortcuts are completely justified by the story, and this is a tried and true technique in 48Hours whether you're animating or not - use your limitations to tell the story.

The story here is one that certainly starts out very compelling, I love the concept of using the golden record, I love the idea that humans are already wiped out - and I love the head-to-head the dad alien and the baby alien come to, where the baby wishes to save Hamish while the dad wants to destroy him.

It just feels like the solution here should have been a compromise that completes both character arcs, but really it looks more like the Dad alien just got his way - I think I was a little turned around by Hamish being a robot as well, I was half expecting the robot to reveal it was carrying a human baby named Hamish or something like that. I'm not here to spitball, suffice to say I just know that this team (person) is capable of some of my favourite endings in 48Hours history, and this time the other penny just didn't quite drop.

Things you got right: Fantastic animation, fantastic premise, fantastic sound design, an embracing of the elements that I love to see in the comp.

Things to work on for next time: The last thing you need Andrew is my advice, so I'll just say I look forward to your next entry :)

Pop goes the Weasel

A lot of really really quality stuff in this film. Great way to technically be a musical without really any music. As others have pointed out, the chainsaw clearly not actually going in most of the shots was glaringly obvious. If you were worried about safety, I would have filmed around it because having the sound was a great atmospheric addition but it was completely undermined. Camera work is very nice too, the close up of the 'monster' with his bloodied mouth was very cinematic. The story I think is where this film is let down, we start off in an intriguing place, but I wish the story had gone to more gripping places. I guess because we start with the bad guy already captured, that would have been difficult. As for your title, "Pop Goes the Weasel" is effective and creepy.

The Immortal

Maybe one of my favourite visual styles I've ever scene in the comp - something that is so rarely attempted.

The main shots of the characters out at sea is breathtaking, it looked amazing and completely beyond anything I would know how to achieve in 48!

The performances are really effective here too - though as others have said I think the talky nature of it slows the pacing down a lot. I think the problem is not so much that it's a conversation movie, but that the conversations goes for as long as it does. Some scene changes or action sequences would have really amped this up - though you already got DQ'd for being late so I can't imagine this would have changed your luck ahaha.

Sorry about the DQ, I long for the day I get to see a James Bradley film actually compete in the comp!

Things you got right: One of the coolest and most polished looking 48Hour films I've ever seen

Things to work on for next time: Pairing that beautiful visual style with a more compelling story. Also handing your film in on time!

Time Saver

A fantastic looking film which truly nailed the technical side of the competition more than most teams would have dreamed.

Unfortunately, this might be one of the most cut-and-dry cases of "Story is King" I've ever seen in the comp, because despite being technically very professional, myself and some of the judges found this film's plot to be pretty incomprehensible.

I have a vague idea of the story, but certainly nothing concrete, and the beautiful cinematography was severely undercut by a very unclear narrative. I get the basics, but this film required absolute investment in the characters for it to pop, and unfortunately I think it falls apart there.

A very promising team for the future though and I look forward to see what Pie Face can crank out in the future. With more of a focus on storytelling I think this team can go very far.

Things you got right: Impeccable cinematography, audio and production design

Things to work on for next time: A massive emphasis on clear and effective storytelling.

Roller

Absolutely incredible film, great characters, tight script and hilarious twists. PickleThugs could have not have wound up with a better genre than Comedy of Eras, and this feels like the film they were born to make. I absolutely loved Charlie Flowers in this film, Jared Tito played a very fun and very charming character and absolutely deserved the best actor award on the night. My favourite piece of storytelling in the film was the nice little full circle moment of the Thief getting hit by a car (driven by his buddy) and crippled after escaping his whole debacle. All your chekhov's guns were set up and fired wonderfully in the movie, which gives it this nice rounded complete feeling that too many 48 hour films lack. I'd love to say it was robbed of more awards on the night but the competition was truly fierce! That being said, I would expect it to make the National finals. Fingers crossed!

CUT

I'm so happy you guys made the city finals this year, especially after the absolute crime it was last year that you didn't make the CUT. The strongest part of this year is the lead character's performance. This basically carries the film, and in a competition where everyone is sick of Mockumentaries, you really need to make something that stands out, and I think Blaaaadeee Mazsspooorttt (spelling?) is an awesome and hilarious character. My favourite joke of the year is "You see that baby? ... It's not mine". The comedic timing on this is actually perfect and I crack up every time I watch this film. The split screen stuff is interesting, I enjoyed the meta joke about how hard it'll be to edit, and while I don't think this is a particularly impressive use of split screen, it's still an unobtrusive one - we aren't distracted by one screen over the other because it's basically the same information on both of them for most of the film - so nothing that really utilises Ultra in an interesting way, but something which doesn't ruin the audience's ability to follow the film. The one thing I'm not too clear on, and maybe this is just me, is the ending. I dunno if I just couldn't follow what was happening problem, but the whole final act in the darkness is a bit of a headscratcher for me. I don't understand the stakes, I don't understand the situation and I don't understand what happens to the soundy in the closing credits. This is a good thing and a bad thing, because when I recall this film, I think about all the great jokes, but I don't really think about its ending. Great job guys! TITLE REVIEW: I like CUT as a title which plays on lawn mowing and filmmaking, but I think there was maybe something a little more fitting for this film.

Saving Christmas

A hilarious Christmas film being exactly what it needed to be. The effects, the acting and the story may have fit better when combined with Z-Grade, but there's no rule against combining genres off your own volition! Looking forward to seeing more Toot Toot in the future.

Harpers

Damn the dialogue in this film was incredible, but a promising start to the film soon fell into the bizarre etherial underworld of shoddy editing and alienating comedic timing. The story of 3 fittingly-heavenly-creatures-esque girls trying to kill Peter Jackson is an awesome idea, if not a little too esoteric from a competition which year after year features dated social commentaries (seriously, so many ponytail tugs this year). If this film had been well edited and well shot it would have been finals level I reckon, but as it stands, a cool idea about mentally disturbed PJ killers actually ended up feeling a little TOO real, which is a bit concerning. The actors were great, and as I said I actually really liked the dialogue, especially in that opening scene where it sounds like they're talking about sex and virginity but it was actually about body mutilation. The Social Justice Warrior/Tumblr feminist elements were pretty accurate too, and I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.

Decision day

I agree with Kawiti, I think there's an insane idea in this film of just repeating the same sequences over and over again ad nauseam. As it stands, I think while there are clearly a lot of creative minds at work here, we fall into repetitiveness, with some strange green screen work and dull locations. I'm not sure I quite picked up the story either, so my advice would be to work on making sure what's happening in your film is clear. As for your title, not sure how "Decision Day" factors in.

Duck Off!

Absolutely hysterical. Very cathartic for this to be one of the last films we got to watch for the entire Christchurch competition. I love how much you guys don't care. A film like this is a touch too low fi to make the finals, but at the same time there's not much I would change about it. Loved how you straight up smashed a car, love the 'throwing' effects, loved the text messages and the near-kiss, and most of all I loved the quick "My namea jeff" you snuck in there. Fantastic stuff team, I eagerly await your film next year. You guys and "Aaron's Anal Lube Vacation" are ruling the "we don't give a shit and that's why our films are good" category. As for your title, "Duck Off!"... sure, it's great.

FU Finding Unicorns

I loved this film! Had it been a bit more technically competent, I think it would have made the shortlist for sure. The dialogue was so funny, loved the term "Corn" as Unicorn hunter jargon, and "More corn out here than on the cob" was fucking hilarious. My favourite part though, was when the toddler unicorn expert was asked if Unicorns like chocolate cake and she responds with an emphatic and bizarrely furious "NO!" I don't know why she was so offended by the concept of chocolate cake, but I actually had to pause the film when vetting it because I was laughing so hard. TITLE REVIEW: Very cheeky play on words. I like it.

Inflamed

I really love this film! It's so charming and quirky in a way that not a lot of other films in the competition are. A couple of people have pointed out to me that the film kind of feels like an Improv scene with heavy production value, and I caught on to this too (which isn't surprising considering the background of the team). It's pretty clear when you think about it, and it almost feels like a lot of what makes the film would be suggestions called out by audience members; "Can I get an occupation from the audience?" A Doctor! "What procedure am I performing?" An appendectomy! There's also the out-of-the-blue Scottish accen and the wacky ending with the silly, yet earnest, song, and while some may see this as a detractor, I actually have no issue with this being Team Moon's style, it's a cool exercise to see what Scared Scriptless would look like if the audience didn't have to use their imagination for the production design (which incidentally, you won the award for!). Your film last year was almost certainly an improvised scene anyway, so it's actually really satisfying to see a fully realised version of that this year, and I look forward to what Team Moon can give us in the future. One aspect I think really shines in this film is the cinematography - the slightly saturated lighting and almost fish eye lens close-ups are super effective at making this film stand out, it kind of feels like we're watching a cartoon or, and this is slightly more of a deep-cut, one of those wacky Saturday morning Educational kids shows from the 90s like Bill Nye the Sciece Guy, or Beakman's World? Those show's always went so wild with their close ups, and I really felt that in this film. The performances from everyone are great (for some reason my favourite line is when Emma says "Okay, cool, thank you nurse", it's said with such conviction and self-seriousness, I dunno I just find it really funny), and that story has got clear structure with a super hilarious resolve. My only real issue with the film is that the Doctor and the Appendix seem to go from enemies to friends very quickly, it almost feels like there was a couple of minutes missing from the middle of the film to make their budding friendship feel a little more organic, but hey, that's the 5-minute duration for ya. I think this is a solid short film, and one that could stand outside the competition easily. I would subscribe to a youtube channel of high quality short films which focuses on polished versions of improv style storytelling. TITLE REVIEW: INFLAMED is perfect. See you guys next year.

The Ballad of Kiwi Kate

The highlight of this film is definitely the titular ballad which was really well performed and kept us moving through the story. Having a recently killed cowboy sing it was really cool too, if not a little "inspired" by The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

I think the opening locations were cool, and really felt like we were in the old west, but soon enough it feels like this attention to detail was dropped, and Kiwi Kate herself was introduced in a way that felt like it was from a film with less of a keener eye for locations.

Some good gags, but ultimately felt a lot of the jokes fell flat - especially naming the horse Jacinda. I'm not even coming at this from a political view, it just felt like a pretty meanspirited joke that didn't work for me.

Some odd choices here as well when it comes to superimposing words on the screen, the Tinder sign and the Made in Australia logo were both clearly added in post despite both being very easy practical things you could make in real life. Maybe that was the joke?

Things you got right: A well told story with inconsistent but good-when-it's-good costume design and art direction, a catchy ballad.

Things to work on for next time: A more compelling story, dedication to the authenticity - especially with matching that first location.

Banana Chick and Cat Girl

When I heard that TBALC was splitting off into multiple teams this year, I was very excited, and Team Moon was one of my most anticipated films, knowing nothing about it. Suffice to say... "Banana Chick and Cat Girl" is not what I expected. It's had an interesting response depending on the audience. Having been in 48hours for so long, and knowing the players on screen, and knowing Scared Scriptless, I found myself really enjoying the film- complete with unabashed "telling not showing" and inside jokes. My mum, who vetted a lot of the films with me, was utterly lost and confused. Had it not been for the clout of the members attached to this team, I don't think I would have given it a second glance (there was a time when this film had made it on to a longer shortlist, but it didn't seem fair to include it over other films which played the game more sincerely). The film plays to its strengths, and it is an interesting idea to see a bunch of improv artists improv their way through an entire short film- which is such a succinct idea I wouldn't be surprised if this was genuinely always the plan. It's generally accepted that the film we all got was not the intended film initially, and this would make sense- particularly with the oddly genre-specific team intro. I'm really interested to know what went wrong, and how you all landed on the decision to make what you made (which looks like it was made Saturday night). As for your title, "Banana Chick and Cat Girl" certainly delivers on what it promises.

The Kids Next Door

Awesome film, was very impressed, particularly with the acting of every person involved, they all felt extremely real and true-to-life. I can't decide whether or not I liked the use of Bobby being an ex bully(a throw-away line during his revenge set up where Bobby mentions to himself that he used to be a bully in school). It was original but at the same time felt a little desperate. But it was still very enjoyable to watch, and I hope that I can make films like this one day.

Perceived.

A really fantastic premise here, which resulted in some great visual gags, though feels like it struggled into developing its world into a full fledged story.

I loved seeing all the beach towels and stuff, and the scene where the hero saves the person from drowning was great, I genuinely was able to buy in and believe these were all invisible people.

As other have said, when we do move past the mini sketches used to set up the world, the rest of the story does feel kinda creepy, which is a shame because I think something really cool could have been found, love story or not, in this concept.

Things you got right: A genuinely fresh idea using the compulsory elements, and some A-grade world building scenes

Thing to work on for next time: Creating a story within an established world that works on an emotional level.

No Woman No Cry

What Steelpotato said: The technical proficiency of this film is astonishing, the camerawork, the lighting, the editing, it's all exceptional. The acting is great too, nice minimal conversation work coupled with some existential musings.

Story wise, I would have probably preferred if this film mixed the conversation stuff with the existential stuff a little more organically, because it does feel like two films working together. I didn't really like the party flashbacks (these sets looked a bit underdressed, and I'm not sure if seeing the characters meet added anything the plot when their romantic chemistry in the car was so good), and perhaps beginning the film at the grave and through to the underworld, with the car stuff itself being flashbacks, would have made a more tonally consistent piece (and probably would have made your film ~45 seconds shorter - what a horrible reason to get DQ'd, I'm so sorry gang).

Another aspect that would have improved the story as well - I'm not sure if we're presented with particularly effective stakes here - the protagonist is offered a chance to be with his lost love in the afterlife and he takes it. If this is the route to go, then it would have been good to see what he has to lose by crossing over. Does he have family? Friends? Maybe even a new love, or children? These things would have made his decision a lot more complex, and who knows, maybe the more narratively satisfying ending here would have been him rejecting death's offer. Maybe his lost love would want him to live a full life?

These are all ultimately "I've thought about the story too much nitpicks" which are all irrelevant because this film is great and had it not been DQ'd would have easily been a Christchurch finalist.

Challenge for next year: Repeat the magic you captured for this film, make a beautiful slick looking short with a compelling story, and make sure it's under 5 minutes. You'll be in the finals next year, I'm sure.

Make Time

This was the THIRD time traveling puddle movie we got this year, and like the other 2, the actual time travel element is only clear because of the genre (although this one was probably the most clear). A lot of the story in this film was kind of unclear, and as other have said, I know from the credits that there's a future mother character though I'm still unsure on how the timelines work here. My biggest note would be I'd like to see this team challenge themselves a bit more next year- this film is well edited but not a lot of locations and I would have liked a more exciting adventure. As for your title, "Make Time" is great- relates to both the time travel genre and the distant mother. Nice.

D.O.C Force: Death Island

Following this film, from inception to it taking out 2nd place has been a ride. Is D.O.C Force: Death Island the most controversial film in Christchurch 48 Hours 2019? It scored so highly with the judges and yet the reviews have been somewhat mixed. Well first of all, I don't think anyone is questioning the quality of the film as a city finalist. The production here is so slick, from the visual aesthetic, to the location, to the acting, to the directing, to the music and that amazing song. The effort here is top notch, everything feels like it fits, and I think it was especially deserving of the best original song award (I re-listened to it when deliberating and was so on board, Jeff belting out those pitch perfect 80s vocals is incredible), as well as the Outstanding Female Filmmaker for Vanessa, who did so much more than just directing (capturing the style of 80s serial cop dramas so well all, I assume, comes down to her), and it's pretty cool to see TBALC finally grab that award which I know they've been chasing for so long. I do, though, agree with Rowan, I think this film was missing a couple extra minutes from the end, and this is one of the year's prime examples of a film missing its third act. I think I'd have liked an extended and more creative final battle with the bunny. Could you have focused more on this and sacrificed Laura's monologue in the earlier scene? Would it have been worth it? It's hard to say, but I guess what I'm saying is I wasn't overly jazzed with the storyline and how it all ended up playing out. This is especially frustrating, because the story is often one of TBALC's strongest aspects, and while it'd be easy to say a film paying homage to an 80s tv show doesn't need an especially good story, I actually disagree with that and think more could have been done here. Also, personally, and I wouldn't tell you this if I hadn't expressed my adoration for the team a hundred times before, I wasn't really all that into the central "joke" of the film. As I said, it's pulled off perfectly and I can recognise and appreciate that, but doing the whole 80s visual throwback with the cheesy caricatures is something I think was mastered with the trailer for KUNG FURY, and then subsequently overdone with the feature length version of KUNG FURY. This is totally 100% just my personal tastes, and clearly it resonated with the other judges more than me and I think maybe, as the youngest judge, this might just be a demographic thing. I wasn't alive in the 80s, baby! Do a 90s kid film next year and maybe only I will get it. This film wasn't my personal pick for runner-up, but that's okay, and if anything speaks to the power and necessity of the judging panel. Still, for what it's worth (if my opinion is worth anything), I think I preferred THE SPARES as an overall package. TITLE REVIEW: D.O.C FORCE: DEATH ISLAND, like ROZKOL (SCHISM) was such a pain in the ass to have to write down so many times, and that's not even taking into account the mix up with the title which is still happening, even on this website, despite being changed in the back end. But all of that aside, it's a good title and fits the film.

H2O

Cool ideas. Really creative set and props but the story could have probably used a bit of a self-aware sense of humour to forgive the shoestring budget cardboard feel. The story is okay, clearly borrowing from a few modern sci-fi films like Interstellar, but the visual look is far more the winner of the day as opposed to any sort of clever plot. I can tell you guys had a lot of fun making this film, and with such a small crew, all power to Ya. As I said, my only note would to be to incorporate a bit of comedy should you attempt something as ambitious as this in the future. Well done!

Raspberry & Cola

Not a lot to say here that hasn't already been said - I think the premise is really strong, and really intriguing and the decision to make the subtext your "something invisible" is actually pretty intriguing if a little lofty hahah.

That loftiness could have paid off big though, watching a relationship go through difficulties and change and redemption without either character EVER saying what's actually the matter is great, I just wish more stuff got to happen here. It's essentially all combined to two scenes, and I think maybe if they were doing something else, some kind of activity which was in some way a race against time itself (maybe it's supposed to rain soon? Maybe they've gotta get the ice cream home before it melts?) then i think it would have given this story the narrative spine it's so desperately needing.

Great performances too.

Things you got right: A well acted story which brushes with a very fascinating storytelling format

Things to work on for next time: Applying that format to a more structurally sound story,

Catman and Robyn

This is a really sweet and simple film with a nice story and some really good performances. It's a very on-brand follow-up to CUSHY: A PULL STORY, it's even shot pretty similarly, and the concepts feel like they'd come from the same storytelling mind. This is an easy film to like, it isn't groundbreaking or anything but there's a quirky wholesomeness which you don't see very often in 48Hours anymore. It's almost a throwback to the type of films that would crop up often in ~2010. My favourite bit is the stern look Robyn gives Catman as he's about to know the vase off the table. I've been given that look before. Congratulations on winning the Overhead shot too! When it came down to deliberation, we all felt this shot was a really beautiful snapshot/symbol for the film. If I were to give you any advice going ahead, I'd say I'd like to see something with higher stakes next time. But maybe you're just a low key kinda team, and there is absolutely a place for that in the competition. TITLE REVIEW: A great pun, and a great twist on it as the credits roll.

Trap

One of the most original takes I've seen on the Cat & Mouse genre, yet somehow such an obvious and simple approach. TRAP is great from beginning to end, and doesn't outstay its welcome. I could see it getting into the city finals, though I wonder if the POV approach with the camera movement could be seen as low quality work, which this film definitely was not. It's a yes from me, but we'll have to wait for the judge's call.

The Stile

Very cool. Definitely the all around best film Everything Sticks has ever produced, which is great to see a measurable increase in quality. This was very close to making the finals, and as I've pointed out in reviews for other films from the shortlist that didn't make the cut, it's not so much an indictment on your film as it is a statement about just how bloody good the top 15 are this year. The cinematography was what stuck out to me the most, some really nice work here with great wide shots and almost intrusive close ups which phase in and out of focus like some kind of dream. The concept of this film also really hit me- a very dark and heavy interpretation of the Star-Crossed Lovers genre, and not one I was expecting- though I'm not sure if unrequited love quite fits the brief, as death does not love the girl back, or at least not yet. There are a couple of story beats I didn't quite understand or follow, but I kind of don't mind this as it plays into the fever dreamy nature of it all. The acting from the lead is really good and really committed. As others have pointed out, I'm not sure how I feel about the Death character being so clearly a child, but a good decision to not actually see the character in focus. I guess this would have also been a symptom of doing Ultra, as both characters are under 18- although isn't Death technically immortal? Or is he outside of age, neither qualifying for ultra nor disqualifying this film from Ultra? On the subject of Ultra, while I like that this film shows the dynamic nature of the Ultra rule this year in that the characters are under 18 and this didn't horribly impede the film, it doesn't exactly embrace it either, as both characters could have been played by adults and it would have been more or less the same. This isn't so much a wrap on the knuckles, I just would have been interested to see what Everything Sticks could pull off by trying to tell a child's story. As for your title, I didn't actually know what a stile was, but now that I do I can see how it fits. Or how it sticks. Everything sticks. Everything's sticks.

Smiling

Shen - I think this might be one of the worst 48Hour films I've ever seen and I truly mean this as a compliment hahhahahahah.
Incidentally appearing towards the end of the heats, this is exactly the kind of baffling mind-boggling fever dream that really enhances the insane maddening nature of the competition.
I'm left with so many questions - what's actually happening? who are these people? How long did it actually take you to make this?

A couple years ago I reviewed your film and mentioned I wanted to see you get back to embracing the Z-Grade nature of your 2017 finalist, a film which is no more technically impressive than this one, but embraced that amateur nature in all the best ways. Since then it seems like you've struggled to get back to that place, and I can't say you're any closer with this one ahhaah. But keep orbiting, and keep getting weirder because what you lack in technical prowess, you make up for in absurdity, you've just gotta tip those scales once again.

Things you got right: It's undeniably a creator's vision, it looks like you had a lot of fun
Things to work on for next time: Finding the balance between bad and so-bad-it's-good.

Finest Creation

I really liked the idea that this film brought to the table. An Alzheimer's patient who only communicates through puppets is a great concept, and it could have gone in a lot of ways. In the end though, I feel as though FINEST CREATION kind of stays put in the middle line, and doesn't venture to either the extreme silliness of the wacky puppet genre, nor the soul crushing tragedy of the subject matter. I would have liked to have seen Sarah enter a more goofy phase to try and communicate with her father, forcing herself to let go of her inhibitions and completely absorb herself in her puppet character, with a silly voice and everything, which is something I thought was being hinted at by the carer's initial puppet performance. Also, seeing as hugs don't actually cure Alzheimer's, it may have been a more appropriate moment of closure for Sarah to decide to come see her Father again now that she has a way to talk to him, instead of the melancholy reveal the film does end us on. Sorry! I know it's lame to have someone rewrite your story for you when you didn't even ask, but I just thought I'd send in my two cents. In the end, you guys made the Auckland final so you're already doing better than me, and I probably don't even know what I'm talking about.

Sound Sleep

"Sound Sleep" was incredible! The post-finals time of year is bitter sweet, because you get to see some of the best films the competition has to offer but it's sad knowing their journey has probably stopped here. Slick cinematography, awesome acting, and a really haunting reveal. As it begins, the dreamlike atmosphere is a little confusing, but not in a 'stop watching' kind of way, more intriguing and wanting to see it through, wanting to see what the sound was. I loved the informercial scene as well, delightfully creepy. One of the better films I've seen this year, but this level of quality is to be expected from Traces of Nut.

My Dumpling

There's a lot to love about MY DUMPLING - and while almost all of its shortcomings can be explained as "it feels a bit unfinished", there is plenty of stuff to dig into here.

I loved this premise. As someone above has stated, this could probably be a feature film idea, and I think the set up of a bunch of friends stealing a coffin from a funeral because they hate the dead man's lover, is exactly the kind of crass and morally dubious shit that I personally LOVE in comedies. Great interpretation of Comedy-of-Errors.

We open on a pretty incredible birds eye view shot too - but in what ended up being one of this film's biggest set-backs, these gorgeous overhead drone shots which recur throughout, spoil us because they then cut to some very under-graded footage - such a bummer because I think this film would pop if it were graded as well as those shots.

Some dodgy sound mixing as well, including some very loud characters, and while I love the development of the coffin burning up, it certainly doesn't look like much of a fire took place when they return to where it was left - some dirtying up the grass or even some post-production flame would have sold this a little better.

I do love that the ashes end up in a KFC box though, and I think it provides such a great landscape to boast this film's true secret weapon, it's incredible characters, and their hilarious chemistry.

I'm really gutted this film falls short because these quirky fun comedies are the type of film the competition needs more of - I just think you maybe needed to give it a little more time in the edit booth to smooth out some edges.

Challenge for next year: A couple more hours in the edit bay would have sharpened this up, and yes, this is unhelpful advice for a competition with a time limit, but what this actually means is next year, try get to your edit a little earlier. Or have multiple editors working on different parts of the film!

Treble in Paradise

Cementing their streak as the team to make the city finals the most years in a row, Dragon V Mouse are back with a film which boasts their reliable strengths and their daring ability to try something new.

TREBLE IN PARADISE is, quite easily, the best traditional musical in the competition this year, which is funny considering that the plot itself is a rather unique approach to the genre, diving headfirst into the administrative backend of a Personal Musical app, creating a rare 48Hours musical that could ONLY BE a musical, and not just a story with music dropped on top.

That music in question is great as well, especially the award winning NO MONEY rap, which, while initially I found a bit odd that musical logic exists in real life outside of those using the app*, is such a powerful adrenaline pumping
performance it sets whatever room or theatre its playing in on fire every time. The other two songs are also great - especially the finale, maybe a little let down by some undercooked vocals from the actors (though, considering they're users of this strange app, it could be argued this is intentional).

*Oi what if after the NO MONEY rap we zoom out to see they're ALSO using the app and the boss is like "See it's not really working for me either"?

A couple areas in which this film could have been improved would be the colour grade, which looked a little flat. Some deeper shadows and highlights would have really made the film's dynamic range pop, and added some dimensionality and texture to the image.

In a more narrative sense as well, the world building in the film is effective, but focuses almost solely on the big picture, and world building is often made more convincing by the small things. For example, could we have seen other customers using the app to varying degrees of failure? Do the couple need to be shown trying and failing to write their own music after the app is canceled in an attempt to save their relationship? Was the app once more popular than it is now? I think alluding to some of these finer details would have fleshed out the world in a really fun way.

Ultimately though, the final film is one which is dripping in style and flavour and one of the more recognisable directorial voices in the competition. Dragon V Mouse is a team everyone loves because it's always so exciting to see how they tackle different genres year to year.

In general, TREBLE IN PARADISE is a great case study for watching a 48Hours team evolve and grow and change based on interpersonal feedback and the desire from the filmmakers to tell new and interesting stories - finding their style in sarcastic/deconstructive narratives before moving into telling more human stories, TREBLE IN PARADISE could be seen as a marriage of the Dragon V Mouse of old and the Dragon v Mouse of today. The flash red hot subversion of a dragon, and the quiet sincerity of a mouse.

This film should have been titled MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL.

Challenge for next year: Every year you're improving on all fronts, so I'll say this, keep drilling into your cinematography. You've graduated to using better cameras, and that's great, but have a crack at some more subjective filmmaking, deeper colour and interesting shot composition (which you are already dabbling in anyway). Take it or leave it, but could you go whole hog into visual story telling and next year do a SILENT FILM that is still unmistakably imbued with your style and flourish?

Carparking through the Multiverse

Crazy times in the carpark!
What an interesting film and team this is - enough technical know-how to know that ADR is probably the way to go, and yet it was so poorly synched to the action that it completely transforms the film.

This is a weird film, but the good kind of weird.

I really enjoy the premise, and I think it's quite an original take on the multiverse, however we're given VERY brief peeks into these other universes, and the ones we do see seem to be negligibly different to our universe (or at least the universe the main characters are from, I'm not sure if it's ours).

I think a big way to improve the story could have been to really focus on making some cool distinct alternate universes - not just with the character costumes, but how much could dress up that parking lot to look like, say, a forest? Or a winter tundra? I think even if this all looked scrappy, it would have made your film even more charming.

Silly but fun characters. Good work on giving these characters an emotional pay off, and the last baffling line of the whole film is pretty funny too.

Challenge for next year: I think if you can build this sense of humour into a film that is more technically up to snuff, you could be a fierce team in the comp.

You'll Understand When You're Older

A super charming school team film that I really enjoyed! The acting is great, the story is great, the mood lighting was awesome and the costumes really tickled me pink.

I am obliged to tell you, as I've told every other team guilty of this, that the complete oversaturation of films this year set in boring white-walled houses nearly drove me mad, and while you guys did this too, I was maybe so won-over by the characters wearing colanders as helmets that I turned a blind eye.

I think what sets this school team apart as well, is you've got a real great handle on emotional storytelling - the characters are set up and learn a lesson by the end after a trial-by-fire of a real haunting.

The shot where they exit the scary room and the guy who owns the house has a big gaping grin/scream, a genuinely chilling image. Scary stuff which feels inspired by some modern horror.

There's a great Ghostbusters/Scooby Doo vibe to this film and I'm excited to see what you pull off next.

Challenge for next year: Beyond just getting more technically proficient, I'd say the one criticism I had was that it took a couple watches for me to full take in the story, so work on making sure your dramatic ideas are coherent (this doesn't mean over-explain them, find the sweet spot in the middle).

Last Day for Stan

A really good performance from Stan, great opening, highlight was Stan's expression while hugging the girl from his office. This film is everything it needs to be aside from the continuity errors, but my advice for next year would be try tell a story with higher stakes- I know Stan is under threat of being executed by his galactic overlord, but it would have been nice is this tension was felt in the character's performance because he didn't seem to care too much. As for your title, "Last Day for Stan" is perfectly fine, nothing outstanding.

You Ready For Space?

If Planet Fox Films don't make it into the city finals at least once in the next year or so, I will eat my hat. I watched this film after seeing two hilarious exerpts in the nominations during the city finals, and "No I don't want to go space Malcolm!" was such an intensely funny line, I knew I had to check it out. Great performances in this little movie, with the self aware young actors on the edge of cracking up at their own absurdity absolutely adding to the charm of the film. Keep it up guys, I'll definitely be keeping my eye on you for future films.

Exam in Session

Awesome opening moments of this film, high production value, good camera work, teenagers playing teenagers and an adult playing an adult - all of these things are delightful to see in a school team. Putting the gum on the sign that doubles as the title card - very classy.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film struggles to live up to this strong opening, and it all comes down to the team's approach to musical, a genre I suspect ya'll weren't ready for.

I think the concept really lends itself to a musical - 3 different students expressing their exam time woes through song - but the execution of these songs is underwhelming at best, and rhythmically mind numbing at worst. I'm no musician, but it feels as though the lyrics, the vocals and the musical accompaniment were devised or selected separately from one another; the vocals speed up and slow down to match the lyrics, the music has a completely different beat to the singing - and the singing itself sounds oddly reserved, like you recorded them late at night in the computer room and didn't want to wake your sleeping parents next door.

Again, this film has a lot to offer structurally in terms of musical, but the same thorough filmmaking that applied to the concept and opening shots, melted away after the poorly mixed songs arrived. We also don't progress through these songs in a way that would add to the tension, I'd have loved to see the songs ramp up with excitement with each one, and possibly land us on a cool final story beat.

So a bit of a mixed bag - some great ideas and some great execution, but not-so-great execution when it came to the music.

Challenge for next year: Keep having teenagers play teenagers, keep telling stories which express the teenage experience - all of that stuff is great and I highly encourage it.

Thirsty

I absolutely loved your film last year, "AvacaDon't" was a welcome addition to the Chch finals, and I was looking forward to seeing what you had up your sleeves this year, and while it didn't quite cut the top 15, I still really liked it. I really respect the message behind the film, the critique of the 'nice guy' attitude is one that I really enjoy seeing depicted in media. I did feel though, that this message was a little on the nose, with the main character being a bit of a strawman- I've known a few friendzoners before, and most of them are more apathetic losers who complain about their situations than venomous assholes who are so concisely constructed to be clearly in the wrong. But hey, maybe you've met different people to me. The cast in this film are all really good, some great performances, though once again some of the lines of dialogue which relate directly to this films thesis were a bit too much. I also really appreciated the different locations we go to in this film- however the school dance at the end, while strategically shot, did seem a little absent. One of the judges mentioned to me that they felt the film followed the wrong character, and to extrapolate MistaTeas's comment, I think there is something to this idea- maybe a film which followed the 'nice guy''s latest crush would have been more effective. We watch as she follows along with his toxic behaviour, believing he's the monster from the genre, only to reveal at the end that she's a monster and she eats him? As for your title, "Thirsty" is great, especially when we know it's a monster movie.

I want to be a cowboy

I agree with Steelpotato - let's do away with getting-out-of-bed montages unless absolutely necessary!

Beyond this though, while the story is a little too bare-bones for my taste, the cinematography is breathtaking and lends itself so well to a western. I desperately wanted more story to accompany these shots, just as much as you wanted to be a cowboy.

The animated Gatekeeper appearing in the middle of the road? That might be the single most baffling creative decision I've seen in the competition all year - what the hell is going on here? Who is that guy!

Challenge for next year: I'd love to see a stronger story coupled with your excellent cinematography!

Time Terminal

I'm of two minds about this film. On the one hand, the attention to detail in continuity is spectacular, the costumes, the lighting, the make up, all make it truly feel like this sequel takes place only moments after the original, and the way the story continues, it almost seems like Chillybox always intended to make both films, as they compliment each other quite nicely. However, I can't help shake the feeling that I would have liked to have seen Chillybox do a completely new movie, and while TIME TERMINAL carries on seamlessly from TIME TRAVEL CENTER, it isn't necessarily a story I wanted to see carried on. To me, this is perhaps one of the first big victims of Ultra, as it seemed like the writing process was funneled into making the sequel as opposed to exploring new stories. I love Chillybox, CLEAN GETAWAY is one of my favs of all time, but for me, this is a very well made, though ultimately unnecessary sequel.

Bookcase: The Seaquel

Next to Pickle Thugs opting for a spin-off approach to Ultra, Prime Rib going for a heartfelt nostalgic feel might be the best use of Ultra I've seen so far. I haven't seen the original BOOKCASE, but all I needed to know was that ten or so years ago, Prime Rib had a lot of fun during a weekend where they shot a 240p film with baby faced actors. From "I love books", we smash cut to a glorious 4k "I still do" all these years later, and we follow on into an amazing location with beautiful shots and hilarious characters. The story was good for the most part, though in comparing it to last year's GHOSTFISH (one of my all time favs), I don't think the concept or script was as airtight, and while I wouldn't say it ever lost me, I certainly didn't find it as gripping. Still, a sure fire for the city/National finals, with a good chance of taking out the ultimate award, and one of my top picks for the Ultra award as well.

Stopping World War II

This is one of the ballsiest, silliest, funniest 48hour films I've ever seen, and I've never seen anything else like it in the competition, except maybe Toot Toot's film last year. Every moment of this film is hilarious, the team intro which I very nearly veto'd the judging process to award with the winner, the off-the cuff attitudes in which the characters at the beginning talk about time travel, the struggle to reach 50kmph (because 50 is fine, dw about 88), and then of course we travel to one of the coolest utilisations of a film and an audience I've ever seen. Last year Toot Toot blew me away with their hilarious meta commentary (I will never, EVER forget that jandals-slapping-the-puddle cutaway, or the Slamming-the-Doors joke), and this year is absolutely achieving that same standard. This is the first 48hour film I've ever seen which transcends being a film and starts being an interactive experience, which is something that was as wonderful for the audience to experience as it would have been for the filmmakers to witness while watching it in a theatre. Best use of wind, for sure. Again, any misgivings or criticisms I have of this film (and none actually come to mind) are instantly invalidated by the fact that this film achieves exactly what it's trying to do and trying to be. Long live Toot Toot! TITLE REVIEW: STOPPING WORLD WAR II is such a gripping Toot Tootian title, and I love that the film has basically nothing to do with this concept after the first scene.

A Quack's Journey

Foreign Objects return to 48hours to breathe life into my cold, dead soul.

With absolute love and adoration, ya'll are my fav "best bad" team, and even though, as evidenced by your meta commentaries in previous films, you seem very aware of this, you haven't let knowing why your films work take away what's so special about them.

A QUACK'S JOURNEY is just as bizarrely told, woodenly performed, and deafeningly loud as ever, and it's perfect in every way.

What sets this team apart from other "low-fi" teams is how clear and concise the storytelling is. Overly simple? Sure. Contrived? At times. Nonsensical? Always! But at the end of the day, I'm very clearly told as an audience member that this scene takes place in Antarctica despite it just being a snowless Christchurch park, or that the invisibility potion has caused the lotto ticket to disappear - and both of these are examples that I could easily see a less experienced team not communicating clearly enough and leaving audiences confused.

Beyond that, I loved the story, the twists and turns, and the reveal of the ticket post-guinea pig pee - a great little practical way to achieve that effect. Fantastic ending too, a genuinely good joke.

Things you got right: A hilarious well told story which dips into the weird and strange with poise and grace.

Things to work on for next time: Honestly just keep doing what you're doing. Don't lose the magic.

Timeslingers

Wow, what an awesome interpretation of the Time Travel genre, utilising the fact you're a team of 12-year-olds by making age-regression a glitch in the time travelling mechanism is actually genius. The costumes and special effects are all awesome. The story was maybe a little undercooked and I'm not sure where it ended up in the middle but ending it with them turning into babies was hilarious. I'd watch a weekly TV show about two time travellers who constantly change age whenever they sling. TITLE REVIEW: Timeslingers is great, a nice pulpy scifi feel.

Thirteen

I can't decide whether or not I like the way you guys manipulated Coming-of-Age as a genre. I do love a good sentimental coming-of-age dramedy, so I was personally a little disappointed to the see this more sci-fi kind of approach. I also think the performances didn't quite sell the film's reality. The imagery is all very cool, but I don't think the script was compelling enough to accommodate the location or cinematography. The great thing about Coming-of-Age is that it can very easily be a low-fi low-budget kind of film. I think it can be important to write a story within the box of your own life experience, and as it stands I found the writing in this film somewhat unconvincing. TITLE REVIEW: Thirteen is a tried and true Coming-of-Age buzzy title. good job.

STARSEED

Very weird. Taking a risk? Art direction was great. Costume design was great. I'm not necessarily adversed to these weird surreal films, but I think they're enhanced greatly by a clear story arc, which this didn't quite have.

The Marquis de Sade

To echo Nimble, I find this film very hard to review, but potentially for more personal reasons than just it's divisive nature. It's no secret that I consider you guys at Strang Entertainment to be one of the best teams Christchurch has to offer, and historically underrated with films like "True" and "Pandora's Night: Deleted Scenes" deserving far more acclaim than they got. Now, the issues with "The Marquis de Sade" have nothing to do with it not being my favourite kind of Strang film (the format destroying/DVD menu series), though it is an interesting case when comparing it to those, and understanding the style and angle this film is coming from. What I love about those Strang films, especially "Pandora's Night" is that it emphasizes the idea that story is NOT king. Strang always have way more emphasis on the other areas on filmmaking and in some cases, the absence of story IS the story. As a 'filmmaker' who basically lives and dies by whether or not their own story is good, I found myself learning a lot about all the things you can do and rules you can break with Strang films. All this stuff is here in "The Marquis de Sade", which foregoes story for atmosphere and horror. I think the problem here is there is no deliciously cheeky format subversion here to accommodate the lack of story, and so there isn't much else to grab on to. Of course this is all assuming there is no story to this film, and maybe I'm wrong in that. Maybe there is a story and it just went over my head, but if that's the case it also went over all of the other judge's heads and a lot of the fellow reviewers on here, and in a year where we had such a consistent high standard of film, it didn't make much sense to include this one in the top 15 over others which were more immediately accessible. Maybe that means we're all uncultured idiots, and if that's the case, then I can't wait for Rowan to chew my ear off for years to come with what this film actually is saying, and what it is actually about. As it stands for me, all I see with "The Marquis de Sade" is a series of events where a guy is abducted, beaten and bruised, and finally put on display as a trophy at a creepy party. There is no closure to this, there are no developments in the story, there is only a descent. To attempt to illustrate what I mean, at the beginning of the film, we see the protagonist struggling with his zipper on his shirt before he gets abducted. Later on in the film he's zipped up in a gimp suit, and watching this for the first time I was waiting for the twist or the "aha!" moment where he manages to undo the zips some how and escapes- essentially telling us a morbid personal journey of a character who eventually succeeds his goal of fixing his zipper. I'm not saying I think this is that great of an idea, I'm simply trying explain the hook that this film was missing. I feel like I can say all this as both a huge fan and a close friend of Strang Entertainment; because nothing about this film should make you think you aren't good enough to get back up to the top again next year- I mean you've made it relatively consistently over the past decade, and shit dude a film like "The Marquis de Sade" could have easily made the finals in a year without such a crazily high standard of films. So if nothing else consider that it wasn't that your film was bad, but everyone was on top of their game this year. Going forward I'd encourage you guys by all means to keep trying stuff like this- "The Intervention" is the gold standard for your team's narrative work. "The Marquis de Sade" is an experience, but not as much of a story as I was hoping. As for your title, I really like "The Marquis de Sade", I didn't really know what it meant before I looked it up, so it's got a great spooky vibe to it. May even be your best title yet.

Circle Circuit

A lot of ideas in this film, but I'm not sure any were fully fleshed out. The concept of stoners time travelling is a great one though, but would have loved to have seen them actually travel to other eras, and seen what shenanigans they could get up to. TITLE REVIEW: Circle Circuit... Hmm because of the That 70's Show circle? and the Circuit? I mean, it works!

Promotion Road

It took me a couple of watches to full understand the situation, I didn't pick up on the whole "boss invites everyone around" thing initially. Not that any of that matters, because clearly this film's strength is in how disgusting it is. As the person responsible for suggesting Gross Out as a genre this year, this film is exactly what I had in mind. I laughed so hard, and I loved how effective it was, with the whole audience in hysterics/gagging. The zenith of Gross Out is seeing someone vomit on someone else's shit. Fuck dude. So gross. So good. The story structure, while nothing revolutionary, was still really effective here, and I think this shows that Foreign Objects have a good grasp on how to tell a story, whether their production value catches up to them or not. You guys look like you have so much fun making 48hour films, please never stop. TITLE REVIEW: Promotion Road seems a little innocuous for such a visceral film, but maybe that's the point? Lull us into a false sense of security?

The Impotence of Hard Times

The Eh Team once again give us astonishingly breathtaking cinematography and performances from two of the most hilarious 48ers. I look forward to The Eh Team every year to see what new ways Dan and Hamish will make me laugh. The make-up on Hamish is hilarious in this film, as is Dan's lowly protagonist. That being said, I do feel like the story was somewhat lacking this year, which was a similar complaint to last year's Eh Team entry. I only call this out because I've seen past Eh Team films wow me away with the storyline (Day 6 is awesome). I think the basic plot of The Impotence of Hard Times is great, a story about erectile disfunction can go anywhere, but the execution leaves something to be desired. Editing felt a little shoddy this year too, as the transitions between certain scenes were a bit awkward or out of place. But at the end of the day, The Eh Team are still one of the only teams to consistently deliver entertaining pieces year after year, and I can't wait to see what's next. Well done!

Castle Cat-burglars

A whole bunch of awesome stuff in this film - from the castle to the knight in an actual suit of armour - I never want to learn your secrets, Musketeers.

The invisibility stuff was great too, though Idk if that's a secret I think I can probably work out how you did that one.

The story could have used a little more work - with all the elements at your disposal I think it could have been a little more grand scale.

You audio was also extremely quiet - might need to check on that sort of thing next time.

I've really enjoyed watching the Musketeers get better each year, and I think I'll probably see you in the finals one day.

Things you got right: Awesome production values, a great location, props, costumes and effects.

Things to work on for next time: A story that breaks expectation and gets bigger and better - and also better/louder audio!

High Note High

Good LORD the choreography and camerawork on that opening song was incredible, it was top shelf quality, it was a classroom that was actually full, and the actors all confidently delivered their lines. After that though, our story does kinda just fall flat, and we never really jump back into a musical number as strong as the beginning. I found myself picking a few holes in the plot too, mainly that it's a singing based high school (the best one around in fact) and yet it still has normal subjects? I was also let down by the main character's best friend turning on him for seemingly no reason, he's such a supportive guy in the beginning, but then he tells him he doesn't want to be seen with him anymore after that "stunt" he pulled yesterday- is he talking about singing off key? Because they were still shown as being fast friends for a couple of scenes after that initial one- felt like a plot contrivance so that character could sing the "He can't do it" song, but I think I would have rather seen the best friend stick by the main guy's side, and maybe that would have helped stick the landing as well, as even if the hero does or doesn't get the girl, he still has his friend. Haha, sorry for being so critical, I'm only doing this because I 100% know this team is capable of something incredible, and I really really would love to push you guys through to the finals next year and beyond. My main note based on this film and your film last year is that you've got to hone your story arcs- that's basically all that's missing as technically this film is super tight. Maybe find a new team member who can be a dedicated script writer, because with a little narrative direction, you guys could achieve that bubbling potential we can all sense below the surface. As for your title, there's certainly some thought gone into it, and "High Note High" is pretty funny.

The Trade

Jarring technical issues be damned, the concept for the film is really strong, though it's such a tried and true formula in 'deal with the devil' stories that it feels like it's been done before. Had this film been as good technically as its story, I think it could have stood a chance against the best of them. As for your title, "The Trade" is ominous, but I think you could have thought of something darker or stranger.

Some Body at the Lake

Great looking film, awesome premise and awesome acting. Would have liked to have seen a little more conflict to draw the characters closer together, I could definitely see this being a longer 20-minute piece!

Divine Leaves of Awakening

Hilarious story with great performances and an excellent ending, might be my favourite smash cut of the year so far. I would love to see this film make it to city finals, though perhaps the camera quality/amateur cinematography will keep it at bay this year. Hone your craft guys and with a sense of humour as sharp as yours, you could take the Nationals by storm.

Cushy: A Pull Story

This film is GREAT. A lot of my thoughts have already been said here by other reviewers, so I'm just gonna rattle off some things I loved and a couple of things I think could have been improved. I love the devotion to the 10 years + genre, which is evident in you guys actually taking home the award. I've seen a couple teams struggle with the problem of needing to age up their characters, so for this film to just follow a couch was a great idea, and it has this kind of weird "I'd never actually thought about this" quality to it too, like yeah, I guess that couch I picked up for my flat from that random trademe user's house would have had a pretty interesting life span up until now. Great call as well, having all of Cushy's dwellings be different from each other, was a great excuse to take the audience on a journey, as well as give you guys as filmmakers a nice adventure for the Saturday shooting sessions, racing a couch across town to different locations. I love that we end up in a storage unit too, it could have been there for most of the decade plus that this story covers, but we don't need to be told this. Loved it. I think what really sold the film in the end for me, is the fact that Cushy gets a face by the end, complete with flappy mouth. The film would have felt incomplete without this, without this couch I'd grown to love over the past ten years finally being able to express his emotions. It seems like an obvious choice, to give your inanimate object a face to make them more relatable, but here in "Cushy: A Pull Story" it's just shy of being treated as a twist or a reveal. Excellent stuff. Biggest things to improve on for next year would be the technical side- particularly camera work and audio, if anything held this film back from the coveted top 3 spots, it would have been this kinda stuff. I think ten years ago, a film like "Cushy: A Pull Story" could have taken out the whole comp, but in 2018 films with a higher quality production tend to pop equally as with story, which wasn't always the way, but in my opinion filmmaking is equal parts story and the technical means with which you tell it. It would have been nice as well if in the party scene, we had a few party goers loitering just at the edge of frame, everyone in this scene looks kinda cramped into the shot as to not miss anything, but it just looks a touch staged. Also, that pregnant belly, fwoarr. When she showed up on screen with what was clearly a fake baby bump, the whole cinema giggled, which was a shame because it is a detractor from the film, and it wouldn't have been with a bit more creative effort to make her belly look genuine. A small gripe for sure, but something that I think definitely needed to be mentioned- though I'm sure you're well aware already. As for your title, is "Cushy: A Pull Story" a pun on "Upholstery"? If it is, then well done, if it isn't, then what the hell is a "pull story"? :P Fantastic job team, I cannot wait to see what SJGR bring us next year.

Gym Buddy

Some really nice acting and a really cool story arc, a lot to like here. The editing got a little silly though during the climax- it had seemed very grounded up until the (sadly obligatory) wilhelm scream, and then changed to a (sadly obligatory) Edgar Wright style. The stiletto through the hand seemed a little needlessly gory too.

S I S

I'm reviewing your film!

Well it finally happened. Ever since stock footage was given the okay to use in 2017, legend has foretold of a film made up on entirely stock footage, and this year the prophesy was fulfilled!

S I S is a hilarious experiment in editing and storytelling, and while the story itself isn't particularly mind blowing, it does facilitate the crazy and hilarious gags through out the film.

Similar to DOOM COMES TO MARS-TOWN, if I were the sole judge, I'd have probably put this in the finals, but perhaps in the end it comes down to more earnestly told stories striking more of a chord with the judging panel.

Still, I feel very privileged to have finally seen the fabled stock footage film. I feel like I can die happy now.

Things you got right: An interesting experiment which IMO paid off big time

Things to work on for next time: Uhhh.. a film which re-edits a public domain film into a new story??

Down 2 The Wire

Basically Rowan covered everything I would have said about this film, but nonetheless I'll throw a couple more thoughts in. Camera work and acting are the slickest elements of this film, and are just as up there with TBALC's other films. I think it's the story and editing which let it down, and create an air of confusion which is often prevalent in 48hour films, but almost never in TBALC's filmography. As Rowan said, I think Ultra was a big ol' kick in the nuts for this case- as 48hour films are by definition very disposable and rarely ask for a sequel. I do wonder if ultimately, DOWN TO THE WIRE was the best choice of film to do a sequel to, sure the characters make sense to be transposed into a Thriller, but maybe it would have been better to pull an ARMY OF DARKNESS and just jarringly bring Scary Barry or someone into a thriller. As it goes without saying, obviously this is an awesomely made short film, and I suspect even the judges judge TBALC on a slightly different plane to other teams.

An Appointment with a Poo

Clearly a lot of hard work and passion went into this film, and if our shortlist was 30 films long, rest assured this would have been on it. Like I've said for a select few other films, we actually rewatched this film on the judging night, and when we got such a high caliber of films this year, deciding what went on the list and what didn't actually came down to really looking at each film and comparing them on a micro scale. So with this all being said, it might be helpful for me to explain what went down. First of all let me say, that there are some amazing ideas in this film, and a lot of ambition with a clear handle on story telling and especially dialogue, as well as some great green screen work. I would have liked to have seen a little more action in the story, and driven a little less by just two fly toys chatting. Rowan mentioned he thinks this film could have been half as long, and I think this is definitely part of it, but to build on this, I would say that if you had done away with the ultra long opening sequence and started it with the flies talking, I would have loved to have seen the surviving fly actually try and enact his dead buddy's plan to achieve immortality. It really felt like that was what you were building up to, and so for it to just end with the lead going to enjoy his meal of poop, I was actually a bit let down. To forego the appointment with a poo to honour his friend by finding a puddle and unlocking eternal life (and maybe he could have even tried to bring his friend back from the dead), that would have hit a lot harder. I understand how frustrating it is to have someone just come in and try rewrite your story, and especially someone in my position, so if I can put it another way, it all came down to the whole "show don't tell" rule of filmmaking. You painted a wonderful picture with the dialogue here, I would have just really liked to have seen this picture take place. I hope this helps guys, and if this has all left you more upset, then also just consider that the quality of films this year was actually so high and so consistent, that I think this could have absolutely made the finals in a previous year- so it's not that this wasn't worth it or quality on it's own terms. It's a great little piece and you should all be very proud. As for your title, "An Appointment With a Poo" is a great little attention grabber and really suits the film.

One For All

Some great performances from a team who clearly are having a lot of fun making naughty little short film - and you know what? I had fun too.

Like Steelpotato, I am a little dubious about focusing on a cheater as a protagonist, but the tone is so light and cheeky anyway that I think you juuuust get away with it. The reveal that the wife is also cheating (with the same person no less) helps this feel like a more level playing field.

My least favourite thing about the film would be the setting, we have had a lot of these modern white wall houses in films this year, so I'm mentioning it in every review for films guilty of it, in hopes that everyone will get out and explore next year hahaha.

The camera work is also clean, but I think a film like this could have had a lot more fun with some subjective filmmaking and more experimental cinematography. The shots work, but they don't pop. The aforementioned location probably doesn't help this.

A weird thing to say, and I hope this doesn't get me cancelled, but good on you guys for going all in on making a horny movie. Characters in this film undress, they show off their bodies, they look genuinely lustful for each other -- teams should only go as far as they're willing to go here, but it does add a bit of legitimacy that these characters seem like genuine sexual beings - I honestly don't know who on the cast are dating or married in real life because all 3 characters seemed legitimately into each other. Maybe I'm just a horndog myself.

While I don't want to out the above reviewers as also being a couple of horndogs who were hoping the ending explored the throuple's open relationship potential, I am shocked to see this mentioned as a complaint - I think EASILY the smartest move this film makes is the two women throwing the male lead out on his ass and having him sulk away - an ending in which the characters have a threesome (not that this was specifically what the other reviewers are wanting) feels very men-writing-women. I don't think this film is perfect, but ending it with a win for the gals and a loss for the man makes it 10x better than it would have been otherwise.

Challenge for next year: I think this is a fun team! The only things really holding you back were the low-ish stakes of this story, the basic camerawork and a few technical hiccups here and there - so practice this stuff and sharpen your craft!

Altar

There's some really awesome stuff here. A really well thought out story which is just as much Anti-Romantic as it is Anti-Comedic, and really improves upon a second viewing where you know what and how and why everything is happening. It's a really cool journey to take the audience on to have them initially dislike a character only to discover we've misunderstood the situations and he's actually a nice guy. I think what let's this film down the most, would be the performances from the actors fall into a few pitfalls, it's hard to show a character talking to themselves, which our bride does throughout. People don't usually talk in clear exposition filled sentences when they talk to themselves. I also felt that while the two leads do a good job, some of the background performers could have stood to go for slightly more natural performances (the friends in the bar in particular had some pretty exaggerated facial expressions when listening to the lead's stories). I also found myself wondering small nit-picky things like, why would someone deliver flowers to their sister (I think?) or run any sort of errand on the day of their wedding? Why did the bride stay at the wedding when no one else did? All in all though, a solid short with some great ideas. As for your title, "Altar", while minimalist is also perfect.

Last Christmas

Some great stuff here. Maybe it should get the risk award for having the balls to do a Mockumentary in 48hours 2017? :P I kid I kid. I loved the all-too-relatable BTS drama from the film crew and the Soundy with his phone not on silent. The main Santa was great too, very nuanced performance and very deserving of the best actor award.

A helping hand

There's a great sense of humour in this movie. Story was easy to follow, but I am left with a few questions about the nature of the hand farmer. Hahha. Technically the film is a bit of a mess. Had there been a bit more devotion to the craft (and you'd handed in on time), I could see something like this going further in the competition. TITLE REVIEW: Great.

The First Date

A clear understanding the basic storytelling foundations in this team, with a really solid character arc and relatable motivations for the characters. That being said, I do wonder if there was a more interesting way you could have utilized time travel to tell the story- maybe he could have actually traveled back somehow instead of inexplicably being stuck in a time loop? I did feel the lead was a touch too naive at times, it seems weird that on his second or third redo of the date that he'd make such bonehead decisions. A bit too much of a strawman. As for your title, I actually hadn't thought about it until now, but "The First Date" is actually a great title for this film, as it really isn't what you'd expect from the outset, and we'd all love the chance to redo a first date that went bad- so in that area the title, and the film as well, actually deals with a great little relatable fantasy.

A Slice of You

Very confused as to why I'm only the 4th person to review such an excellent film. Mark my words ya'll, rip focus are the team to watch out for in the foreseeable future of the competition, filling the hole in our hearts left by Pigs Guts' desertion, with hints of TBALC humour, and even a little Les Cousins Dangereux if I do say so myself. Perhaps this is the result of young filmmakers being influenced by 48hour films of the past and learning all the right lessons. There is so much I love about this film that it's gonna be difficult to concisely put into words. I think what stands out the most is the subtle but effective world building done in this movie. The film makes you ask so many questions that it never answers, but this isn't a detractor because by the time you've started wondering, we're already catapulted into the next scene. Things like: -Why are they slurping puddles off the coffee table at the beginning? Why/How are they scoring them? Why was C'larence not as good, apparently, at slurping? -Why the hell is his name C'larence? -What the heck is the other guy's name?! -Why do they all sleep in the same bed? All of these things and more are hysterically underdeveloped, and I mean that in a good way. This is the opposite of exposition, where we just have to accept that this is the world of the film, and the implications here are so funny and bizarre that I'm still laughing about them as I write this. Then of course there's the excellent music in this film, which 100% deserved to take home the award for "Pizza Girl", ("I don't order pizza for the pizza anymore" makes my heart sing). I also loved the "Love is a Tasty Feeling" song in there as well, with Sarena's "PEPPERONI CHEEEEESE" putting a stupidly big grin on my face whenever I see it. The film excels here on the marriage of editing and script, with those quick cuts and hilarious lines of dialogue taking us by the hand and running headfirst into wholesome absurdism. I have a couple of points of constructive criticism here; as much as I love this film, I really would love to see rip focus do even better next year. I'd say my biggest problem with the film would be that the story follows a guy trying to get his pizza girl back, so he keeps ordering pizzas, and eventually he gets the right one- not a lot of conflict here, just a devoted lover. If he'd worked out "Oh she only delivers on Fridays" or "Oh she only delivers when you order olives as a topping" or even if he'd defied odds and left the house and tracked her down himself, this would have really energized the story. Of course these plot contrivances are completely masked by the music, editing and humour, but when you watch the film as many times as me, you start to notice these things. The other way in which I think you could improve might strike a chord, and I hope we can still be friends: I'm not convinced iPhone is the best way to go here guys D: You seem really proud of this fact, but in the 2018 landscape of the competition, slick camerawork is starting to become just as important as story- and while the shot sizes are great and the focus isn't ripped, some nice juicy dynamic range or 2-4k resolution would really up the cinematic elements of your films. I'll end on a positive note for your continual journeying into 48hours: I like your comedy more than your drama. While "A Ripple in Time" was dope, "A Slice of You" is something very very special, and I think that comes down to your senses of humour, so my advice for next year would be ignore the pleas that we don't get enough dramas in 48, and instead keep digging into your comedy chops. As for your title, "A Slice of You" is perfect. I love it.

Survival... in the corporate jungle

A great film to end the night on. While technically this film commits many sins, that's also its charm, the inclusion of cutaway shots to Janine was my highlight. Janine4lyf. I also really enjoyed watching the actors legitimately start laughing and breaking character, I would love for a lot more 48Hour films to utilize bloopers into their actual story.

PowerDown

Some pretty great jokes in this film, I found myself laughing away at a few of the jokes.

There's a lot of ambition with the story, I would have loved to have seen that same ambition in the locations, as watching people muck about in their house is maybe my least favourite genre of 48hour film.

Things you got right: Super funny jokes, a cohesive story and an ending that obviously took some thought.

Things to work on for next time: Be more adventurous, find some cool locations, heighten the stakes!

Expansion

I always look forward to Off Demand, a team which often bring some really interesting concepts to the competition and seem to put a lot more focus on genre than other younger teams.

Expansion may be where they've met their match though - and coming-of-age seems to be quite a rough abstract genre for some people, and with nothing juicy to sink their teeth into like time travel or nature run amok or Something Invisible, this film is functionally much less exciting than the team's previous outtings.

It's not all bad - I appreciate the age appropriate casting, and the story that is told is about young people having young people experiences (which is what coming-of-age is all about), but the story itself leaves something to be desired.

The emotional journey is simple, but good. Befriending a social outcast is a great idea, but I think this stuff works a lot better as the background of a story than the WHOLE story. For example, imagine the characters bonding over their favourite video game while they're lost in the woods, or exploring the sewers, or trotting along train tracks looking for a dead body rumoured to be lying somewhere close? The party setting just fell flat for me, unfortunately.

Coming-of-Age seems to trip people up in this regard, almost everyone who gets the genre is trying to make the subdued and hangout natured BOYHOOD but I think the competition needs Coming-of-Age films like STAND BY ME or IT.

I bring this up with your film specifically because this is a great example of how a team who've shown a lot of ingenuity with their locations before, decided to set the film inside. I'm sick of seeing these houses as well, they're everywhere this year.

Challenge for next year: Get back to your roots and use location to your advantage. A good location can make a film truly pop, and if you get another internally focused genre like Coming-of-Age, remember that just because its Coming-of-Age doesn't mean it can't also be a time travel movie or an adventure movie or a film noir or a musical.

Elimination, Eliminatio, Eliminati...

An interesting idea and some good performances prop this up above the team's previous works.

While your structure is good, and the acting, particularly from the elderly gentleman, is quite effective, I think there are a lot of ways this film could have been improved.

A big one would be the colour grade - even just a little touching up to the footage would transform it from desaturated and dull into something more visually appealing. Perhaps you ran out of time, but flat footage with no dimensionality is always an eyesore.

Storywise, I'm left wanting something more. What's the message of this film? It seems so hopeless and tragic, I felt a lack of closure seeing our protagonist lose his mind in his old age. And on that, how old exactly is he supposed to be? The film tells us the final scene is 20 years later, which would place our lead actor, who looks in his 30s, at around 50 years old. Too young to get Alzheimer's surely? I also don't think using the same actor and giving him a bit of old man makeup sufficed here - especially after we'd already seen an elderly man in the film (they do exist!).

A few other nitpicks here and there too - our main guy is clearly reading a script from offscreen in one scene, and the tone of the film is all over the place, though I did find the lead character's face quite haunting when his father yells at him.

I guess my main question for this team is, why this story? What compelled you to delve into the tragic and bleak world of Alzheimer's? This film just feels so sad, and it looks so sad, and so little of it is justifying taking the audience into a grim place. This is a strange common element of plenty of low-fi teams, I don't understand the attraction toward hard dramas over fun and light comedy. This team's best work has been their lighter/more comedic stuff and I'd encourage you to stick with making the audience laugh instead of depressed.

Challenge for next year: Keep working on upping your technical game, and seriously consider the story you land on. Is it one you want to tell?

'Archive'

Some nice shots and special effects in this film - and a confident script which is performed well by the actors - though is that a phony American accent I'm hearing???

I agree with Steelpotato above - I feel like this story has tended to be a go-to for a lot of teams over the years, right up there with films set in a rehab center or mockumentaries - and I think coupled with a rather uninspiring location (a modern 21st century home which feel designed to look bad on camera but feature in SO many films this year), this film just left me wanting something a bit more.

The bones, while a little overused, are good. I would like to see this story act as the subtext for a more action-packed external adventure, where characters are moving and the locations are varied, instead of sitting on a couch explaining how they feel.

Still, some very solid work all around and I look forward to seeing what this team makes next.

Challenge for next year: Take me on a journey, go outside, get a character from point A to point B and give me a satisfying and exciting adventure as well as giving me emotional closure.

Pain in The Neck

A really good concept, and an original take on the odd couple format. As J Frog noted, if you guys wanted to do an homage to sitcoms, I think you needed to lean into it more. The theme song needed to feel a bit more authentic, the camera angles needed to represent the four-camera set up of sitcoms, and the laugh track needed to sound like a full theatre of laughter, not just a few people in a room. Now, I get that you maybe didn't have access to more cameras, a musician or a theatre full of people ready to laugh, but if you HAD I could have easily seen this concept, executed to its full potential, be one of my favourite films of the year. The story is great, and the gags are also great. A fun way to end it, and while the Vampire hunter was a little young, the casting was pretty much on point. Looking forward to see what you guys put forward in the future. TITLE REVIEW: Pain in the Neck is perfect for the 80s/90s sitcom homage that this film is. Well done!

The Spares

I think the only way to properly review this film is to do it in two parts, reviewing the film as it's own thing, and then reviewing it in the context of TBALC and their legacy, because other reviewers are treating these like they're the same thing which seems a little unfair. As it's own thing, "The Spares" immediately struck with it's super clean cinematography, that gorgeous opening shot of Noah's ark on the beach, and the wonderful production design of the animal enclosures. Was this the same set from "New Fish"? Or do TBALC just secretly have access to a bunch of different prisons? I really enjoyed the acting as well, as with Submission Impossible, I don't know if there is any one stand out, but if there was ever a film that made a case to include a 'Best Ensemble Award' next year, it's this one. So after setting up a really fun and fresh premise, we get into the story which is paced well enough for it to never feel like it's dragging along despite being set in only one location. I didn't personally see the twist coming, but many others have, and perhaps this is something you expected, as the "how did the platypus get made" joke feels vaguely familiar, like something my grandfather would have told me when I was a toddler. What's the takeaway here though? Make it less obvious? Maybe. Could there have been more characters involved, and by the end the spares are all that are left? I'm getting into retooling, which is bad for a reviewer and a city manager, so these are just my thoughts. The dialogue is great as well, along with the aforementioned acting, "Does anyone have a corkscrew?" is a line so strikingly hilarious, but at the same time super subtle, that those in the audience who got it could be heard in a bubbling giggle that rose up to surface. Naughty TBALC! Dirty Joke! Please include even dirtier jokes next year :) In terms of ULTRA, I do think that this was kind of a cheat, as others have said, and maybe this is something I should be talking about more in the second part of this review, but yeah, the animals idea is cool, and obviously you couldn't have used real animals (can you imagine), but for a team as prestigious as you guys it was kind of like "Oh, okay they're doing it this way". So that brings us to TBALC then as a team. I'll continue on with ULTRA thoughts regarding this.. While I love all your actors and look forward to seeing who'll take center stage each year, I was more surprised than I was disappointed that this was the route you went down. What I guess I'm saying is I am fascinated by the idea of seeing a TBALC film about kids going on an adventure a'la "ET" or "Stranger Things", this was the heart behind ULTRA being what it was this year, and I guess it's a bit of a bummer that Christchurch's favourite sons (and daughters) didn't dive headfirst into this, and now there'd be no reason to do it again. You guys were nominated for 7 awards, which was the most out of any team, but as it all ended up playing out, you didn't take home any of them, which is a pain I know and feel (and I know you guys know that I know... that), so I thought, while the wounds (if there are any) may still be a little tender, that this puts your team and its future in an interesting kind of place, because of all the awards you were nominated for, you were probably second place for almost all of them. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO HEAR!? WHO KNOWS LET'S KEEP GOING! This is by no means a bad thing, it just means while "The Spares" excelled in so many ways, there just ended up being at least one other that cut the mustard a little more effectively. What all of this means then, is that you guys at TBALC have settled into a comfortable place, where you make the competition look so easy, but at the same time that comfortability has become a safety net. Do you guys continue to work within your boxes and make great films year after year which, while being amazing are more of a master of none as opposed to jack of a single trade? Or do you attempt something truly striking and different and powerful and grab that Apee for a fifth time? "The Spares" is wonderfully executed film, and I absolutely loved it, and while I'm not saying the judges are harsher on you guys because you're so good, I am saying that other teams are quickly catching up to your level, and some already have, and a couple may even be surpassing. I hope this isn't too harsh or mean, I just know how much value you guys put in feedback so I'm trying to be as thorough as possible, and I'm trying to invigorate you to the point where you put me in the difficult position of having to award TBALC with city winner for a fifth fucking time. As for your title, "The Spares" is great because as soon as we land on them in the panning shot of Noah's ark, we know exactly what game we're playing.

The Big Push

THE BIG PUSH is a very cool idea for a REAL TIME film. The concept of the drive to the hospital during labour is one I could definitely see myself getting into, and the rehearsed one-take really added to the mystique. While I wouldn't be shocked to see this in the city finals, I do think it falls just short of greatness. The acting and story is awesome, but the film could have used a better camera and colour grade to really push it to the next level. I also think it kind of lacked an ending, and even with the photos appearing at the end, it would have been nice to somehow hear or see the baby on screen.

Punkinson's Payback

This looks like it would have been a lot of fun to make. The production quality was too low for it to find a place in the finals IMO, but that's also kind of what was so cool about it.

Space Battle

I didn't fully understand this film until re-watching it in the heats, and it definitely improved. Probably one of the most pure and honest "made by kids" films I've seen in the competition this year, it felt less like we were watching a movie and more like watching you all hanging out and playing make-believe during lunch time, and I mean that in a good way. This is the kind of sense of humour which, in this competition, could take years to grow and develop, but when it does, and when it's backed up by higher production values, could make this team a regular finalist.. But for that to happen, you can't put licensed music in your film! Even if it is played on a recorder. TITLE REVIEW: Space Battle. Of course, what else?

Him & Her

This is probably the most I've been genuinely impressed by a 48Hours film in a long time. This is a technical feat, the likes of which I can't imagine taking on. To think there was a point where all the footage was captured and you had to just be like "Well. Time to edit this thing". Astonishing!

This is a super interesting nomination for Best Performer too, maybe the first time an actor has been nominated not necessarily for an amazing portrayal of a character, and more because of how HARD and EXHAUSTING this looked to perform.

I also love the decision to set it all on a stage - a sneaky way to achieve the Ultra while also not having to bother much with art direction or locations.

The songs are great too, well deserving of the win.

The ending seems to be a contentious topic, though it's not something I'm especially turned off by. I do think it needed a twist, and I liked that it ended with a format break, it maybe just could have been a little clearer?

I'm also torn on the subtitles - on the one hand I feel like it takes me out of the film, but then on the other, the lyrics are a little hard to decipher at points - and this could have maybe been solved by a better sound design.

A technical feat, probably deserved more awards love, and personally I think could have been a great addition to the Grand Finals.

My favourite rip focus film to date. By far. Wait actuall A Slice of You is pretty good too.

Things you got right: uhh and incredible technical feat, the likes of which still boggle my mind to this day.

Things to work on for next time: I just encourage you to keep pushing the bar. This was the much needed gearshift rip focus needed after A Nipple in Time, and I think shifting those gears even more will bring out something even more special.

Pandora's Night: Deleted Scenes

My legitimate pick for Ant's Risk award. What I love about Strang Entertainment is that they always seem to be trying to eat the competition from the inside out by creating short films that maybe aren't actually short films at all- and this is the most ambitious attempt yet. In previous years 'Story is King' has prevailed over the competition, and with it being thrown out this year and teams given an emphasis to try something different, Strang really devoted themselves to this ideal to make a film where the intense lack of narrative IS the narrative itself. It might take a couple of rewatches to fully understand the nuances and implications of the scenes that were deleted, but even if you don't follow it, the ingenious ending is enough to push this film into the grand finals alone.

Mixing Spirits

A very serious film from a team I think weren't quite equipped for tackling this subject matter.

Write what you know, as they say, an I've had rather seen a goofy comedy about folks your age than a super serious take on something so traumatic as this, starring characters who I'm guessing were supposed to be a bit older than those who were playing them.

It feels like the most serious and heavy idea won the brainstorm - but often, and especially for young teams, I encourage comedy as it's a lot easier to nail the tone, at least in 48Hours anyway.

Things you got right: I do admire the ambition here, and it looks like you all had a lot of fun.

Things to work on for next time: Maybe something a little more lighthearted, or tell a story that comes from personal experience.

Rob

This was such a joy to watch for the first time. Because of a somewhat unusual order in which we vetted the films this year, this was one of the first strong films we saw after wading through some weaker entries, and it played just as well with audiences as it did with us in my lounge.

Dragon V Mouse have never been the most technically proficient team, but with this comes an upping of creativity in their camerawork, and using security cameras to tell this story is not only a super creative way to work around limitations, but also became imperative to the story.

A few of the other reviews on here are saying the camera work should have ceased once Rob enters the house, and god, I could not disagree with this more, what a fundamental misunderstanding of this film's visual language and narrative device, which would not only feel like a betrayal of the film's gimmick, but also would fuck up the award winning ending which relies entirely on the hidden camera concept.

If anything I'd say the only thing missing here is maybe the indoor cameras could have used the same digital timecodes/framing as the outdoor ones, just to drive home the idea further.

The ending is so good as well, it's one thing for it to conclude with the burglars noticing the camera, but for "Hope there's only one" to be the final sting (with Rob's hand blacking out the screen) was such a celebration, a fantastic moment for this story to end on and one that made me want to cheer.

So many good moments in this film that it would be tedious for me to list them all. But I thought it was so good and I had such a great time watching.

While Richard is my pal and I am more aware than anyone how suspicious this team's award sweep was on the finals night, I'm genuinely glad to see the judges felt the same about this film as I did and I stand by every award it won.

Things you got right: A solid little comedy with some super creative storytelling techniques and a fantastic ending.

Things to work on for next time: DvM are one of those teams that don't really need my advice at this stage, especially because what they're doing looks to be consistently working.

We'll just have to do things the long way.

I love you Mad Scientist. I feel like this whole year was a beautiful 48hours cocktail for you, from the solo/duo element, to the Ultra, to the genre. As for the film itself, it is exactly what we've come to expect from you/your team, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because the competition desperately needs films like yours, they're genuinely breaths of fresh air, and you can just see how much you love filmmaking, genre films and miniguns. It's a bad thing because I think out of the last 4 or 5 films you've made, this one is kind of squarely in the middle for me- I think "One Man Army" will always be your "Citizen Kane", and that is by no means a bad thing. The question is, how, if you choose to, should you develop? How do you keep journeying down that rabbit hole? How do you make the craziest, most insane film this competition has ever seen? I'm not sure I have the answer for this, but I can't wait to see what you come up with. Other notes: Technically this film is a mixed bag, the green screen work and clone soldiers are all really great and effective, but I found a lot of the audio hard to make out at times- also not sure what was going on with that 20 seconds of black at the start, but it adds to the charm. As for your title, I absolutely adore "We'll Just Have to do Things the Long Way", it's so meaty and fun to say. I maybe would have preferred the traditional "hard way" instead of "long way" but that might just be me.

Gaelien

Very charming film from some young filmmakers who clearly enjoyed making it.

That opening shot of the asteroid in space crashing into the pile of leaves might be my favourite visual gag of the competition.

The invisibility effect also worked super well!

Things you got right: A clear grasp on storytelling and some very good comedic sensibilities.

Things to work on for next time: Get your technical side up to scratch - better audio, better camera work!

Hero

Truly incredible film, deeply moving and tragic. Super powerful themes coupled with very high quality camera work, editing and of course acting. Rico's performance here is so genuine and real- he fit so perfectly into all of these scenes that a lot of the time it's so natural it's almost invisible. I would love to see Rico again in future films, potentially expanding his abilities and trying on different kinds of roles, because I think this kid is gonna soar. I love how this film is kind of a one-two punch. At first, there's that slow burning realization that our main character's father isn't the man he's building him up to be to his buddy, and then the absolute kick to the guts as we realize it's not even him talking. This is the art of filmmaking at it's very finest, combining visual imagery with implication and revelation- we slowly begin to understand just how truly miserable this situation is without any obvious sign post explaining it to us. This is SO good guys. Every time this has screened with an audience there has been an audible wave of gasps across the room. Very much a revered HARD drama, which is pretty rare in 48hours, but whenever there is one that truly hits, it's pretty amazing. I'd recommend checking out the film "Glow" by team Del Sur from a few years back for a similarly gripping drama. A couple of commenters have said the film kind of feels a bit too much like a PSA or a commercial- with it's short duration and quick visual storytelling, and while I personally prefer more standard approaches to short films, this definitely isn't detractor necessarily- I would encourage you guys at Blood and Bone to actually submit this to as many short film contests as you can- or even see if you can air it as a commercial or a PSA. A few statistics at the end about family violence and you have yourself a pretty effective awareness piece. If I did have any real gripe with this film, I would say that while it's firing on all cylinders to say what it's saying and get its message across, this isn't exactly a story I haven't heard/seen before, and is actually surprisingly common subject matter across a lot of NZ film. But, with that being said, I've never seen it done with such an effective bait and switch that you guys pulled off. Really cool to see as well that the top 2 films this year were both "Wish" films executed VERY differently. As for your title, "Hero" is pretty good and pretty effective. It doesn't quite pop, but it doesn't necessarily have to.

Taking The Mick

TAKING THE MICK sees a 48Hours team do the unthinkable: Listen to my advice from a previous year and actually implement it, that advice in question being a challenge to film outdoors.

What a year to film outdoors too, when the prevailing criticism I find myself doling out to teams is the overuse of ugly sterile post-quake homes, we get this film which is set entirely outside, with beautiful vistas and long stretches of roads. A+ in terms of location use gang. Well, maybe A- if Sons of the Broad Meadow are an A+.

It's also worth noting the quality of the audio here too, which can often be the reason teams don't want to film outside. But this film sounds great.

I'm not so sure if I could give the same praise to the video element of the film, which is serviceable in the framing department, but looked a touch over exposed the whole time, and some shaky stuttery camera pans also had me going "yeesh". Perhaps another couple tries of these takes would have benefitted the film.

As for the story, I think there is a really good foundation here, I think the character journeys are effective, but I think also could have been improved by a bit more visual flair or subjective filmmaking, it feels very stage play, and narratively I think we could have had higher stakes, and a little more massaging on the arc checkpoints - it's all well and good to hear that our protagonist stole a car, or have another character explain "we're all running from something", but in this context it felt like a symptom of trying to cram an emotional resolve into a 5 minute max duration. I think we needed to see her steal the car, and while Mick's line is well written, I think it would have been more effective to communicate this theme via action instead of checkmarking in the dialogue.

Also, does she get in trouble for stealing the car? Surely she's gonna have to explain SOMETHING to the grieving family she takes the Mick to? It all happens off screen, and I can't help feel that the threat of getting in legal trouble would have made her decision a lot harder to make, and ultimately a lot more powerful when she makes it despite this threat.

Welcome to the kind of city manager review you get when you're just so good that I have to delve deeper than your average team and be super constructive with how to improve.

Challenge for next year: I think I'd like to see South Jersey Ghost Research step up in the cinematography department. All your films thus far seem to be focused on coverage of a scene, but I'd love to see a little more style and interesting shot composition or lighting be used. This is filmmaking after all, so have a stab at controlling an image instead of just capturing it yourself.

Ghoul's Night In

It's always a fun little wrinkle in the competition watching two teams combine into one team - and thankfully in this case I think Crab Crab Crab and Cactus? manage to build on each other rather than diluting either flavour.

GHOUL'S NIGHT IN is a very fun little horror comedy with some engaging performances and fun effects. I absolutely adore the central premise of a ghost who can only communicate with a little girl, and the bureaucracy of haunting following this is very much an organic place to take that story.

The hero segment of the film really is that montage which cracks out several different horror clichés in a fun and new way. I'm not sure I fully built the image in my head of the puking-out-legs monstrosity, but it still works.

Structurally, we're looking at a very strong entry too with a clear beginning middle and end - some others have pointed out some issues with the ending's implications, but hey, its 48Hours. I feel like some of the best films in the competition have these kind of hidden plot holes. The fact is we have some wonderfully high stakes here and actual genuine character development. Hell yeah.

The main criticism I would have for the film, beyond a couple technical glitches (the girl shouting "WHAT WAS THAT?!" seemed to peak the mics and was never re-recorded), would be that final scene looks so good in the dark with the moonlit subjects - and I kind of missed this yummy cinematography in the rest of the film, confined to a white-walled West Melton home. I'm calling out every film this year who shot in one of these modern homes in hopes that next year everyone will be shooting out in the port hills or wherever Sons of the Broad Meadow went.

I loved the performances from everyone, and they all flowed together into the kinda magic that clearly indicates effective directing - another area I think could have used some improvement here would be certain parts of the art direction - Jack's pink demon hands looked a little cheap, you can see the wire holding the floating knife and, while maybe just a taste thing, I think the Make-up on Jack looked a bit A&P Show and not as convincing as it could have been. Maybe adding some kind of haunting aura around the character in post would have sold the supernatural element a little more, but hey, it's 48Hours.

Challenge for next year: Do you stay a combined team? I don't see why not. I'd encourage you to take the same sharp storytelling and take us somewhere a little more exotic.

Merci

Very well shot, definitely the film's biggest strength. The characters and story were pretty good too, though you don't really come out the other end liking either of them all that much. The mood is very tense, and I think this team definitely has the resources to go far in the competition.

1-800-GHOST

I think the nicest thing I can say about this film is that 15 years ago, stuff like 1-800-GHOST would win the whole competition.

For that reason, I love the nostalgic throwback vibe of this film, and we're looking at a MASSIVE step-up in quality for Staircase Nation, who've always made films that stand out a little bit from the low-fi class of teams.

Story, visuals and acting are all big improvements from your previous works. While I was a little deflated to see us settle into a Mockumentary (especially because an '80s infomercial was a lot more fresh), I think the acting and sense of humour surrounding our lead, Paul T Geist, gave this film a great energy. It's one of those cases where the actor knows what he looks the funniest doing, and seeing him crouched in the corner crying after his failed exorcism was my fav bit.

The story is simple, but this works as a propped up backdrop for several killer jokes. I also liked at the end how we transition back to an infomercial - very slick, very classy.

While its definitely an improvement for the team, I think there are still somethings holding Staircase Nation back, namely some uninspiring locations (I'm just in a bad mood with films shot in rooms with bland white walls), inconsistent audio levels, lesser quality cinematography and a lack of production value which I think would have really made this pop. Again, I would also advise against doing a Mockumentary next year - they occasionally do well, but mostly flop.

Challenge for next year: See if you can go about getting a slick cameraman on board. Your films can still be a bunch of gags and set-ups with story playing second fiddle, but with a higher technical quality and some rich camerawork, I could easily see this team making the finals in future years.

The Last Lord of Scotland

I felt personally targeted by this film, guys. It feels like you know me well enough to know exactly what kind of 48Hour film I want to see, because I absolutely LOVED this movie and for a long time was my early pick for City Winner.

I love all the elements at play here - I love the central love story, I love the photographer - what an awesome idea for a character! Ya'll won best use of unlikely hero for this because it was an absolute masterclass in watching this grenade of a character end up delivering the day-saving profound monologue.

You also were nominated for best use of heartbeat here, and I'm sure you were surprised to see the clip at the finals playing the photographer's theme song instead of your literal heartbeat placed at the beginning. I've done enough 48Hour comps to recognize a team coming up with a cool way to use an element but then being worried it won't count because it's too abstract and so putting a proper one in there for safety ahahah. Maybe I'm wrong! It doesn't take away from your film at all, but for what it's worth your theme song heartbeat was absolutely all you needed to qualify, and a refreshing example to see after dozens of typical heartbeats.

The real highlight of your film though was the whole Scottish influence - the bagpipes, the Lord/Lady motif - I'm so enamoured with this creative decision because it's the kind of subtextual flavour you VERY rarely see employed in a 48Hour film - it's hard for me to explain but there's something so nuanced and fun about this element, especially because you could have not included it in the film at all and I wouldn't have noticed anything missing. Truly the secret sauce on top of your already immaculate short - reminiscent of other 48Hour films that have used a foreign cultural identity to make their film richer (like UTKA from Poutine Wolf or Mi Amigo Mandarina from Grand Cheval).

I have exactly ONE NOTE on how I think this film could have been improved, one small weakness - which is after the future Lady Perry has her breakdown and we cut to the wide of her screaming in the car, I think when we returned to the scene, we really needed some kind of location change - whether that be them driving home, stopping for petrol or even going for a walk in the nearby woods to clear their heads - it just felt like strange pacing to have a clear time jump but then return to the same location. Maybe just me though! LOL.

Regardless guys, this is my favourite Dystography film, one of my favourites of the year, and maybe even of all time. It's like I was made for this. Or it was made for me?

Things you got right: An awesome love story (resulting in a genuine reason for its nomination for best use of genre), fantastic characters and a filmic identity rarely present in other 48Hour films

Things to work on for next time: God, idk, just make more of these striking and earnest comedies. I love comedies.

Morgan Foster Presents: Mindcreep Cinema

I love love LOVE the concept for this film. Sequel or not (I haven't actually seen the original MIND CREEP), I really got into the idea of a "Twilight Zone" inspired anthology show, and having it presented by a past character is the only way to do it! HOWEVER sadly I do feel a lot was sacrificed in order to make this happen; the actual story-within-the-story was pretty unclear in places, and I sense there may be a more lucid 5+ minute original on the cutting room floor. It felt more like a fully formed and well made idea for an original short film that was sandwiched in between the Morgan Foster narrative device as for it to technically qualify as a sequel. Both story layers are great, I just feel the ultimately didn't merge as well as Chess Club probably hoped. Still, I found it very endearing and entertaining, and I'll be damned if the use of the Wilhelm scream in the opening credits for Morgan's show isn't the most natural and best use of that stupid sound effect we'll see in the rest of this year's competition.

At Your Fingertip

Awesome location! 10 points for not setting your film inside, and those guns were pretty filmic too.

On the technical side, you don't need me to point out things like the aspect ratio randomly switching to vertical, or superimposing signs on top of real signs (which say the same thing) don't exactly make for a good edit - all of these are charming growing pains everyone who's ever got into film will go through.

Storywise, I think some action could have been taken to make what was going on a bit clearer. The Multiverse versions of each character were cool, but something more than just a costume change could have spiced things up a bit more. Maybe they have different personalities? Voices? Hairstyles?

Broadly, on the story as well, I'm not really sure on a lot of what was going on. But again this kinda thing just adds to a delirious wonder, especially this far into the heats.

Challenge for next year: Keep practicing with your camerawork, and maybe try tell a most distinct story - a team with an imagination like this could go really far.

The Price

A lot of neat ideas here, and the creepy-yet-fast paced nature with which it all played out was a hit with the audiences.

The story is a little simple and uninspired, but that's okay because it's really just an avenue to show off some genuinely fun filmmaking imagery and language with the voodoo dolls and things like that.

Things you got right: Genuinely creepy moments, fun simple story.

Things to work on for next time: Camerawork and audio could use an upgrade - I encourage ya'll to upgrade in the technical department going forward because your ideas deserve it!

Wired

Hahaha, no matter how the film itself is received, the hilarious team intro you guys did this year really tickled me pink, and I hope you win the award for that just alone. WIRED works great as a real time film, watching two characters start out as oppositions and become allies by the end to defeat a greater threat. The story is great, and I'd love to see you guys up your game in terms of camera work for next year, as I think that is the only piece of the puzzle missing.

West Side Nativity

The all-too familiar BAD TASTE style of gross out filmmaking in its full glory. I really liked this film, great story idea, amazing practical effects and hilarious acting, could have used a bit more polish in the edit, but it is what it is, and what it is is awesome.

Naughty Man

"Naughty Man" was badass. Well done guys. My only real criticisms are that the bent piece of wire was extraordinarily out of place and unexplained, and that the lead characters beard detracted from his character completely... It's nothing against this individual with a beard, but his character (portrayed as your average, stereotypical suburban parent) probably shouldn't have had a brutal spartan beard. Other than that though, the acting was great, and I loved the phrase "naughty man", it made it really disturbing.

The Wish (hopefully nobody else picked that title)

With this film, I defy anyone who thinks Toot Toot won't make it into the finals every year, because rounding out the night with an infectious inside-joke ridden series of sketches which wouldn't make much sense outside of 48hours is something I want to see done every year. It's the equivalent of those comedic openings to The Oscars where Billy Crystal/a Billy Crystal type meets with a bunch of that year's nominated actors from their nominated films and jokes about sexy fish monsters etc. I mentioned in my "PC High" review what some of my favourite gags of the year were, and completely forgot to mention the sandals slapping the puddle which might actually be my favourite, sold entirely by the sandal slapper eyeing the camera with kind of a "How did it come to this?" expression. The sandal slapping might only be second to the Slamming The Doors joke which is so insane and so clever that there was never any question over whether or not it would win the award. Absolutely hysterical. What a joke. What a film. I feel there's not much else I can really review here, I guess I could suggest ways to improve, and talk about how with a less formulaic story the film would have felt fresher, but I kind of don't want to say any of that because the film kind of falls into being exactly what it needs to be and while I'm all for you guys as a team experimenting and trying out new genres and stories, at the same time I selfishly just want you guys to make something similar to this next year. This is your call, I'm sure I'll love it either way. As for your title "The Wish (hopefully nobody else picked that title)" is so perfect for a film which unashamedly wants to be a self aware and contextualized to the competition as it is.