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Time Saver

by Pie Face

Reviews

Very good looking film with excellent lighting, production design and cinematography. I just had a hard time understanding the plot itself. Didn’t know why they were stuck in there, and felt it wasn’t too clear if he was travelling back in time every time he hit that button, and by how much? Still, very impressive for 48Hours!

Boy oh boy this was technically one of the best looking and sounding films in Christchurch. Set design was out of this world, evoking strong memories of THE FLY with your time travel chambers and the way you lit your film was incredibly impressive. Probably have best original score in your region sewn up. Atmosphere was stupendous too as a scientific family explored how different PST levels could affect their experiments only for the wrong input to create a dilemma.

But I just had the feeling at times that the film verged into a case of style over substance. It's a hard one to explain; there was a nucleuous of characters who presented a strong family, the dad bold and the mum nurturing for her son. There was scientific detail explained but not overly explained. So many of the boxes were ticked. The anguish and emotion of choosing to theoretically sacrifice yourself to save someone you love = superb. Made me feel a sense of connection. Yet despite this incredible world building and great performances, the story just felt like it had been told so many times already, and original stories are key for this competition.

Story: 2.5/5
Technical: 5/5
Elements: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

This was great to watch and look at. Really high production value and all-around great effort. The costumes, the set decoration, the shots chosen all made this feel like something bigger than a small-scaled film made with 2 days.

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.

Such a great aesthetic created for this short - it was so easy to get completely immersed in the environment. Top technical work from start to finish but aside from the fact that this was time-travel gone wrong, which created a degree of tension, I had little idea about how this was actually being remedied by the characters - and if they were time-travelling to do it how this actually worked. Looking forward to watching it again to see what I can pick up.

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Something that's quite difficult to pull off in 48hours is atmosphere. It requires a mastery of numerous crafts, working in tandem, and it requires a pretty clear vision. Even feature filmmakers don't manage it a lot of the time.

Pie Face's film this year has atmosphere in buckets. It's gorgeously shot, with painterly use of light, emotive and dynamic framing, and production design that plays directly into the quite serious, Primer-esque garage sci-fi vibe being set up. (Well, maybe the plasma globe is a bit silly.) Really feels like we're watching a MOVIE. The music's great too (can't remember whether it was an original score or not, so I'll just say it was great). All clicks really nicely together.

As others have said, it's the story where this falls down, but I think it's less the story itself, which is solid if a little well-worn, and more the telling of it, particularly when it comes to dialogue. The story's actually pretty emotional, but the dialogue is trapped in explaining the intricacies of its science fiction, when all we needed to know was what the machine does, why they're inventing it, and what the consequences are if it fails. As such, it's a little hard to follow, which is a bit of a killer to audiences.

And yet: the atmosphere in this film actually helps tell its story. Like a bunch of Chris Nolan's work, the dialogue and technobabble might be inscrutable, but we get the broad emotional strokes, and can fill in the rest to our own liking. Also like Nolan's work, the presence of that dialogue makes us think we SHOULD be listening, and that we're failing by not picking it up. This film could play out without dialogue, and it'd still work; it almost does as it is. Had that been a conscious choice, the simple story would've worked a lot better, as we'd be more focused on the characters' feelings instead of trying to piece together how the fictional science works.

Shocked and bummed out that it didn't make the shortlist, but I'd be even more shocked and bummed out if it didn't get a couple of award nominations despite that. Damn though, I'm keen to see what happens with this team next year.

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