When two Timberline Grade 12 students entered a 48-hour film contest last fall, they thought they might get a lucky nomination for some category.
Even when they went to the awards gala last month for the Zoom 48-Hour Film Festival, little did Ian Boyd and Oscar Wolfgang know they’d done so well.
Zoom started as an event on the North Shore and is now recognized as one of the province’s most popular student film competitions.
“You have 48 hours to plan, write up the script, everything, film, edit and upload it,” Boyd says.
The pair won top honours for Best Senior Screenplay, second place for Best Senior Technical and Best Group Performance, and third place for Best Senior Sound Design and Best Senior Art Direction. Their film, This is Home, also finished in the top six for Best Overall Film, which includes both senior and junior categories. There were 92 entries in the senior categories and around 140 overall.
Their teacher Shannon Hagen introduced them to the contest a couple of years back, but they did not fare so well their first time out. This time, they were more confident about the project when the competition was held over a weekend in October.
“We really wanted to step up and do it,” Wolfgang says.
As their teacher, Hagen says she looks for students who can do a film in two days, especially with such stiff competition, when recommending the Zoom event.
“What the students are able to produce now with the equipment is just incredible,” Hagen says. “The quality this year – oh, my gosh – was pretty amazing. The competition was pretty fierce.”
The films are between 30 seconds and seven minutes. To make sure teams do not get a head start, Zoom organizers give the participants a couple of conditions – a prop that must be used and a theme they must incorporate – once it starts. The prop this time was a disk.
“The theme this year was ‘there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,’” Wolfgang says. “We took it as nothing comes for free.”
Their dystopian film runs about six minutes and revolves around two characters, one of whom starts to question his surroundings and the robot that is always present. Soon, the two throw off the shackles, question everything they have been told and make a break for the outside world.
“Everyone took turns playing the robot,” Boyd says. “Whoever wasn’t on screen was in the robot costume.”
That mean their friend Matthew Landers filled in when they need all three characters in the scene. Otherwise, each of the pair took turns.
“It was really hot in there,” Wolfgang adds.
He spent the first night making the robot costume while Boyd worked on the script and put together a voiceover for a presidential speech playing at the beginning of the film. Wolfgang used a plumber’s jumpsuit for the robot body and built a mask from dollar store items, which were spray-painted.
“We were just hoping it was dry by the morning, and luckily it was,” Wolfgang says.
They started shooting on day two, but they went down to the last minute with editing and rendering before sending it off on the final day.
“I was editing until time was out,” Wolfgang says.
This project is not the first time the two have worked together. They have been interested in film for a long time. In fact, it’s what brought them together as friends.
Boyd started young with a YouTube channel, put it aside for a while but came back to it at Timberline.
“I just fell in love with it again,” he says.
Meanwhile, Wolfgang, from a young age, really loved acting.
“I’d watch Star Wars and really wanted to be a Jedi when I got older,” he says.
He had grown up in Alberta and did not expect to get into movies when he moved to B.C. However, he was walking one day and saw Boyd making a video with some friends and instantly knew they should get to know each other. The two took the same media class and began working on projects through the whole class. Later, they worked on an ambitious project in Grade 10 that won a local film contest.
Hagen credits her two students for learning what they needed to improve upon after their first attempt. She points out they received honours this time around for former weak spots, elements such as having a story that will resonate with viewers.
“They were really, really good when taking feedback,” she says.
For the gala, she knew they’d been nominated but did not know how many categories or if they had won anything.
“Even as a teacher, I’m not told,” she says.
Boyd and Wolfgang were just as surprised. They did not expect to get nominated in almost every category, figuring they might have been recognized with a nomination for the robot.
“We went there thinking we may have gotten nominated for something to do with the costume,” Boyd says.
Little did they know.
As to the future, the pair are looking forward to something a little brighter than their mini dystopian masterpiece.
Once they’re done at Timberline, they want to study in the film and TV program at Capilano University.
“We like to joke that our friendship started with the word ‘Action’ because that’s what he heard down the hall before he met me,” Boyd says.
“And it’s gonna end with ‘cut,’” Wolfgang adds with a laugh.