Revenge Thrillers, Bakery Murders, and “Hope-Core TikTok”: 40 Hours of Film 2023
By James Weatherman
On Monday, 27 March, the Interhall Arts Committee (IAC) hosted a screening of the 40 Hours of Film competition entries, attracting over 600 attendees to the Manning-Clark Hall.
The event requires groups from each residential hall to produce a short film, between 4-8 minutes long, 40 hours after being given a directional prompt. This includes a location, an object, and a phrase that students must incorporate into their film.
This year’s prompts were a “water source,” “baguette”, and “pinky promise?”, respectively. IAC released prompts Friday 6pm on 24 March and required submissions by Sunday 10am on 26 March. The screening took place the following day at 7.30pm.
According to a 2022 participant, last year’s prompts were “a playground,” “a sock,” and “you clearly haven’t done this before.” Wamburun took first place last year, while this year’s results are yet to come.
The competition garnered a mix of reactions this year. Bruce Hall resident Angus Crozier said this year’s competition had “the best, and perhaps some of the most unique, artistic talent that ANU has to offer.”
IAC President Oskah Dunnin hosted the screening, and praised Wright Hall volunteers for their “hard work [in] organising the event” and that “[IAC] is always happy to see…[the] pay off”.
Pictured: IAC Members and MC Oskah Dunnin
Observer asked several attendees for their opinions on each film, who expressed a diverse range of opinions and personal favourites.
One student, Ewan Hughes, claimed UniLodge “definitely had the best acting,” while B&G had “the best editing and camera quality”. He also praised first time participants from Yukeembruk, stating their film was “wholesome” and “so much fun” to watch.
Similarly, Griffin Hall Member Shannon Lanza had B&G, UniLodge and Yukeembruk in her top three.
B&G’s film director, Ella Andrews said she “laughed a lot at Johns, Burg and Wright’s [films]”. An actor for Burgmann’s film, James Theophile, cited Fenner as his favourite, after Burgmann.
Burgmann’s film followed two chefs who drug, kidnap and threaten a prominent food critic, in an attempt to increase positive reviews for their restaurant.
Rumours were circulating amongst the audience that the Burgmann team had been pulled over by the police. Allegedly, some attendees said this occurred while Theophile, who acted as the food critic, was in the trunk of the car.
Theophile confirmed that “the cops did pull [them] over” but “not while [he] was tied up in the boot”.
While filming “by the lake, near the museum” at approximately 4am, an “RBT [officer] questioned what [they] were doing down there at that hour”.
“Fortunately,” however, “this was all before [he] had been tied, handcuffed and gagged.”
Dunnin told Observer that the judges, Anika Quayle, Katie Sutton and Wesley Lim, are “from ANU faculties” and are “selected by the organising hall”. He also said that they view and judge the films independently from the screening.
This is of particular importance for Griffin’s team as their film froze and cut-off halfway through. The film had to be restarted, presenting a satirical yet informative guide on activities by the lake. Despite these technical difficulties, it was met with laughter and positive reviews from the audience.
Similarly, Bruce’s film experienced some “stuttering” and “freezing” initially, but was “able to play out”. The film portrayed an investigation of bakery related murders, receiving a positive audience response.
Dunnin confirmed the judges have been able to watch all films in full, and said “technical issues… were minor” and “only impacted the screening,” not the files themselves.
Showing the diversity of themes between films, B&G examined the difficulties young people face while dealing with anxiety. Crozier, from Bruce, commended the film’s “dark cinematic insight into anxiety”.
Conversely, Fenner centred on the mundanity of the 9-5 lifestyle, which Theophile described as “incredibly endearing and charming” and cited as one of his favourites.
He praised the lack of dialogue in the first half for creating a sense of “relatability with the audience of that feeling of isolation at university, despite the constant interaction[s] and busy [environment]”.
The ending, however, was “sweet” and made Theophile “feel like [he] had just watched a 7-minute hope-core TikTok.”
On a different tone, UniLodge produced a ‘revenge thriller,’ following two lovers competing for an internship position. The ending saw the protagonist about to kill her partner, before the screen cut to black.
Lanza remarked on the “gasp from the audience when they fell for the bait of an open-ended story” before their “initial hopes and fears being realised after credits”.
It is only revealed in the post-credits scene that the protagonist did in fact murder her partner.
In their first ever appearance in 40 Hours of Film, Yukeembruk Village presented a “comedic exploration of ANU’s seemingly lacklustre care for laundry facilities” according to Crozier.
In the film, the Head of Hall breaks his “pinky promise” to fix the washing machines. The protagonist contemplates doing their laundry in Sullivans Creek, before deciding to break into B&G instead and use the free laundry facilities.
Asked about IAC’s involvement in the competition, Dunnin stated that they “field questions… often related to the rules of the event,” such as limits on “actors… and copyrighted music”. They also “went around and took photos for most of the halls”.
Dunnin also expressed joy that the event was able to run “without COVID restrictions” for “the first time since 2020”.
“IAC exists to support the arts for ANU students… It was a great turnout for us, and we’re excited to keep building on the excitement students clearly have for our future events”.
Observer also asked contestants about their overall experience and what advice they’d give to students considering participating in future years.
Director Andrews said her “favourite part of the process was probably editing at 3am onwards.”
“There’s something really chaotic but wholesome about being incredibly sleep deprived with a team, editing your footage when you’re so delirious that you’re questioning why you entered 40 Hours [competition].”
She advised future participants to “keep learning from past director’s experiences” and stick to a schedule. The B&G team aimed to finish “script writing in the first three hours” before “filming that night” and “editing from midday the second day onwards,” according to Andrews.
Similarly, actor Theophile said Burgmann had a “structured script and shooting schedule” which allowed the event to run “a lot smoother…[and] very streamlined”. This made the cast’s lives “a lot easier” and “something [he] appreciated about [his] experience”.
IAC also collaborated with Taboo ANU, a “student-led charity” that helps raise both money and menstrual products for women in developing countries, fleeing domestic violence, and others in need. Taboo sold lolly bags at the event, and sold out by the end.
Dunnin said IAC plans to support Taboo again, but is “open to expanding to other charities” for future events. This includes Big Night Out (BNO), typically one of IAC’s most popular events. BNO is currently set to take place on Thursday Week 9, May 4 2023 at Willows Grass Area.
All 11 short films are available on IAC’s YouTube channel. Results are expected to be announced by IAC in the coming days.
An earlier version of this article contained incorrect information about the film’s time limits, and one of the three prompts. The article has been amended accordingly and we apologise for the error.
Photography and Graphics by Will Novak
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