A group of Sunshine Coast film enthusiasts who last month joined forces to write, shoot and edit a movie in 48 hours have premiered their work at Vancouver’s Rio Theatre.
The annual Run N Gun filmmaking competition invites teams to create short movies under extreme time constraints. The six-minute film produced by Team Sunshine Goats was titled Corporate Retreat: The Story of Shovel Jack.
Seven cast members, supported by another eight contributors behind the scenes, devised a comedic tale of an office team-building exercise gone awry. Manic self-preservation efforts and ill-fated attempts to outwit work colleagues make the plot a madcap version of Lord of the Flies.
According to director and producer Marc Buzzell, team members connected through their mutual passion for audiovisual production. Several attended Capilano University’s film program in the early 2000s. Others currently work in the media industry, designing sets or producing current affairs programming for television.
It was the first time that the group united to enter the Run N Gun competition, which this year attracted more than 70 short film submissions.
“We all kind of do our own thing, but we all met up [on the contest weekend of June 3 to 5] and just had a great time,” said Buzzell.
To prevent filmmakers from preparing material in advance, each team that competed in Run N Gun was given three surprise elements to include. Sunshine Goats had to incorporate the theme of urban legends, a prop shovel, and a specific line of dialogue: “This is the stuff that (blank) are made of.”
At the start of the 48-hour filmmaking period, contest organizers announced the rules and constraints via a video livestream.
“Once the contest started, we were 15 people in my living room just blurting out ideas at each other,” said Buzzell. “I don’t even know how that’s possible, for 15 people to come up with a story, but it happened and it was amazing. We actually had a pretty funny concept within a few hours of all being together.”
After drafting a script, the teammates adjourned until dawn. Buzzell had previously scouted a location in a forest clearing off the B & K logging road in Roberts Creek. “We didn’t know what we were going to do originally,” recalled Buzzell, “but we thought it would be super cool to do something in the woods. And also because we’re competing against Vancouver, which is a pretty urban centre, we could use the woods to switch it up a little bit to our advantage.”
Rain started to fall near the end of the 12-hour shoot. Buzzell and fellow editor Rob Levesque began to assemble the footage immediately, aided by post-production contributors Laura Clarke, Brian Hubenig and Brittany Broderson. Minutes before the deadline, Buzzell’s computer crashed and required impromptu hardware maintenance. The team exported their video and uploaded proof of completion just one minute before the final deadline.
Contest rules permit audio sweetening after the original submission, which was completed by professional sound designer Christopher Cleator at Howe Sound Post Audio.
The film was screened alongside 15 other submissions during the competition’s All Ages Show at the Rio Theatre on July 4. “We didn’t make the final, unfortunately,” said Buzzell. “But it was really fun just to see the reactions of people, laughing at everything in the movie.”
Team Sunshine Goats plans to re-assemble for next year’s competition. “Because this contest has a firm timeline,” said Buzzell, “and everyone who enters is going to screen, it’s easy to get people to jump on board.”