48 Hour Film Project Wrap-up

Normally, I operate under the belief that 9 a.m. simply doesn’t exist. There are exceptions to this rule, like doctor appointments and all-night writing-a-thons, when the work load gets a little beyond my weekend capacity. And then there’s judging the films from Asheville’s 48 Hour Film Project—or at least that was the case this year, which found me driving around Biltmore Village by 8:45 a.m. and deciding that whatever the cost (or the embarrassment of handing my 11-year-old clunker over to someone), the valet parking at the Asheville Grand Bohemian Hotel was worth it, especially since I was due to meet my fellow judges, Tommy Calloway (from 98.1 The River) and Marcianne Miller (movie critic for Bold Life), at 9 a.m.

By 9 a.m. my mood was mellowed by finding a sufficient supply of coffee in the conference room the hotel had provided, and the three of us—along with Asheville festival producer MK Harrison—settled in to watch the 22 of the 30 entries that had made it in on time.

For those not familiar with the festival’s judging process, there are some very specific guidelines participants must follow. Judges have to be sure that the film makes use of a common line of dialogue (this year it was, “I wish I had an answer for you”), prop (glue) and character (Lefty or LeAnn Lober, ballplayer)—and that the films adhere to whatever genre the teams have drawn. Not only do these elements have to be included in the film, but the films are judged in part on how well or cleverly they’re used. Other factors that come into play are your more traditional categories, like writing, directing, acting, cinematography etc.

This was my third year as a judge, and as usual I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the entries, but then I’m impressed that anyone can create anything that’s even watchable in 48 hours—and most of these were much more than merely watchable. I was also more than a little surprised by the clever variations on what “ballplayer” meant, since my own mind tends to default to “baseball player” when I hear that term. Fortunately, not everyone’s does, or we might have been faced with too much of the same thing.

The big winner this year was Team Pandemonium’s Nostalgia. They snagged Best Film, Best Director (Michael Santoro), Best Actress (Alexandra La Belle), Best Use of Prop, and won an Audience Award in the bargain. Team leader Santoro, a 20-year-old motion picture and pelevision production major from Western Carolina University, and his crew drew the Suspense/Thriller genre. From this they created a genuinely stylish—and downright creepy, albeit slyly humorous—horror thriller set in an old-style diner. It truly was, without question, the most completely accomplished of the entries.

That’s not to say that there were no other films of merit. There certainly were. Other strong contenders were Gromance from LYLAS, The Left-Handed Way from The FBI, The Silver Slugger from The Young Adults and Wicket Intention from Team Just in It for Gift Certificates. The cleverness and creativity was all around very good—even remarkable. Even the lesser entries had their moments and, as always, I was surprised by how quickly the time passed while watching the films.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Use of Character
The Silver Slugger by The Young Adults
Best Use of Prop
Nostalgia by Pandemonium
Best Use of Line of Dialogue
Sister by Doubletree Mules
Best Song
Wicket Intention by Team Just in It for Gift Certificates
Best Makeup
Wicket Intentions by Team Just in it for Gift Certificates
Best Storyline
The Left Handed Way by The FBI
Best Opening Sequence
Stuck by Rounddog
Best Use of Location
The Left Handed Way by The FBI
Best Costumes
The Left Handed Way by The FBI
Best Choreography
Stuck by Rounddog
Best Special Effects
The Ball Player by Fruitcake
Best Graphics
The Silver Slugger by The Young Adults
Best Sound Design
That’s The Junk by Hustlemania
Best Musical Score
Gromance by LYLAS
Best Cinematography
Gromance by LYLAS
Best Editing
The Silver Slugger by The Young Adults
Best Actress
Alexandra La Belle, as Nancy in Nostalgia by Pandemonium
Best Actor
Matt Shepard, as Lefty Lober/Radiobroadcaster in The Silver Slugger by The Young Adults
Best Ensemble Acting
Gromance by LYLAS
Best Writing
Gromance by LYLAS
Best Directing
Nostalgia by Pandemonium
Best Film
Nostalgia by Pandemonium
Audience Award Winner: Group A
Gromance by Lylas
Audience Award Winner: Group B
Nostalgia by Pandemonium
Audience Award Winner: Group C
Wicket Intentions by Team Just in It for Gift Certificates



About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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5 thoughts on “48 Hour Film Project Wrap-up

  1. Marcianne Miller

    It was an honor and great fun to be one of the judges. The enormous range of filmmaking talent in Asheville is totally amazing. I wish there was some way that everyone in town could see these films. Congrats to all.
    Marcianne Miller

  2. Ken Hanke

    And, of course, the films were screened at Asheville Pizza and Brewing.

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