Emerson 48 Hour Film Festival

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be watching myself acting on an AMC movie theater screen eating a banana. Low and behold, it happened, and I’m only a second semester freshman. I guess that’s just the life of a film student.

My personal experience during the 48 Hour Film Festival could probably be summed up in two words: exciting and exhausting. You would think that making a three minute film in 48 hours was pretty simple, but it was far from it. Every group was assigned a different genre to work with, so the films all varied greatly in style, mood, and theme. Our team was given mockumentary as the genre, and luckily, our idea for the film came instantaneously. We created a mockumentary about “bro culture” explaining the life of typical frat boys in their natural habitats. It was designed to be an adaptation of the Planet Earth documentary, giving it a tribal atmosphere which was perfect for describing frat boys. Therefore, we named the film Planet Bro.

the flip

I decided I wanted to get involved any way that I could, so I acted. I’m not a good actress, but luckily the entire film had a voiceover in the background, so I didn’t need to worry about actually speaking. My acting experience began at 5:45 in the morning. Waking up super early was definitely not my idea of a fun, but after some coffee and a Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast croissant, I was ready to go.

It turned out that getting our outside shots at 7:30 in the morning was perfect because the lighting was impeccable. During this time, I made my first acting debut in two different shots. One included walking by the “bros” and giving them a judgemental glare while the other one was of me giving the middle finger to a bro. It was pretty easy to do, and hilarious to watch once it was edited together.

Once we got our outside shots done, we made our way over to our director’s house in Newton, MA. Our director, Jonah Kaplan, said that “one of the hardest parts about creating the film was getting a location that would give the film a real frat house appeal. This needed to be done in order to make the whole film aesthetically pleasing.” We ended up transforming his living room and his garage to create a fraternity like setting.

Everything had to be considered, including the lighting, the music, the time of day of certain shots, and the wardrobe. It was extremely important to make sure all of these things were perfect in order to make the whole film unified and coherent.

Everyone played an equally important role in the pre-production, production, and post production of the film. One of the best roles in my opinion was played by played by Jonah Kaplan’s father. He played the Brofessor of Sociology, and became the leader of all the bros in the room. My favorite part was getting to see him walk in with smoke coming out from behind him and induct one of the bros into the fraternity. It was so exaggerated, but yet so perfect at the same time. His willingness to even act the part was incredible as well.

I played the role of the entire female population. This was inevitable because I was one of the few girls that was available to act. So as you watch the film, make sure to spot me giving the middle finger, smoking a cigarette, and eating a banana! Why do I keep bringing up the banana? Bananas were the required object that every group had to incorporate into their production. Every group also had to include the word alcove in their dialogue. After seeing all the films in the AMC theater, I was pretty tired of having to see bananas and having to hear the word alcove.

When it came time to watching all the films on the big screen, I had no idea how our film would compare to everyone else’s, or even if we had a shot of getting any award. There were about 40 groups that competed against one another, each team being allowed a minimum of three and a maximum of six members. Even though we had a max of six people already signed up to work on the film, there were about six other people helping out as well. For us, it didn’t matter who would get the prize in the end if we won, it was just about being a part of the experience.

Others who worked on the film agreed with me. Johnathan Gabert, the main bro of the film said, “Acting in this film made me understand everyone’s skill sets and how one could not have been done without the other. In the end, it allowed for us to create something great.” Jonah added, “Seeing our work become a reality on the big screen in such a short amount of time was definitely my favorite part creating the film.”



Many films got awards like “Most Comedic”, “Best Cinematography”, and “Best Acting”. After hearing all of those awards called and then hearing that our group came in first place overall was a shocking but incredible honor. We couldn’t have been more thrilled about the results. Coming in first place overall, especially as an all freshman group, was not an easy thing to do. No person could had made it possible without the other.

Even though my main role of the film was just an actress, I felt just as involved as everybody else. I had the chance to work with some very talented people and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I highly recommend participating in the 48 Hour Film Festival next semester if you haven’t already. I will definitely be getting more involved in the upcoming semesters!

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