"Butterfly System" - our entry to a 48 hour film festival
April 19, 2011 11:38 AM   Subscribe

"Butterfly System" - our entry to a 48 hour film festival
Recently, a couple of hundred teams in London were given 48 hours to write, shoot and edit a 5 minute science fiction film. This is our entry... what do you think?

All of the editing and CGI was done in the small hours of Monday morning by people who'd been awake for upwards of forty hours straight, so I'm not sure how much of the story survived the process. If nothing else, it's very pretty :).

Imaginary cookies to anyone who can work out what the story is supposed to be!

The following are entries from other teams that made it onto the shortlist:
The White Box
No Escape
Sit in Silence
2 Years of Summer
The Intention of Miles
or all of them in a single playlist
Role: production / extra
posted by metaBugs (4 comments total)

Steampunk Matrix. Where's my cookie?

I thought this was a fun watch. The vocals have a bit too much effects to easily be made out, but then I watched it on my laptop, not sitting in a theater.

Great setting, and looks like people had fun with it. The acting was a higher level than I expected, but that could be because there really wasn't a lot of interaction.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:10 PM on April 24, 2011

Hey, fellow 48hr-er! I've done the competition three times up in Edinburgh as a writer, with varying levels of success in the final product :)

I thought your film looked great, sound was good, special effects nicely integrated, awesome location. I admit though, that I didn't understand the plot. It might be because I don't know much about Sci Fi so maybe I was missing some obvious tropes. One thing I remember learning the first year I did it though, was that you had to spell out the plot much more than I thought. I'd studied screenwriting a bit and had been told how you can trust viewers to join up the gaps and didn't have to state the obvious. I think we went a bit far in the opposite direction though and the result was a bit confusing. (Didn't help that we forgot to shoot one of the scenes - ha!).

Since I'm here, it's the perfect season and the perfect excuse for me to link to my favourite Edinburgh 48hr film, Egg Roll - technically far from perfect but so full of charm. Sadly not one of mine. (Beware, starts with a v. loud beep.)
posted by penguin pie at 9:18 AM on April 25, 2011

Oh, duh, sorry, you acknowledged the story holes in your post. Well, rest assured you're not alone!
posted by penguin pie at 9:19 AM on April 25, 2011

Yes, the original story was far, far too complicated for the available time. So far I think only two people have worked it out, and they're both heavily steeped in sci-fi and films generally.

It was envisaged as something like:

Steampunk matrix (well, enslaved by the machines but without the VR world to live in)
Guy escapes / gets broken away from the machine control by the resistance, who've all changed their slave tattoos to butterflies
[we see a countdown start]
Agent notices the countdown, grabs gun, heads out
Escapee gets persuaded to join the resistance and go back in to fight the system from within
[we see the countdown near zero]
...then gets shot by the Agent, to the horror of the resistance members.
[we see the countdown stop and see that it was for a weapon, mirrored by a countdown on the escapee himself]
Agent goes back to his work, destroys the record of the countdown and we see that he has a small butterfly tattoo; he was aligned with the resistance, knew that the escapee was unwittingly a walking bomb aimed at the resistance and had killed him to protect them.

We knew that squeezing it into five minutes was going to be difficult at best, and it didn't really survive the massively sleep-deprived editing process. We have good footage for all the missing establishing scenes and dialogue though, so at some point the editors on the team will probably put together a 10-20 minute version with all the story intact.

Next year's plot will be *much* simpler, of course! We did indeed have a fantastic time with it. Plus, getting to stay overnight in the steam museum with the guys staying overnight to supervise and run the machines for us was amazing.
posted by metaBugs at 6:26 AM on April 26, 2011

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