Adieu to the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project — Until 2008

The BIG DAY … una vez más. If Tuesday's 48 Hour Film Project wasn't hairy enough, you might want to revisit it with the 48 Hour Film Project “Best of” Screening & Awards Ceremony. I know I did.

I spent today folding the last of the programs. I bought 13 gift bags and filled them with the modicum of swag I had. I even drove to Wal-Mart (yes, fucking Wal-Mart) to buy some frames for all the awards I'd printed up. 19 awards. 19 frames. Add the gift bags, and it seems I'm burdening myself with some serious over-head which will cut into my meager profit of the whole endeavor. But, really, I would feel like a royal piker if I just handed out limp printed paper — “Here ya go, sport, try not to wrinkle it.”

Carlos and Adrian came by to help me with the set-up for the event. I'm glad Carlos was able to see some of the 48 films. He wasn't able to make the screening on Tuesday because he was on set, I believe, in Austin. Unfortunately Carlos' film didn't make the audience's cut to move on to tonight's screening, but he decided to show up to see what his peers were up to.

We got to Urban-15 at about 5:30. I knew that George was inside involved with a board meeting, or something important like that. So we waited until someone came out. After five minutes Catherine and her son Antonio drove up. The meeting was going on in the basement, so we started setting things up in the sanctuary (aka, the performance space), and the Yellow Room (aka the Mirror Room) — the Yellow Room is where Urban-15 sets up A/V equipment for people in wheelchairs; one day they hope to get an elevator, but this is the best they can do at the present.

As I was setting up the box office area, Amy showed up. She wanted to volunteer her son, Douglas. He's pretty young, but Amy wants to get him involved volunteering in arts projects to help get him into NESA (one of the arts magnets in San Antonio). They turned out to be indispensable working the front of the house. I put Adrian upstairs tearing tickets and passing out programs. Carlos helped out doing whatever needed to be done at any given moment. Like any good filmmaker, he's flexible and can move seamlessly from task to task.

Around 6:30 things were getting fairly intense. The space was filling up fast. Catherine was asking if I thought we should move the plastic adirondack chairs up into the orchestra pit. I said yes. And at that moment Travis arrived. He asked what he could go to help. I turned him over to Catherine.

And then my Masters of Ceremony showed up. Jade Esteban Estrada. “Gay Latin Icon” is, I believe, how some reviewer designated him. His own website (www.getjaded.com) is less effusive: “Jade Esteban Estrada, the Master Entertainer.” I'm willing to agree with both. But there can be no dispute that the guy looks great in a tux. We went into the upstairs lobby and talked over the night's agenda. He'd already researched the whole history of the 48 Hour Film Project. Wow. He certainly came prepared!

George was busy patching a microphone into the sound system for Jade. I took Carlos over to the video player and soundboard and let him run tech.

When I mentioned the awards certificates, Jade asked to see them. He didn't care that I had them in an ugly blue plastic storage bin. I offered to stack them on the stage. He said that would be much better. When he wondered if he would have an assistant to help with the certificates, I muttered something about how I could do it. Jade, ever the consummate professional, didn't skip a beat. “Perhaps there's some glamorous person in the audience we could ask.” I agreed with him. No one wants to see or hear me. “You know many of the beautiful extroverts in this room, Jade,” I said. “Think of who would be good.”

“Well, I think I saw Vanessa Reyes around here somewhere….”

“Great,” I said. “She's gorgeous and engaging.”

“There she is,” Jade said. “But, oh, she's wearing blue.”

I had no idea what he meant by that. “But blue is good. Let's ask her — she'll be a hit. What's not to love? Just look at her!”

We asked, and Vanessa agreed.

I had to rush away because we were getting too many people coming in. I began cautioning the people lining up that it might be standing room only.

The full audience number was probably 140. It did indeed become standing room only. At 7:30, when the screening was officially to begin, we shut the doors with a “Sold Out” sign outside.

When Jade began doing his thing, it all smoothed out. He's a truly gifted performer. Intuitive, charismatic, and eminently watchable.

The night would have given me a fresh ulcer were it not for Jade controlling the audience, Amy running the box-office, and Carlos handling the video / audio. I can't thank those guys enough!

We broke for an intermission midpoint. And like most every other Urban-15 event, the audience was invited to the basement space for complementary aguas frescas, which are always deliciously designed by George Cisneros.

After the break we had some drawing for door prizes. And then the second half of the films began.

And just like the Tuesday screening, I was nervously pacing about. I nosed around trying to see how I could be of use.

Eventually the films ended. And Jade began to do his stuff again. I only wish we could have given him a spotlight.

I took loads of bad photos of the event. Lee was busy snapping away as well. If it's okay with him, I'll post some of his photos on a later blog.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My favorite photo ops have to be iChingao Productions (these kids are pumped and a little crazy — they are also damn good filmmakers); Fat Bird Productions (students from Saint Mary's Hall with the help of their teacher, Carol Parker, who is not just the director of this piece, but also gives us a very cute and quirky performance as the antagonist of the piece); and Princess (three filmmakers from Brackenridge High School — all guys — who did a wonderful meditation of growing up that swept the audience awards of group B). I guess I like these three teams because I met all these kids at the Josiah Youth Media Festival earlier in the summer. They might be kids, but they are serious about what they are doing.

After all the awards were handed out, I wandered around shaking hands when people offered. And I made sure that those people who were still hanging around who I felt I could ask to help with the clean up were roped into a quick shut down of the event. Mostly we were moving chairs down to the basement. Carlos, Adrian, Pete, Marcus, and Antonio moved damn fast. Seven minutes, I'm guessing, and we were all ready to pour out a celebratory bottle of wine and toast the success of the night.

Congratulations to all those involved — filmmakers, crew, actors, sponsors, audiences members, the helpful folks in the local media, and the volunteers. I take all responsibilities for the rough edges in this first year of the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project, and I want to thank all of you for those very frequent moments when this whole production moved smoothly.

Let's to it again next year!

@@@@@@@@

Here are the awards presented:

Best Film Audience Award Group A: Dating Danielle
Best Film Audience Award Group B: Golden Birthday
Best Costumes was a tie: Trick or Tweet; No Man's Land.
Best Musical Score: Last Chance
Best Special Effects: Golden Birthday
Best Graphics: Dream Job
Best Use of Line of Dialogue: Dating Danielle
Best Use of Prop: Trick or Tweet
Best Use of Character: Dead Man's Hand
Best Sound Design: Cat of the Month
Best Cinematography: No Man's Land
Best Acting: Cat of the Month
Best Editing: Reflection
Best Writing was a tie: Dating Danielle; Blinding
Best Directing: Last ChanceBest
Best Film: Reflections

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