Sunshine Coast filmmakers race to shoot an urban legend in 48 hours

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A group of Sunshine Coast moviegoers who joined forces last month to write, shoot and edit a film in 48 hours premiered their work at the Rio Theater in Vancouver.

The annual Run N Gun filmmaking competition invites teams to create short films under extreme time constraints. The six-minute film produced by Team Sunshine Goats was titled Corporate Retreat: Shovel Jac’s Storyk.

Seven cast members, supported by eight other behind-the-scenes contributors, crafted a comedic story of an office team-building exercise gone wrong. Manic efforts at self-preservation and ill-fated attempts to outsmart co-workers turn the plot into a crazy version of Lord of the Flies.

According to director and producer Marc Buzzell, the team members bonded over their shared passion for audiovisual production. Several attended Capilano University’s film program in the early 2000s. Others are currently working in the media industry, designing sets or producing current affairs programs for television.

It was the first time the group had come together to take part in the Run N Gun contest, which this year drew more than 70 short film submissions.

“We all do our own thing, but we all met [on the contest weekend of June 3 to 5] and I just had a great time,” Buzzell said.

To prevent the filmmakers from preparing material in advance, each team that participated in Run N Gun was given three surprise items to include. Sunshine Goats was to incorporate the theme of urban legends, a prop shovel, and a specific line of dialogue: “It’s the stuff that (white) is made of.”

At the start of the 48-hour filming period, contest organizers announced the rules and constraints via a live video stream.

“Once the contest started, there were 15 of us in my living room brainstorming ideas,” Buzzell said. “I don’t even know how it’s possible for 15 people to make up a story, but it happened and it was amazing. We actually had a pretty fun concept a few hours after we were all together .

After writing a script, the teammates adjourned until dawn. Buzzell had previously spotted a location in a forest clearing the B&K logging road in Roberts Creek. “At first we didn’t know what we were going to do,” Buzzell recalls, “but we thought it would be super cool to do something in the woods. And also because we’re competing with Vancouver, which is a nice urban center, we could use the woods to change it up a bit to our advantage.

The rain started falling towards the end of the 12-hour shoot. Buzzell and fellow editor Rob Levesque immediately began assembling the footage, 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 allow audio sweetening after the original submission, which was done by professional sound designer Christopher Cleator of Howe Sound Post Audio.

The film was screened alongside 15 other submissions during the competition’s all-ages show at the Rio Theater on July 4. “We unfortunately didn’t make the final,” Buzzell said. “But it was really fun to see people’s reactions, laughing at everything in the movie.”

The Sunshine Goats team plans to reunite for next year’s competition. “Because this contest has a specific timeline,” Buzzell said, “and everyone who enters will be onscreen, it’s easy to get people to enter.”

More information on the Run N Gun competition and Corporate Retreat: Shovel Jack’s Story is available online at rngfest.com.

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