48HFP Filmmaking Around the World--Rachel Faircloth Went from Seattle to MelbourneMonday, January 11, 2021
As a global filmmaking competition, the 48 Hour Film Project gives you the opportunity to make films on six continents. Once you've made a film or two on your home turf, why not explore new places. The 48HFP recently caught up with Rachel Faircloth, a Seattle filmmaker who has competed in the US and Australia. She is just one of many 48ers who have made films in multiple cities. It's not only a great way to build your film resume, but a way to meet and work with new people in the industry.
48HFP: Can you let us know who you are and what you do?
Faircloth: I'm Rachel Faircloth, a long time Seattleite and I’m a filmmaker.
I’m also one-half of the puppet duo “The Magic Atmosphere,” the other half being the uber funny and talented Kirsten Buckman.
By day I’m a desk jockey, working administrative jobs to support myself and my film “habits” and currently searching for an opportunity to work in TV/Film/Media Writing and Producing.
48HFP: How did you get started in the 48?
Faircloth: After I completed my Film & Video Production courses at the University of Washington, I joined some classmates of mine to participate in the 48. We formed a team and successfully completed a film in 48 hours – it was a real eye-opening experience to be involved in this fast and furious event and I distinctly remember we took turns napping during the editing process that seemed to drag on forever as we were all still green at Final Cut and production in general.
We stuck it out and were pleased with our final product, and ultimately it was a bonding experience for everyone.
48HFP: How many times have you made a 48 Hour film?
Faircloth: To date I have participated in 14 48’s (that’s including four Horrors). For my first 48 in 2006, I served as an Associate Producer and PA, then I transitioned to acting roles between 2010-2016, and in 2017 I transitioned to a Team Leader and a Writer/Director/Producer/DP/Editor/and…Puppeteer (because why not?).
48HFP: What was your most memorable experience participating a 48?
Faircloth: There are many experiences that come to mind, but I would have to say the 2019 48HFP stands out.
That year we had a hiccup with our location and we weren’t able to begin filming until around 3pm on Saturday (NOT recommended). I distinctly recall it was after 1pm and Kirsten and I were sitting in a bar sipping on drinks and I thought, “Well, at least we’re supporting local business.” I was beginning to feel this would be the first 48 that I signed up for that would not be completed.
Due to losing so much time, we decided to make our film a music video in addition to the film de femme genre we had drawn – this really freed us up from recording any dialogue/audio while filming since it would all be done in the editing room. Otherwise, I don’t think we would have finished, plus we had also filmed in a park where we could not control the noises around us, so I think we made the right choice for our situation.
We ended up winning Audience Favorite for our screening group and The Buffy Award (presented by Women In Film – Seattle) …it was essentially a journey from mild panic to success.
Although, I think anyone who has completed a film in 48 hours is a success!
Watch the 2019 award-winning film "Fix My Heart" by The Magic Atmosphere
48HFP: Tell us about making a 48 in Melbourne.
Faircloth: In 2011-2012 I was in Australia and my friend and roommate, Marco Boerner, informed me that Melbourne was one of the many cities participating in the 48, he immediately recruited me and another roommate to form a team. We also recruited a film student to PA, I think from one of the 48 mixers.
Honestly, the process in general was pretty parallel to my early 48 experiences in Seattle: you go to a 48 mixer to network, you start filming waaaaay later than you intended, something you didn’t foresee causes a standstill, you get tired then hit your 8th wave of delirium that powers you through (plus maybe a bit of migraine medicine) …all these things happened in Melbourne just as they had in my previous experiences.
So, to me that reinforces the idea that filmmaking is filmmaking just about anywhere you go – there are guiding principles and forces that come with this collaborative art no matter where you do it.
And most likely you will be eating pizza at some point in the process.
48HFP: Why do you keep doing it?
Faircloth: There are several reasons!
It’s almost always a sure bet that you will have a finished product, a movie will be made in one weekend! Sometimes it’s hard to find people who are willing to commit to a film project that spans weeks or months, but with the 48 you can typically find talented people who are willing to commit 48 hours (or some part of that) to making a film. It can also be an opportunity to experiment with something new, whether that is puppetry, animation, working with new people or different kinds of equipment (but practice using it first!) or layering a genre you haven’t done before with the genre you’ve been assigned.
It’s definitely a unique experience each time you do a 48 – something will invariably go wrong or take at least two hours longer than you thought it would even though you may have already done several of these before. It can be a humbling process, but I like to think of it as good conditioning and always a chance to improve your filmmaking and teamwork skills.
Additionally, it’s a great way to build your body of work, slap it on the ol’ resume and let that be your stepping stone to the next project.
Finally, seeing a film on the silver screen that YOU helped create is just flat out an amazing feeling!
Learn more about Rachel and her puppeteer partner in crime Kirsten Buckman at http://facebook.com/themagicatmosphere.
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