Sleepless for the big screen

Operating on no sleep and countless cups of coffee while working feverishly to add the finishing touches with a fast-approaching deadline is a situation all too familiar to any college student. The final product a team of GW students rushed to finish recently was not a term paper, but an original film.

The group of five students who call themselves The Flippet Family – seniors Alex DelSordo, Maddy Miller and Joe DeLeo and juniors Andrew Lennox and Gorgi Popstefanov – set out to create a three-minute original film for an online contest sponsored by Apple.

It was the second annual Insomnia Film Festival, and their only instructions were a deadline of 9 a.m. on Saturday Oct. 13 and a set of required elements released by Apple the day before.

Heading into the contest, the group had very little planned.

“We had a script the day before, but we didn’t know how it was going to go,” said DelSordo, who contributed as both a filmmaker and an actor to this project.

Henry Roosevelt, a former GW student founded The Flippet Family last year at GW for students who use film as a creative outlet. It came out of his wish to direct and produce a film for his thesis for his communication major and his film minor, but he ran into problems when the University would not loan him the video camera necessary to do so.

“They were cutting off the creative flow of interested students,” said Roosevelt, who invested his graduation and summer job money in camera equipment. The Flippet Family used his equipment to shoot their film.

The Flippet Family began by making a one-minute film last spring called “The Idiot” for the Concept2 and Row2K Video Contest, an online video contest for rowing teams, in which they won the popular vote and took second place overall.

“We wanted to build upon our success with (the Concept2/Row2k Video Contest), while at the same time stepping up the level of competition with the Insomnia Film Festival,” said Lennox, current rowing team leader.

The Insomnia winner’s prize consists of five MacBook Pro notebook computers and film editing software, as well as recognition from celebrity judges including award-winning directors James Mangold and Terry George. The celebrity judges will choose the winner on Nov. 9 out of the top 25 films by popular vote.

Despite their limitations, the group needed to produce a viable storyline complete with the required elements they chose to use, which were a Dutch camera angle (tilting the camera), the sound of radio static, a park bench as a prop and a musical score for their film.

Family member Popstfanoz took care of the music.

“They really needed a ballad-type song for the ending. It took me a little while to figure out how I wanted to do it, but when you have (the digital music program) Garage Band, it comes with a few good loops, so I crafted it to make my own,” Popstefanov said.

The end product is “No Connection,” the story of a guy having a great day and a girl having a horrible day cross over bad cell phone reception, complete with a violin-filled ballad at the end.

“The biggest challenge was definitely the 24-hour time frame. The film did not turn out exactly how we would have liked, but we are all still really happy with the final product,” Miller said.

Lennox added, “This competition is not the end, but rather a stepping stone towards other projects, specifically “PINCH,” a full-length movie we would like to make. Winning this competition would not only provide us with the resources but the recognition from inside Hollywood needed to create a successful full-length movie.”

To view “No Connection,” go to: edcommunity.apple.com/insomnia_fall07/item.php?itemID=334

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