There are a number of things one could do in 48 hours, but making an entire movie is probably not at the top of that list. Members of the UH Student Video Network were faced with a tough challenge to make a movie within 48 hours.
With a team of 19 others, SVN members Vanessa Phillips, Isaiah Peña, and Andrew Blake Cochran entered The 48 Hour Film Project — an annual international competition that promotes filmmakers and creativity — for the first time.
On a Friday night, they were assigned a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre that had to be included in their film. 48 hours later, they created “Tomorrow’s Hope,” a riveting road movie about two survivors racing against time to escape a chaotic wasteland in search of a “new city” where they will claim citizenship.
Media production senior Isaiah Peña made his directing debut with “Tomorrow’s Hope”. He drew inspiration from post-apocalyptic video games. Since “road movie” was the one genre he did not want assigned to him, he chose to include elements he found more interesting. Among those were science fiction, a femme fatale and thrilling moments. This was just the first challenge.
“Filming was like a sprint at four o’clock in the morning. Literally,” Peña said. “Half of the film is shot at night and so we were out in secluded areas from midnight to sunrise with only our headlights and camera flashes to light the way.”
The fairly large team worked well together despite hunger and lack of sleep. Peña even battled through a flat tire on the way to one of the last scenes.
The team was constantly on their toes. They completed the project by the skin of their teeth — with only about 45 minutes to spare.
About a week later, their film debuted at Studio Movie Grill in Houston’s City Center. The team, who took the name InFocus, swept the awards ceremony winning Best of Houston 2014, tying for Best Director and Best Cinematography, and Honorable Mention for the Audience Awards.
Phillips, a media production senior and executive producer of the film, received the news while in Los Angeles.
“Blake FaceTimed me in,” Phillips said. “They called our names for almost all of the awards. We were nominated, like, nine times.”
In March 2015, “Tomorrow’s Hope” will compete against winners of other cities in the nation at Filmapalooza in Hollywood for a chance to have their film screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Peña believes the eight-minute film has the potential to become a full-length feature film. “It’s got such a huge story,” Peña said.
The SVN students are very excited to take their work to Hollywood.
“SVN was the start of it all,” Phillips said. “It’s an awesome organization where like-minded people get together and make amazing stories to share with the world.”
For more information on joining the Student Video Network at UH, click here.