Wake Up, Cedar Rapids

The audience at the Corridor Filmmakers' 24-Hour Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Iowa's Creative Corridor.

I think of Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca when I think of film festivals. I don't usually think of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nor would really anyone else have reason to think that Cedar Rapids, Iowa would be home to a pretty cool film festival. 

That is starting to change, and it started this last week with the 24-Hour Film Festival from the Corridor Filmmakers group, led by Will Lenzen, Jr. Created as part of a celebration of "all that is creativity" – Creative Week - Will organized the festival that took place from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Rules included:

  • All submissions must be initially shot on a mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android phone, etc.)
  • A prop, announced at the start of the 24 hours
  • A phrase, also announced at the start of the 24 hours
Framegrab from our video.

My wife, Caitlin, was a huge partner in the project, but she wasn't too worried. As she told me, "I wasn't worried about the quick turnaround – I used to work in news."

At the screening on Saturday night, Will talked about the genesis of the project, saying that would-be filmmakers sometimes hold themselves back because they think they need expensive equipment to be successful. "More often than not, people create their own limitations. We have this amazing technology in our pockets all day, every day. I want people to realize they can create their art with something as simple as a pencil or as commonplace as a smartphone."

Framegrab from our video.

The actual production of our short film was fairly uneventful, although we did have one bump in the road when I accidentally deleted one of our shots and we didn't realize it until we were editing. By then, it was too late to go back and reshoot that particular scene, so we ran across the street and shot something else really quickly.

Our production schedule was shortened due to the fact that my wife and I were at the Social Brand Forum conference all day on Friday. We started writing the script around 8pm on Friday night and finished our shot list around midnight. Here's what Caitlin said about the production:

"We woke up the next morning before sunrise and continued shooting until 10am. We gave ourselves an hour and a half to edit, with 30 minutes to double-check everything and export the final video. What really saved us was that we wrote a shot schedule and kept to it. We had 5-7 locations and only 3 hours to shoot video so we had to map out our shots in advance and stick to our schedule."

Caitlin had some great final thoughts on the whole event as well:

“It was fun, there were a lot of great videos and I’m glad we participated. I think each of us took home a valuable lesson – don’t set your own limitations, because creativity can be found everywhere.”

Not only was it fun, but it is bringing a lot of fresh ideas to both of our video production at work. Forcing us all to sometimes think of simpler ways of accomplishing a goal is a good thing! 

Enjoy! You can watch the video below: