Late Night Programming
I remember, when I was young, falling asleep in the pale blue glow of my family TV. I would wake up in the early hours of the morning in a daze, halfway between waking and sleeping, when I’d become aware of the images coming to life before me. Late night infomercials, old reruns of shows I’d never heard of; a mix of childhood wonder, dream logic, and fear mixing the unknown images into fearsome windows of the world.
Those memories are the biggest influences behind Static, a short film my friends and I made which won the 48 Hour Film Challenge held in Ithaca, New York, to coincide with the Ithaca International Fantastic Film Festival. When the opportunity came around to make a horror film in 48 hours, the idea came naturally to me.
The film, much like my experiences as a child, centers around a man who awakens in a daze to something unnatural playing on his TV. By the time the realizes the truth behind what he’s watching it’s too late, and his fate is sealed.
In less than 48 hours, myself and five other friends created Static from resources we had readily available to us. Shot in two nights and edited in one late-night marathon, the film was created on a budget less than $50. This was low budget filmmaking at its most basic level, making the best of what we had with what little was available: rented camera equipment, a wheelchair dolly, an old VCR, and plenty of fake blood. With only a four person crew and very few actors, the production was focused, frantic, and non-stop.
A few days later we got the news that we had won the Ithaca 48 Hour Film Challenge, and Static premiered at a downtown theater before the finale of the IIFFF. Before a sold-out crowd we watched the film we had created only hours ago. The experience was surreal, nerve-wracking, and incredibly rewarding. As young filmmakers still exploring the ropes of horror, being able to experience our labor of love with such a receptive audience was a great reward. It was an experience none of us had come close to going through before, and overall left us feeling empowered, reflecting on the process we went through and the possibilities that lied ahead.
Static explores a lot of the fears I felt as a child; a fear of the unknown, of invasion, and of something I couldn’t understand somehow taking power over me. Somehow, waking up in front of the TV in darkness, I always had the feeling that I was the one being watched, defenseless before an unthinking device that had power to put whatever it wanted before my eyes. Now, as an up and coming filmmaker, that power rests in my hands. With the ability to create images and worlds that capture an audience, who knows what path Static will lead me down.
Thank you for watching!