Aliens Speaking French Win G.M. ‘Film Slam’
This was first published in the Herald of Randolph March 24, 2016.
Last year, my filmmaker husband hosted the 48 Hour Film Slam, as part of the Green Mountain Film Festival, held in Montpelier every spring.
Production teams come from all over to meet Friday night of the festival and, with no pre-planning, have 48 hours to create a short film, set entirely within Montpelier city limits, after drawing a random genre out of a hat.
Every film must include: the same prop, the same selected line from an old movie, and a brief appearance of one particular location, kept secret by the judges until the start of the contest.
Watching the end results, our boys fell in love with the Film Slam and begged us to let our family enter this spring, so this year we rounded up our team, added my two sisters AND their babies, and joined the maniacal process.
We drew “Foreign Film.” None of us speak anything other than English, but off we went, to Panera Bread (they hate us now) to brainstorm. With four young children as our actors, the challenge was set! The kids shot down every idea we adults came up with, continually insisting that they wanted to be aliens. We continually reexplained that we didn’t pick the Sci-Fi category, we picked Foreign Film, but no matter, they were determined, and we HAD decided that the kids’ fun would be the priority on this project. So … aliens it was. With lots of baguettes, and a French twist.
Forty-eight hours of insanity followed. The story line was written, we covered a Montpelier friend’s entire dining room in tin foil, we scattered baguette crumbs from one end of the city to the other. We hoisted my toddler nephew (wearing a red beret, of course) with a harness to make him fly, and we spent a lot of time with Google Translate.
We worked hard, we squabbled hard, we laughed hard, and on Sunday night, I was proud (and rather shocked!) to find that, despite the fact that none of us can actually speak French, and dubiously agreeing to cast the children as aliens in the most bizarre, short, French movie ever, our Tunbridge-based team managed to snag first place!
With not nearly enough sleep and the oddest cast in the whole competition, I’m still a bit unsure how we pulled it off, (my sister, Myra Hudson, is an editing genius) but the audience laughed so hard that they luckily missed most of our ridiculously bad French. “L’Abduction” was a hit.
And that’s what I did this weekend, teacher.