Lights, camera and 48 hours of non-stop action
The weekend has arrived but, instead of relaxing, hundreds of people will be frantically making films.
The Rialto Channel 48 Hours film-making competition challenges teams to make a film in just two days and the contestants were unleashed at 7pm last night.
Last year's winners were back for more under the moniker Elysium Exit.
"We've re-formed the band. Got everyone back," Jake Ngawaka said.
"We just go as wild as possible, be creative and try and do something different because there's so many movies with the same line and the same characters."
Last year they got about five hours' sleep during the weekend, perhaps because as well as making the film they record their own soundtrack.
The team members all hail from Hamilton but many are now living elsewhere.
So, despite the pressure, the challenge is a chance to get back together.
Each team member - including Jordan Browne, who was missing when the Waikato Times caught up with them - has an area of expertise, from singing to acting or cinematography.
But they direct together and it seems to work.
"We sort of think alike," Ngawaka said.
And they're determined to get to the national finals this year.
So the simple, thought-provoking style that had audiences quizzing them last year is one they plan to stick to.
"We don't tell you the whole story. We tell you part of it and you have to figure it out," Moehau Hodges-Tai said.
Elysium Exit is one of 59 teams entered in Hamilton and last night all were given a film genre, plus a line, prop and a character to creatively include in their piece.
For example, a team could end up making a one-shot movie featuring the line "We've got to get out of here", a birthday card and Nicky the hypochondriac, Hamilton city manager Hazel Gibson said.
Some of the contestants - the youngest of whom were about 7 - would stay up the full 48 hours to make the deadline of 7pm on Sunday, Gibson said.
"At exactly 7pm we shut the doors. If you run and you hit the door as it closes in your face, tough. You're out. It's really ruthless."
One team that would have extra ground to cover was Otumoetai College's Studio 48, which would be filming and editing in the Bay of Plenty.
Its members planned to use the drive back for brainstorming.
"It's just the sleep I'm worried about because apparently you only get one hour of sleep a night," first-time entrant Zach Hodkinson, 13, said.
The heats for the finished films are next week, but only open to cast and crew.
Hamilton finalists' films will be shown on Thursday, May 1, at Event Cinemas Chartwell, at 8.30pm.
- Waikato Times