(Editor’s Note — Buffalo’s 48 Hour Film Project has wrapped up and now turns to the big screen as premieres will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday Aug. 20, at North Park Theater on Hertel Avenue. 1120 Press writer Benjamin Joe spoke with Buffalo filmmakers Giuseppe Ingrao and Greg Chittenden about the event and their experience making a movie from beginning to end in a two-day span. Tickets for the project’s screenings are available HERE. — Photos by Benjamin Joe.)
Minutes before the 48 Hour Film Project kicked off on Friday evening, the Buffalo
film duo of Greg Chittenden and Giuseppe Ingrao still didn’t exactly know what to expect. They weren’t yet assigned their genre by project organizers, so they didn’t even know what kind of film they were going to make. All they knew was they had 48 hours to make it.
But that doesn’t mean they weren’t ready. In fact, Ingrao and Chittenden were chomping at the bit. So, when the time finally came and they were provided all the elements they were told to include in their picture — the genre, the prop that organizers required them to work into their film and a line of provided dialogue they were forced to fit into their script — they hit the ground running.
“Our genre was dark comedy/climate change,” Ingrao said. “We were excited as one of our producers, Fanchon Drayton, had previously expressed interest in these genres — especially climate change as the film ‘Don't Look Up’ was the same genre style. So as a team, we knew exactly what we were dealing with, and we had a great time with the cast and crew creating our script in a writing-table setting.”
As each minute ticked, their deadline drew closer. All movies had to be finished and delivered by 7:30 Sunday evening. But, rather than stress, the two filmmakers and their crew — dubbed ‘Captain Unique Productions’ — thrived under the pressure.
“The amount of time was interesting,” said Ingrao. “A lot of our crew and cast had not done a project like this, so this was a learning experience for a lot of people, as well as a wonderful networking and bonding project for us all.”
“It’s something you really can’t do prepping,” Chittenden. “There can be nothing done creatively until the (first) night starts. The only things you can do is get your crew together, get your equipment together and basically, if you want, you can scout out the locations of where you want to film.”
As filmmakers participating in the 48 Hour Project raced across town to choose where to shoot, the Captain Unique Productions crew wisely chose from the resources they had at their disposal.
“We shot in Clarence Center where my cousin owns a beautiful home and supporting footage from the Apollo Media Center. One of our DPs, Cat Martinez, is an employee, and she was able to acquire a second location,” said Ingrao. “In regard to my cousin's home, I thought it was a perfect setting for the film.”
Heading into the project, Chittenden and Ingrao felt they had a secret weapon in their actors, with whom they worked on a previous film called '4-2=2' and who already shared a unique chemistry and special bond. That movie was born from a dream Ingrao had one night of “two young kids in their twenties, living together. There used to be four roommates. Suddenly two are missing.”
Rather than come up with a feature-long script, Ingrao said he wanted to feel “care-free” and opted to turn his dream into an improv session. And from the moment the first line dropped, the filmmakers said, magic started happening between the two actors.
“They felt liberated,” Ingrao said.
“(They) just had the talent to pull it off,” Chittenden said. “It almost felt natural to them. We would say ‘action’ and they would just automatically (go to it). Like they have this comradery between the two actors, and they would just go back and forth. I’d look at Giuseppe and be like, ‘are you going to stop them? They could go all day!’ They were doing it, literally, on the fly.”
The two men started their partnership while Ingrao was working at a grocery store, and they were introduced. Chittenden went to school for film, Ingrao was a “writing machine,” and together they were able to make a couple of music videos.
Now, with more films in the works, they’re feeling their stride as each project moves into the next and they await their upcoming premiere at North Park Theater, which will take place Saturday.
“The finished product is great,” Ingrao said. “Everyone really enjoyed what we came up with. We do have an extended version of the film that we will be releasing after the screening… We can't wait to continue working together and come back next year.”