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At What Cost - A 48 Hour Film Project

Since 2001, The 48 Hour Film Project has been an annual international film competition taking place across hundreds of cities a year around the world.  This was my team's first 48 Hour Film Project.  I learned about it through a fellow youth filmmaker just one week prior.  After pulling together our cast and crew we were ready to take on this challenge.  We were assigned the "Family Film" genre, and we produced a short film in just 48 Hours.  At What Cost.


At What Cost is a film that follows Emma Beckett.  She really wants to become popular on social media, but finds she is struggling to do so.  She agonizes over this to her friend Micah Ash, who has found success with social media.  She gives Emma some advice and although Emma thinks it may be wrong, she goes through with it.  Emma later realizes what a strain this may have put on her relationship with her beloved brother, Matteo.

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Director's Notes

by Jack Kukolic


The 48 Hour Film Challenge was a project different from every other film project that I have shot.  The time constraints, along with the restrictions including genre, required character, required line AND required prop made it all the more challenging for us. 


We began the process at 7 pm on a Friday night, in a Tim Hortons of course.  We spent the night brainstorming ideas to find out what we could do well in the allotted time that fit our genre.  We knew this part was extremely important as the story drives everything you do.  It was an exhausting night of writing.  We originally had a goal of finishing the script by midnight so our actors would be able to have a read before they went to sleep but that quickly changed as we struggled to shape our ideas into a script.  Our writing process ended at about 4:30 am, with us quickly going to sleep to prep for our 7 am call time.

Our cast and crew began work on Saturday at 7 am sharp following COVID-19 guidelines.  Between getting their hair and makeup done, the actors were reading through the script with my writer/camera op/assistant editor: Emma Pascu.  Making changes they felt necessary for their role and getting to know the scenes that we would be shooting that day.

Our shooting day ended up going until about 1:30 am.  After clean-up,  we finished at 3:30 am.  The next day would be left up to myself and my assistant editor to put all this hard work together, with the 7 pm deadline looming.  Working straight through the day we were able to export the project and upload our finished film with just six minutes to spare.  It felt absolutely unbelievable to had really finished a full short film in just 48 hours.   


At What Cost was a fantastic experience for everyone involved.  I could never have imagined shooting a film in such a short amount of time.  I have to give a huge shoutout to our actors who were called on just days prior to the weekend who were extremely flexible and amazing to work with.  Another big shout out goes to our entire crew who made this weekend possible for everyone.  Emma Pascu and Gaetano Peritore backed me up all weekend with both the writing and shooting side of it, and I cannot thank them enough.


At What Cost locally premiered in Toronto, Canada through the 48 Hour Film Project in November 2020.  We plan to submit it to some local and national film festivals this coming year.

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