Lord of the Bird Rings / by Jerry

The past weekend saw the annual Antarctic 48-hour Film Festival.

I wrote about this last year and our 2013 entry is available here.

Every base on the continent and the sub-Antarctic islands is invited to make and submit a short film, shot entirely on location and over a two-day period. To keep things fair and fresh there are five elements given out on the Friday that have to be included in every film; two objects (this year a swimsuit and a swing), a sound effect (a pig squeal), a character (Wal Footrot – a New Zealand cartoon character who was fairly simple to google) and a line of dialogue. As we'd been voted best screenplay for our condensed Star Wars tribute last year we got to supply the latter, and after much sorting through Smiths lyrics and favourite movie quotes submitted the following, from possibly my favourite ever film; 'it'll be dark soon and the mostly come at night... mostly'. I'll where it's from as a kind of quiz.

After having such fun filming Star Wars we thought we'd try and condense another epic into around five minutes. This time Lord of the Rings.

So we came up with a basic storyline; three or four short scenes, and fleshed that out into a basic script fairly simply. The tough part was costumes and props. Luckily we have a dressing up box left by many previous residents, so a healthy supply of wigs and waistcoats. Legolas's cloak was a cleverly folded tablecloth while Gimli's axe was forged from a broom handle, cardboard and tin foil.

The weather for Saturday looked a bit grim but nothing compared to what was forecast for Sunday, so we rose early and, while Cian went off on the leopard seal round, the rest of us climbed up to the nearby cave to shoot some uncomfortable scenes with Frodo and Sam. You can see in the film how cold we are as everyone's breath is clearly visible.

After a return and a cup of tea we headed up the valley to record a bit of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli running around. The low mist meant visibility wasn't good enough to do any real long shots, as the entire of the second film seems to consist of, but we still had fun running round with capes trailing.

A battle scene on the beach with a horde of (very similar-looking) orcs was probably the most fun to film as it basically involved more running round and shouting, swinging swords and axes about. When it came to editing this bit it was all a little quiet so I got all the others into the office and recorded a voiceover of them shouting, screaming, grunting and banding a few spoons together to represent sword clashes.

The final bit of filming was of Merry and Pippin meeting Gandalf. We weren't going to be beaten by the other Hobbits filming a scene barefoot but you can see how cold we are by our pink faces. By this point the mist was getting very wet so it looks like everything is in soft focus. Still, the scenery is somewhat reminiscent of Middle Earth.

As promised, Sunday lashed it down with rain so we were grateful we didn't need any reshoots. Instead I spent most of the day editing and finally was able to show it to the others on a big screen in the lounge. Twice – so I guess that means we are pretty pleased with it.


The results are in and we came in third for cinematography, second for best film and first for acting!!