Local filmmakers win big at 48-Hour Film ProjectA group of Hastings filmmakers recently won top honors at the 48-Hour Film Project in Minneapolis. The film, named “Coming Out,” won “Best Film,” “Best Directing” and “Audience Choice.” The crew was directed and produced by the husband and wife duo of Justin and Kristin Schaack, both HHS graduates.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
A group of Hastings filmmakers recently won top honors at the 48-Hour Film Project in Minneapolis. The film, named “Coming Out,” won “Best Film,” “Best Directing” and “Audience Choice.”
The crew was directed and produced by the husband and wife duo of Justin and Kristin Schaack, both HHS graduates.
The festival has a unique approach: Teams met on Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m. and drew a genre out of a hat. They were given requirements that must be included in the film, and 48 hours later they had to deliver the film at a designated drop-off location.
There were three required elements, the first being that the character was R. Thomas, an athlete. A ring had to be included as a prop and the film had to include this line of dialogue: “Have you been here before.”
The genre the team drew out of the hat was “Holiday film.” The synopsis provided by the filmmakers goes like this: “Thanksgiving at the Thomas house is always dramatic, but this year someone has a surprising announcement.”
The film is seven minutes long and was filmed in Cottage Grove. It was written by Justin and Kristin Schaack, Logan and Ashley Martin, John Burgess, Tom Reed and Maggie Sotos. The cast and crew were mainly from Minneapolis.
There were 64 teams from Minneapolis that submitted their films on time.
This was the sixth year the Schaacks have participated in the project and the fourth they have led a team.
“It’s a great opportunity, because it encourages filmmakers to just make a film – no excuses – and it’s not easy,” said Kristin Schaack.
The film moves on to the next round of competition, set for March in Los Angeles. Approximately 120 cities around the world participate in the project.
Before then, the film will be screened at the South Dakota Film Festival in September and the Twin Cities Film Festival in October.
“Having the film travel the festival circuit is another opportunity for people to see our work,” Kristin Schaack said.
The Schaacks weren’t the only Hastings connections to the film. Logan Martin, Ashley (Riles) Martin, Julianne Medcraft, April (Groth) Kienberger and Cindy Schaack all played a part in the film.
The Schaacks started a production company, Above-the-Line Entertainment, in 2006. They produce commercials, training and education videos and they’ve made 11 short films. While their work with films hasn’t paid all the bills just yet, they each hold down day jobs, too.
Kristin Schaack works in media and video production at Target and Justin holds down a similar role at Best Buy.
“Our films don’t pay the bills yet, but that’s definitely the goal down the road,” Kristin Schaack said.
The budget for this film was tight, to say the least, Kristin Schaack said. She wanted to thank Tim O’Brien at the Green Mill in Hastings for providing the crew a discount on pizzas during filming.
“That was a huge help when there’s no budget, and the only way to compensate our team is with food,” she said.
Kristin Schaack is the daughter of Brian and Sue Drummond. Justin is the son of Steve and Cindy Schaack.
For more information on the Schaacks, or to see some of their other films, visit www.abovethelineent.com.
The crew for “Coming Out” is listed here.
Producers and directors: Justin Schaack and Kristin Schaack
Writers: Justin Schaack, Kristin Schaack, John Burgess, Tom Reed, Maggie K. Sotos, Logan Martin and Ashley Martin
Director of photography: Sergio M. Rapu
Assistant director: John Burgess
Editor and visual effects: Steven Gagner
Composer: Nathan M. Schilz
Key grip: Jonathan Miller
Sound engineer: Zach Sieff
Make-up: Miki Sautbine, Krystal Ziegelmeir
Script supervisor and food stylist: Ashley Martin
Florist: Cindy Schaack
Title illustrations: Robert Pflaum
Behind-the-scenes photographer: April Kienberger
The crew for “Coming Out” is listed here.
R. Thomas [Rosencrantz]: Tom Reed
Marissa: Julianne Medcraft
Mr. Thomas: Michael R. Morningstar
Mrs. Thomas: Dani Palmer
Stanislavski: Tim McVean
Stage manager brother: Logan Martin