Locked Doors and Time Warps: Filmmakers Embrace Eccentricity

The clock struck 2 a.m. on Saturday morning as writers for Flash Films shook up soda cans, rushed into the showers in Foxcroft Hall and sprayed each other with soda in an attempt to overcome writer’s block.

Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, Flash Films’s directors, writers and actors congregated in the common room of Stimson House to begin the process of creating short films. After initial introductions, the group exchanged funny stories to inspire the screenwriters. As actors and directors slept, the writers worked in Foxcroft and Stimson until 5 a.m., writing and editing each others’ work with the goal of completing short films.

“Flash Films is just fun. It’s a good challenge, since a lot of times with filming, [films] get stretched out and diluted when you spend too much time on them. With Flash Films, you get it all done in one day, so you can’t possibly get tired of your work,” said Lane Unsworth ’15, Co-Head of Andover Moviemakers’ Club (AMC), which organized Flash Films.

At 8 a.m. on Saturday, the directors chose their scripts, then began filming with the actors at 9 a.m. After filming wrapped up at 4 p.m., the directors headed to the Polk Lillard Center to edit their work. All the films were screened at 8 p.m. in the Underwood Room.

“I think the screening went really well, but we did have some speed bumps along the way. We had actors who tried out who got sick, writers and directors who dropped out at the last minute and all sorts of things, since Flash Films is a pretty big time commitment to dedicate an entire day to,” said Unsworth. “I think in the future, when this becomes an event people know about more, it’ll be less of an issue because people can plan ahead.”

**“Happiness and Sadness, Coexisting in Unexpected Unity”**

Written by Jihoun Im ’17 and Jackson Lee ’17 and directed by Anastasiya Prokhorenko ’15, “Happiness and Sadness, Coexisting in Unexpected Unity” is a spoof on a romantic Korean drama. A Korean-language film, the drama follows Max, played by Max Chung ’15. In the beginning, English subtitles indicate that the film is about Max losing his girlfriend, Jen, played by Jen Kim ’16. In an attempt to win her back, Max goes after Jen, who then professes her love for him. When Max brushes her off and asks in English for her Netflix account password, the film is rewound to the beginning to display the correct subtitles, revealing that Max was making aimless, irrelevant comments while Jen was hurt and confused but still in love with him.

“Since we knew Max and Jen speak fluent Korean, we were thinking it would be funny if we made a spoof on a romance type film. And so we spent an hour watching Korean dramas before we got to writing,” said Lee.

For Prokhorenko, the time frame of Flash Films was both constraining and inspiring.

“You have to think faster, because you don’t have time to sit down and plan it out,” said Prokhorenko.


Written by Andrew Lin ’17 and Alex Emerson ’17 and directed by Lin, “HEY DIRECTOR (Yeah, you) THINK OF A CREATIVE TITLE THAT IS MEANINGFUL” centers around two friends, Erin and Amy, studying in a practice room in Graves Hall. When an unknown figure passes the door, Erin, played by Sadie Holmes ’16, and Amy, played by Corissa Hollenbeck ’16, are suddenly locked in the room. Black-and-white cinematography, creepy music and distorted camera angles build up anticipation for the revelation of the identity of the figure. The figure slowly opens the door and is revealed to be Unsworth, asking the two girls if they wanted to participate in a Flash Film.

“Writing this year was pretty interesting, because it was fun to see how the actors interpreted my lines. There were a lot of things I wrote in there that I didn’t expect them to take that way, and it was usually for the better, as 2 a.m. thoughts tend to be weird,” said Emerson.

Lin said, “It’s a little difficult when you’re working in a room that small, and, since it was A Day With Andover, there were a lot of people coming in and out of Graves. At a bunch of points, we had people walk straight into the room while we were filming.”

**“The Pearson **** Paradox”**

Written by Unsworth and directed by Darius Lam ’17, “The Pearson Paradox” follows a girl named Betty, played by Avery Kim ’17, who suddenly finds herself in a time paradox in Pearson Hall after telling a friend to sign onto PAnet. She meets Dave, played by Fran Trautmann ’16, who is also stuck in the time paradox. The two travel in circles around the Andover campus trying to find their way out of the paradox, until Betty realizes that she created their predicament by telling her friend to sign onto PAWIRELESS instead of PASTUDENT.

“I really liked the idea of this circular, going-and-coming-back-at-the-same-point idea. I took major inspiration from the recent film ‘Interstellar,’ since there’s this part where the main character manipulates his past but that leads him to the future,” said Lam.

Lam valued the close, familial environment that Flash Films created.

“Everyone else was working on their own films in the Polk Center, and every five minutes we’d go around and check up on how everyone was doing, and if anyone needed help, we’d just come over and help them. It’s this cohesiveness within all of the directors, and even the actors, even though they didn’t have to show up, they showed up anyway to see how everything was going,” he said.

**“The Loo”**

Written by Hanover Vale ’15 and directed by Emerson, “The Loo” follows a student named Mandy, played by Candy Chan ’17, locked inside a bathroom in the Gelb Science Center. Mandy loses her mind in an attempt to entertain herself until the toilet begins to talk to her, revealing itself to be a student trapped in the toilet by a witch many years ago.

Mandy frees the toilet ghost, played by Tessa Jarden ’16, who then unlocks the door, so both girls can exit the bathroom.

“I was inspired by the story I shared in Stimson about a toilet that was in a backyard and had been used by children as a cauldron. They would make witch’s brew in it, and they ended up putting gasoline in the toilet and lit it on fire accidentally,” said Vale. “[Other inspiration] came from my friend who was a Senior last year, who found himself locked in a Gelb bathroom for a half hour with a dying phone until a friend came and rescued him.”

**“Discovery Channel’s The Phillips Academy Very Scary Death Competition: With Behind the Scenes Extras!!11!!1!!11!!!!”**

Written by Aidan Driscoll ’17 and directed by Ethan Brown ’17 and Driscoll, “Discovery Channel’s The Phillips Academy Very Scary Death Competition: With Behind the Scenes Extras!!11!!1!!11!!!!” tells a story of a fight to the death between a participant from each cluster. R, played by Driscoll, is victorious after outlasting Bronk Swagaliciousness (Joe Okafor ’17), Rebecca Dark-Grey (Hannah Berkowitz ’17), Francis Edward Jones III (Alex Davenport ’17), a nameless day student (Unsworth) and a lemon.

“[Unsworth] said to come up with an idea, so I just thought of something pretty quickly. I worked until 3:30 a.m., and I just wrote whatever came into my mind. I thought of ‘The Hunger Games’ and shaky camera, since I thought that was pretty cliché, and then I just went from there,” said Driscoll.

Brown said, “The whole process was so much fun, but it was also difficult since it was a windy day, so in the editing process, there were lots of issues with the sound. It was noticeable in all of the films, but we did the best we could do with it.”