While most Andover students returned to their dorms by sign-in last Friday, a group of students remained in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library. Students huddled up in the Freeman Room and began writing movie scripts for the annual Flash Films event. The event provided students with 24 hours to write, direct, shoot, and edit a short film.
According to Natalie Chen ’22, one of the co-heads of Andover Moviemakers, Flash Films is an opportunity for students interested in movies to produce one themselves. There were no specific rules except that every film had to include a cameo from one of the co-heads: Chen or Loulou Sloss ’22. The students were given 12 hours to write the script and another 12 hours to shoot their scenes.
“Flash films has been an Andover Moviemakers Club tradition, and it’s just a space where students who want to create and are interested in writing or acting or directing can have fun with their friends and actually make a movie. Basically, writers come to the library at 8 p.m. on Friday night and they stay overnight in the library writing their movie. The next day, the movies are directed, acted in, and edited and then they are screened at 8 p.m. that night,” wrote Chen in an email to The Phillipian.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the club was not able to host the event last year. Many participants were new to filmmaking. Thus, the event was challenging to carry out, according to the board members. Sloss thought it was difficult for the club to be held responsible for everyone staying overnight in the library.
“It’s a big thing to have people stay overnight in the library, which means we were totally responsible for everybody. If they were doing anything they weren’t supposed to be doing it was on me and Theo, not on them. So that was a challenge, to try to get that all coordinated through Covid-19 and even in a normal year it would’ve been difficult,” said Sloss.
Sloss also noted that many past traditions were not a part of this year’s event. According to Sloss, teams did not always act, direct, and write their short films.
“We kind of threw out a lot of the traditions of preparation. I think that part of the fun of Natalie and I’s freshman year was that after we’d finished writing it, we just handed it off to some senior to direct it and to these two actors who signed up as actors and were assigned to us. And then they created their directorial and acting vision, whereas a lot of the ones this year were very coordinated. I think part of the fun is writing something and then having faith in random people to make it good, and I just don’t think that was really a thing this year. I hope in the next year people will be willing to wake up at 8 a.m. and come and help with something that they didn’t necessarily write,” said Sloss.
Despite the challenges and differences, the event was a success, according to Kevin Chen ’24, a junior board member of the Andover Moviemakers. Chen commented on the large audience that came to the film screening on Saturday evening.
“The event went well for the majority of the groups, no matter what the final product was. They seemed to have a blast making movies with their friends, especially through the comedies. Something else that went really well was the popularity of the event. 60 people signed up as writers to sleepover in the library, with even more participating in the event as other roles. At the screening in the Freeman room on Saturday night, the entire room was packed with people, to the point that people were standing in the hallway just to watch,” said Chen.
The board members hope that this year’s event will encourage students to find their interest in filmmaking and to participate in the Flash Film events to come. Sloss believes that the event could help the club improve and flourish within the Andover community.
“I hope to inspire people to keep on the tradition after I graduate. I know there are people on the board, but the community interest in Andover Moviemakers Club is really important to the club’s survival and flourishing. The participation and the turnout for the screening and the participation in flash films itself was really inspiring to how I think of the future after I’m gone,” said Sloss.