“Knockout” wins Chicago’s 48 Hour Film Project

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Melody Angel in "Knockout"

Melody Angel in “Knockout”

Like all the submissions,
the dialogue, editing, and
direction reflect a film
that was revised,
rehearsed, and shot
over and over again

Alley Cake Films’ short film, Knockout, was named Best Picture of the 14th annual 48 Hour Film Project Chicago during an awards ceremony at the Music Box Theater last night.

The story of a young woman’s struggle against family members who disapprove of her passion for boxing, Knockout flows with contagious spirit and compelling drama. Along the way, it weaves social issues into a plot that ultimately delivers a smile-inducing denouement.

The winning announcement was made after an audience packed the Music Box’s Theater One to review the competition’s fifteen finalists. Selected by a seven-member jury of Chicago film professionals, the finalists were chosen from 45 submissions that were created over two days in July.

Per the competition’s rules, each of the films contained a character named Alex or Alexis Tacaro, a sleeping bag, and the line of dialogue, “you ask a lot of questions.” Individual genres were selected randomly out of a hat during the Friday Night Kickoff event at the start of the competition.

Once the details were set and the movie-making began, each team had two days to get it done.

 
KNOCKOUT BY ALLEY CAKE FILMS

 

Like all the films, Knockout’s dialogue, editing, and direction suggest that it was rehearsed and shot over and over and over again. Polished, sharp, and smart, it wields the kind of finesse that doesn’t happen without painstaking revisions and multiple takes.

According Alley Cake Films’ team leader and Knockout director Erik Scanlon, the tight schedule was further intensified by a couple of potentially disastrous turns. The first occurred when he selected a genre and started looking for locations.

“Pulling a sports film was almost like an all-is-lost moment,” he recalls. “Immediately, I started calling boxing rings in Chicago.”

The second happened when a member of the cast, James Earle Jones II, was unavoidably detained for an extra three hours at an unrelated rehearsal on Saturday afternoon. It forced Scanlon to rearrange locations that he had urgently scheduled the night before.

“I had to talk to the boxing ring owner and say, ‘hey we need an extra two hours,’” Scanlon continues. “Then, I had to talk to the apartment people.”

Fortunately, Jones and most of the cast are not only professional actors, but they also have experience working at the Goodman Theater, where Scanlon is Video Producer and Alley Cake’s DP Cody Nieset is Content Creator.

The only non-professional actor on the team that Scanlon assembled prior to the competition was the lead, Melody Angel, a professional musician whose natural abilities are undeniable.

Although her performance complemented stellar work by the entire cast, Nieset and Scanlon were not certain that they had won until they heard it named during the awards ceremony.

“We were watching the other films, like Happy Hour and What lies in the Woods,” remembers Nieset, “and throughout the entire process, we thought, ‘wow, there are a lot of good films here.’”

Jerry Vasilatos, the Chicago Producer of the 48 Hour Film Project, enthusiastically describes Knockout as “a fantastic film.” But he seems just as excited in knowing that every film submitted to the competition — including about ten that showed up too late for official consideration — were shown to Music Box audiences on special nights before the final viewing.

“I like providing a venue for talented people to showcase their abilities,” he says. “It’s pretty rewarding for me to see happy filmmakers.”

To view all the winners of the 48 Hour Film Project Chicago, click here.

 
48 HOUR FILM PROJECT – CHICAGO BEHIND THE SCENES

 

CREDITS FOR “KNOCKOUT”
Cast
   Melody Angel
   Lily Mojekwu
   James Earl Jones II
   William Dick

Director – Erik Scanlon
Director Of Photography – Cody Nieset
Editing – Cody Nieset, Erik Scanlon
Sound – Erik Scanlon, Cody Nieset, Savannah Stratton, Rosebud Harrison
Producers – Erik Scanlon, Savannah Stratton, Cody Nieset
Written By: B. B. Browne, Jonathan L. Green, Erik Scanlon Michael Mellini, Cody Nieset, Ian Martin and Savannah Stratton

 
48 HOUR FILM PROJECT CHICAGO
2018 WINNERS

1ST PLACE: BEST FILM OF 2018
Knockout by Alley Cake Films

2ND PLACE: BEST FILM OF 2018
Happy Hour by Maplight Filmworks

BEST WRITING
Knockout by Alley Cake Films

BEST EDITING
Knockout by Alley Cake Films

BEST DIRECTING
Something Different by BearCat Productions

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Happy Hour by Maplight Filmworks

BEST SOUND DESIGN
Versailles Was a Stinking Palace by Aunty Whiskers & gulla0

BEST MUSICAL SCORE
Something Different by BearCat Productions

BEST ACTOR
Jon Owens The Cold War by Ugly Sweater Entertainment

BEST ACTRESS
Lauren Powell Happy Hour by Maplight Filmworks

BEST GRAPHICS
What Lies in the Woods by Back 40 Productions

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS
The Human Within by Demo Duck

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Versailles Was a Stinking Palace by Aunty Whiskers & gulla0

BEST COSTUMES
Versailles Was a Stinking Palace by Aunty Whiskers & gulla0

BEST USE OF CHARACTER
Competitive Bird Watching by Make It Up Media

BEST USE OF PROP
The Cold War by Ugly Sweater Entertainment

BEST USE OF LINE
Seven Thirteen

AUDIENCE FAVORITE: GROUP A
Proverbs by John by Northwoods Revolution

Honorable Mention
Pitch Day by Red Ink Productions

AUDIENCE FAVORITE: GROUP B
Happy Hour by Maplight Filmworks

Honorable Mention
Bada Boom by Are We Rolling?

AUDIENCE FAVORITE: GROUP C
The Cold War by Ugly Sweater Entertainment

Honorable Mention
Reel Life by Kick A Rock

AUDIENCE FAVORITE: GROUP D
Competitive Bird Watching by Make It Up Media

Honorable Mention
Knockout by Alley Cake Films

AUDIENCE FAVORITE: GROUP E
Erroneous Signal by Playa Peligrosa

Honorable Mention
Adopt

 
Send your film updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.

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