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I really enjoyed this one. I liked how you relied on a lot of visual storytelling - minimal dialogue, clear action, and a winning lead performance. I thought I knew where it was going, and then I didn't, but rather than feel like an unearned twist, I was still on board. Nicely poetic, cleanly made, and a deserving finalist. Well done!

I really enjoyed this, team. A lot of the films this year either shied away from or failed at telling a complete narrative arc, but yours neatly and sweetly tells a whole story. You take a potentially silly premise and carefully toe the line of farce to make something more wholesome. In the context of so many bizarro or outrageous films, this was a breath of fresh air. Nice performances, well made - glad to see it at the finals!

I really dug this. Beautiful cinematography, with very inventive and creepy use of split screen. I like that it's more an aesthetic than a narrative; in a different context, at a different pace, it could be a Thom Yorke music video. Really impressive camera work, fun setting and good vibes. Nice work.

I'm stunned to see this reviewed so low. I thought this was brilliant - my favourite film of the finals. It is so, SO hard to do a genre recreation and perfectly nail the tone and style of what you're after. It's easy to unintentionally slip into modern filmmaking styles, but you all crushed it. From the 4:3 aspect ratio, to the old school tape look, to the music, to the camerawork, it was spot. on. That shot following the machete blade above his head, and down to his eyes? Genius. The hard profile shot during her monologue by the fire, her dying partner in her arms? Genius. I loved every part of this. Full of laughs and great performances. I don't know why the response has been muted. Well, it worked like crazy for me. I hope it gets plucked out of Chch and into the nationals. Great job, all.

You took a fairly standard revenge plot and upped it with great acting and production. Your opening top-down shot floating through the titles over the feast was *chefkiss.gif*. It did feel otherwise a little bit static to me, so maybe next year you can experiment with more locations or motion, but full marks for taking an ambiguous genre prompt and making it memorable. It was good to see you in the finals, so congrats and all the best for next time!

Nice work as always, team. I thought the lead performance was really good, and I dug the parental instincts that kick in from all the other tradies. Some great laughs and wry observations, though I did find myself wanting just a smidge more climax and resolution by the end. Timmy has a few fun misadventures and then we're out. If you'd been able to find a nice narrative capper I think personally I would have found it a little more satisfying. Nevertheless, well made and enjoyable throughout!

I thought this was great fun. I loved all the setup work you did, all the gentle nods to negroni families and feeling so connected that all fall into place. A really elegant, laugh-filled script with some great performances and a Bean-ian double take. Well done, a deserving winner.

I found this really quite charming, and I don't know if I'd characterise it as a comeback because I laughed harder at your selfie last year than most films in that competition. A nice weird premise with good acting and production, including a commitment to go all in (I suppose literally) for the ending. Nice work!

A deliciously Chch-ian comedy that had me won over from the practicalities of getting to 50 in the city centre. A ton of laughs as per usual, with a clever twist on the prompts (though that did have diminishing returns for me). Maybe could have used one last killer joke to bring it home, but easy to love regardless. Well done, and fingers crossed for the nationals!

I don't know what's more maddening - that a single person was able to deliver an animated short like this in 48 hours, or that it was simultaneously a comedy musical Ultra. Great work.

I thought this was pretty damn effective; a nice Black Mirror mystery with some strong visual effects. Your outside shots were really moody and atmospheric, while the interior was more obviously a flat! Perhaps next time you can try to source a more clinical setting, or set dress a little bit more austere. I thought your edits and VFX here were very tight, and a good central performance, even if narratively it basically took me where I expected it to go. But on the whole it nailed the mood and the production was more coherent and well-rounded than a lot of the bigger teams this year. Nice work!

Always like seeing your shorts, and full marks for tackling a big topic here. As usual, your production was good, as were performances. Unfortunately, this one didn't quite get over the line for me because the delivery of the theme felt like it came out of nowhere. I was able to see in retrospect what you were going for but in the moment my mind was far away. I think the problem might have been that because the narrative was steering me towards the mystery of the unseen perp, I wasn't thinking about the relationship of the two cops to each other (which the genre prompt already "solves" for you). And then because it's a black dog in a black room, I hardly had a second to visually process it, and intuit the implication, before the link came up and browbeat me with the message. So a combination of factors here, including a somewhat pat 'work together' ending, combined to leave me a bit unaffected. Perhaps you could have alluded to the dog aurally before we see it, or you could have cast one man in both roles so we're more liable to link them. Best of luck for finals!

Given the difficult Ultra prompts this year, it's kind of miraculous that this feels as effortless as it does. Your split-screening is light and breezy, your edits sharp, and I'm never one to knock a mockumentary. Plus, the premise is just good fun, with the best genre name callout of the night. This might say more about me than your intentions, but it felt like the second cam's whole job was just getting ass and crotch shots, which I enjoyed as a meta joke on the merits of splitscreen. Well done. See you at the finals.

Ultra was pretty unfair this year, on top of a ton of regular prompts, so you had quite the juggle to pull off here. Unfortunately I felt the weight of all those requirements stamping down on the life of this film, which without the splitscreen and everything else could have spent a bit more time developing the character motivations and story. I thought the performances were pretty good, and you had the best split-screen shot of the heat with the dual rising garage doors. But around that, the plot was a bit muddy and the blocking made it a little unclear exactly what peril the woman was in based on ambiguous proximity to the others. Hopefully next year you get a better hand and can focus more of your time on make the narrative sing. Good luck!

I get the feeling you were caught a bit off-guard by the musical prompt this year, but full credit for giving it your best anyway. It's a tough prompt and you did what you could. I didn't really get much from this unfortunately, but hopefully in future years you'll find yourself in a better position to harness that obvious creativity and enthusiasm in a more usable genre!

I think you lucked into a good genre here which let you lean into your own unique stylings. I laughed throughout the gross out and thought you did an admirable job of going all in on a potentially restrictive set of prompts. One suggestion going forward is to keep an eye on your references - trust in yourself and leave the GoT/super easy nods at the door. Good luck!

I think you deserve a lot of credit here for writing and performing a narrative and dialogue-heavy piece. Many, many teams on 48 Hours shy away from actual drama because of embarrassment, disinterest, or lack of expertise, so props to you for committing. I thought the idea was solid, the use of real time effective, and the end earned. Some of the plot maybe could have used a hint more clarity, like the car - I get that you're discussing something both characters already know, so wouldn't need to explain, but I could have used a glimpse more in order to better understand the dramatic beats. But on the whole, a very good effort. Nice work!

I'm a little torn here because I think the prompts this year were particularly onerous, and then the Ultra level made it worse, but at the same time I don't think this quite landed for me. Yet with 7 tough requirements to juggle, you gave it a good crack. I thought a lot of your split-screening was quite beautiful, particularly when widening for the kettle, even if the garage exit shot felt like a bit of a cheat up top. I was impressed with your technicals, particularly in dialogue timing and visually crossing between splits, but narratively it somewhat petered out for me, even if performances were good. Hopefully you'll have a more balanced set of prompts next year that you can whip into a tighter shape!

I thought this was a very good comedy take on the genre - loved all the different implications and world-building, including the recurring gag that the boys are grossed out. If I had one criticism, it's that it felt a little loose narratively. You had a ton of good gags throughout at a good pace, but it doesn't really take you anywhere by the end. The main character is basically just there to facilitate the clever jokes/thoughts but not to really do or achieve anything. Ultimately I wasn't too bothered because I was laughing throughout, but perhaps if there was a little more agency from her you could have landed on one great final joke? Just a thought. Well done.

I got nice "Happy!" vibes here, with the fucked up blend of holidays and 'in over your head' repercussions. I'm always impressed by your costuming, and the horrific combination of every possible celebration was well realised. Some nicely funny moments, and I enjoyed the end beat where they attack Santa. Fun and frivolous.

While I enjoyed the conceit of this, and there was some fun moments, ultimately it felt a little bit underwhelming unfortunately. The Doors Slam was genius, and breaking the fourth wall with the puddle was great, but it didn't really add up to more than the sum of its parts for me. I felt like we spent too much time at the bar for all those cutaways, and the final wish of no bad films fell a bit flat for me. Also, and this is a huge nitpick, but when he was holding up the terms and conditions it bugged me that you could see Term 1 was on the outside (not what he was reading), and that it was mostly lorem ipsum. If you're about to rattle off all these terms, you could have at least written them out properly (or hidden them from camera completely if you didn't want spoilers). Still, some good laughs along the way - looking forward to see what you do next year.

As usual, TBALC excels with the technicals, delivering a high quality film and some very memorable visuals. Great use of silhouette and an impressive soundtrack too. I didn't see the smash cut at the end coming and enjoyed that a lot. I was surprised to feel it sag somewhat in places - some slow cuts and delivery lost a bit of the pace and comedy for me, and the single location felt a bit constrained. You didn't quite sell the animals with costuming and I found them a little bit ambiguous, which was unfortunate. I also feel a little bit torn on the Ultra of it all - in my mind the goal of doing that is to add another level of challenge, and you kind of skirted around it by using adults. I would have like to see you embrace it and come up with a concept that used actual children or animals. The judges seem to have allowed teams to get away with this loophole, so it's not up to me, but I felt a bit disappointed to see you not take the swing. Nevertheless, always fun to see what you come up with - looking forward to what you bring next year!

This was some nice work, but I'll admit to being a little bit torn. The direction was on point, with some nice reactionary camera work chasing the action. The concept was kind of clever, but ultimately I felt like it didn't quite take us as far I expected it to with the zombie concept. Some solid jokes and fun performances throughout. I do feel like this was a bit of a cheat of the Ultra conceit - in my mind, the purpose of doing it at that level is to add another challenge, and if you're not going to use actual kids or animals, then why do it at all? That came down to the judges' discretion, and clearly they were willing to allow this loophole, but I couldn't help but feel a little cheated. I would have been more invested in the film if we were watching actual teens; by the nature of having adults play young you inevitably undercut the reality, and when filming in a documentary style that's a bit of a problem. Still, a solid film - look forward to seeing what you do next year.

This was nicely executed in a hard genre. I like that you committed to showing all the years pass and did some proper damage to a real couch across that time. Some nice technical work across the film, with lots of cast, consistent direction, and a terrifying door slam. Ultimately, it didn't quite land with too much impact mostly because it's more of a fly on the wall story than anything with narrative purpose. When it gets to the end, all you think is, 'yep, that was 10 years'. There's not really a journey to invest in. But again - that's potentially a symptom of a hard genre. Nice work with your first film, and I look forward to seeing what you do next!

I'm a little bit torn on this one. Technically it was great - I loved the direction, VFX, and sound design. It was all top notch, and perfectly claustrophobic in the best techno thriller genre kind of way. I thought the lead performance was good, and the story built coherently even if the resolution fell a little bit flat. My biggest nitpick, though, is I feel like this doesn't really meet the Ultra standards. If the point of doing Ultra is to add another challenge to the mix, then skirting the requirement of kids and animals by writing it as a baby AI feels like a cheat to me. If you didn't actually want to commit to that level of competition, you should have just done a regular film. Ultimately, that decision of whether it was valid was up to the judges, and obviously they let it through. Looking forward to seeing what you bring to the table next year!

Nice work team - a solid film as always! I liked the idea of filtering the event through the mind of the baby, and the reminder throughout that he doesn't understand anything. I found the resolution to be a little bit flat; while you took us back to explain how you got here, once we'd found out, it didn't really end anywhere different or surprising. I was kind of hoping the baby might have plotted the getaway, or might hop in the drivers seat at the end and speed away, or something to just up the narrative stakes. Anyway, looking forward to what you do next year.

I thought this was really nice work on many fronts. For one, you tell a complete narrative arc (it's surprising how few teams actually do this). Second, there's some good ambition in the concept, and I like the escalation to having hundreds of scrawled notes and the furious bystander just wanting to go home after hours (?) of frozen time. Plus, your performances and technicals were good too - enjoyed the actual actors holding a frozen pose rather than trying to do something in post. Nice job by all - keen to see what's next.

Nice work as usual, team! I love that you have this weird style, and you fully commit - and I particularly enjoyed your takes on the various music genres. I guess ultimately I look for a little bit more narrative purpose in a film, and as much fun as it is to go along with the crazy, to me it ends up feeling a bit weightless because in the end there's not really a point. But maybe the lack of a point is the point? Who am I to say.

I thought this was definitely an impressive effort folks, nice work! A very distinct style - I love that you had a real swing and went a) black and white; and b) almost clinically monotone with the VO. It's clear you had a vision and you delivered on it. Great to see. Narratively, it did fall a little bit flat for me. While you took a swing with some of your metaphors (hard out the gate with a holocaust line!) it felt a little bit forced for me, though I did like the ultimate reveal. Congrats on your win - and hope to see you in competition again next year!

This film was just terrific. Great concept, incredible performances from the two kids, top notch direction. Heartfelt, powerful. Submit it to festivals. You nailed it.

I really, really enjoyed this. I don't even want to know why it came to be. But it proves that sometimes you can have the most unexpected success by lampshading all the tropes and just having drunken fun along the way. The contrast between the inordinately well made intro and the single take madness just made it better. I hope you get through. Thanks.

There was plenty to enjoy about this. You had some nice ideas in play here, but it did feel a little bit like it needed a second pass through the edit to give the middle ages opener a little more breathing room and tighten up the second act. I liked the dead again ending (for whatever reason, didn't see it coming). Some good montage work aging and acclimatising the woman across her computer slavery. You had a couple of production issues, including some soft focuses... and I know this is a dumb nitpick, but I don't get why you printed off a paper to stick on the computer monitors instead of just loading up some kind of graphic or app on screen? I know that's a stupid thing to complain about, sorry, but it stuck in my head and I guess broke the illusion a little bit.

Anyway, just my two cents - good luck for the finals!

Really enjoyable work, with a charismatic pair of characters, a slow burn premise than builds to a strong and funny confrontation throughout. Some lovely performances and good technical side of things - it was just fun to watch all the way through. Only narrative note was it was left a little ambiguous at the end who he was speaking to in the car. I wasn't sure if it was meant to be a policeman and he'd been arrested, or if it was the documentarian and crew. Either way, it felt like we missed a shot of him running away/getting escorted out so we knew exactly what the gag there was. Otherwise, great job! Good luck for the finals!

Congrats on the achievement - getting a film done to this kind of deadline is a ridiculous task and you did it! As you're already aware, this had a few technical problems like missing sound, so I won't belabour the point too much. It's a shame, because I think you had a clever premise - the heist game show - but then never quite delivered on the opportunity for me. The issue for me was in these kind of reality shows you get to know the personalities of the contestants, and all four of them never really said anything. We didn't know who they were, or how they differed, so you couldn't really get invested like you would in a real competition show. The first one went well, but then "getting out of the house" felt like a weird challenge, and the stealing a recipe fell a bit flat. It didn't really give me any rising tension or excitement, and then it just ended with crowning a winner. I was hoping for more of a twist.

Anyway, good luck with the competition and hope to see you next year!

Great team intro, big laughs - that then ended up a little jarring given the tone of the film to follow! You had a big concept to get through here, but unfortunately that meant having to use some well worn tropes to explain a domestic abuse situation, which for me never quite came together. The male partner was just a bit too much of a cartoonish villain, so it was hard for me to really connect and empathise with the lead in her predicament. You had some nice moments - I liked the idea of the shadow while viewing her future, and the shot of falling into the bath and drowning was pretty great - but it was hard to get past the feeling you'd assembled this narrative from off the shelf drama parts. Your production was well done overall with good direction, but for me I think it was a case where less may have been a more. Good luck for the finals and looking forward to seeing what you bring next year!

I enjoyed this one team! Good to see some fresh faces having a crack at a classic splat genre. You had some good gore and action effects, some fun moments, and an actual narrative arc with a callback joke to 'the lean in and kiss' for a strong end note. A lot of teams with much more experience and bigger budgets do worse jobs at actually telling a satisfying story than you did. I loved that one of your mums was in the back of shot in the kitchen just getting shit done while you guys were in the living room preparing to fight zombies. SO GOOD. And the V thing was fine - if there was ever going to be a carrier for a viral outbreak it would probably be the already radioactive energy drink! Structurally, I think you were a little bit top heavy, spending a bit too much time in the living room in very static positions, and not quite enough time out and about in the action, but hey, it's 48 Hours. Going forward, maybe think a little bit more about some snappier editing, and what you do with the camera (particularly to liven up conversation scenes and amp up the motion and adventure). But nice work - good luck for the finals and I look forward to seeing what you make next!

This is a hell of an accomplishment to do a solo ultra like this, particularly with all the special effects and everything. Davros the baby plus clones plus madness. It was an eminently watchable collage of nonsense that you couldn't help but enjoy. It also doesn't really bring anything significant to the table - it's more like eating 70 red skittles all at once than a three course meal - but that's part of the fun. Looking forward to what you'll dream up next.

Some very good production here, with quality acting, direction and editing. Nice work on pulling off something with that kind of standard on such a deadline. Unfortunately, this fell down for me a little on a genre and narrative basis. I guess I was expecting a little bit more technological in the mix, given our ostensive lead is some kind of reclusive hacker. But the man has no real agency in the film - his work is meaningless to us as he doesn't demonstrate his computer skills in any fashion, so we don't know why it's important or even why we should root for him. He's a tech millionaire in a secured compound, so you're gonna be pushing uphill to build a connection already. But then he lets the woman in and checks she's human AFTER she's already inside. And the film just kind of meanders along as she explores the house and we don't see what he's doing or why he needs to leave her alone, and we kind of toy with the audience because she's bleeding and she's swimming, but then shocker, she's a robot too and she's been waiting to let her partner in for... no real reason? It just didn't really add up to much for me. Too many whys. Anyway, just my two cents.

You have a ton of great skills in front of and behind the camera, and I'm sure you've got plenty more films in you. Good luck with this one, and looking forward to seeing what comes next. :)

Some nice work as always by the Jagbogs! So cute to go all in on the Ultra and do a kid AND an animal. Some nice production, costuming and performances. I did feel that as much as you were leaning into the Batman '60s of it all, it came off a little bit disjointed for me. Perhaps one too many cuts back to the globe interstitial and a bit of a missing throughline? I was also expecting to see a bit more of a narrative bow on the end of it - you just killed off the dog and then... he's dead. Was waiting for the magical resurrection, or the floating dog spirit, or new puppy with the grown up hero or... something. But nope, just a dog sacrifice and we're out! If you were doing one of those '60s shows I think it needed to be either the unrealistically happy ending, or the tune in next week cliffhanger. But look, it's a fun romp and an ULTRA challenge and so who can pick that many nits?

(P.S. Curious to know why their costumes had different letters to E & L!)

I really enjoyed this - what a shame you were late. Some nice dry Kiwi comedy with a black twist.

I thought this was an admirable effort but I had a couple of difficulties with it. It had some nice production, including the locations used, the camera work, and the edit. Mostly I struggled with it narratively, as it felt like it hand waved a lot of character history, plot mechanics etc. necessary to really connect with the characters. It was almost like the five minute montage at the end of the finale of a season of TV, if you know what I mean. We jumped right to the moment when this woman snapped, but we didn't really know who she was before the guy came into her life, so I wasn't really invested. (This also explains the audience's tendency to laugh during the climax - they didn't feel connected with these people or know what the stakes were.) I totally get that short films - and particularly ones done on crazy weekend schedules - are fighting for time in every sense, but next year I'd love to see you try and construct a story that gives us a more complete journey from start to end. If we've been on the ride with your characters, we'll be more invested. Anyway, just my two cents. You have some nice skills on display - all the best for the finals!

I enjoyed the conceptual twist here where we think the awful guy is the monster all along and then he gets murdered at the end. That was fun. I liked you had varied settings and even some cutaways, so some good production. I was hoping for a little more narrative edge to it, perhaps with his friends being less on board with his weirdo behaviour, to lead you into the bait and switch a bit more. Perhaps this guy could have been a monster in lots of little everyday ways too - using way too much toilet paper at work, casually cutting in lines, etc. Only other suggestion is perhaps having a little more life in the frame, like some more camera movement or more interesting blocking when you're doing lots of conversation scenes. Anyway, nice work and good luck!