In early November, InLiquid was offered the chance to participate in the inaugural year of the Philly DoGooder Video Hackathon. 25 non-profits and 25 filmmakers were given ten days to create two to five minute videos telling the story of their organizations and the positive impacts they have on local communities.
After being teamed up with filmmaker Dom Hilton of Disco Volante Productions, we worked with artist members Leah Macdonald, Amanda Lupke, and Jay Walker, who shared their stories with us. Check out the video, and don’t forget to vote for InLiquid!
Hackathon Day 1: Early in the morning of Friday, November 2, 25 nonprofits and 25 filmmakers – from students to longtime pros – set up tables in Hamilton Hall at the University of the Arts.
It was the calm before the coffee. Representatives from each table worked their way around the room, meeting their fellow Philly DoGooders and wishing each other luck before cinematic cast-off.
Everybody settled down for a run-through of the rules by Here’s My Chance CEO David Gloss and Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer. The Hackathon officially began with the age-old question, “Does anybody have a hat?” as filmmakers and nonprofits were teamed up with the classic names-out-of-a-cap trick.
InLiquid was one of the first names drawn, along with our filmmaker over the next ten days, Dom Hilton of Disco Volante Productions. After a few group shots, the pre-production phase began.
Dom and I huddled over a table as we whittled down story ideas. I learned a lesson in creative instinct as he took the ideas our staff had brainstormed over for the past few days and turned them into a viable story in minutes. In the end, we decided it wasn’t InLiquid’s story that needed to be told. It was the story of the artists, who turn an organization into a community and the city into a cultural force to be reckoned with.
The day ended with a tentative filming schedule: our decision to film a series of interviews meant we had to rely on last-minute availability and luck.
Hackathon Day 5: On Tuesday Dom made his way over to the Crane Arts Building, where he filmed the InLiquid staff in action and interviewed Executive Director Rachel Zimmerman.
We had our first brush with luck that day: we caught InLiquid member and photographer Leah Macdonald installing work for her recent show, In Light of the Lens: Ethereal. She agreed to an interview and allowed us to time-lapse photograph the installation in action. (Sidebar: Time-lapse doubles as an accurate metaphor for the pace of making a film in ten days.)
Hackathon Day 7: On Thursday, we made our way over to Amanda Lupke‘s studio, just off of Fourth and South Streets. It’s a cozy space of rich, earthy tones – an accurate reflection of its warm owner. Up until about 3 am the night before because of a photoshoot, Amanda still brightly offered us tea and lighting input as we took a quick tour of the available rooms.
After a few practice takes with the camera-shy photographer, Amanda took us on a verbal tour of her Faces of a New China exhibition at International House.
With only fifteen minutes to spare, Dom was off to race over to an appointment at International House to catch some footage of Amanda’s show.
Hackathon Day 8: Thanks to the Crane Arts’ generous loan of a wall in the Grey Area, we were able to invite artist member Jay Walker to create a one-day installation on camera.
Jay created the piece out of tape. It wasn’t long before my initial skepticism of the medium was peeled away, as a matrix of black and white masking tape stretched its way across the wall’s dark surface. An eerily cloaked figure began to take shape, lurking in large-scale proportions from its alcove.
After a final interview and another time-lapse, production was officially complete. My relief was touched with sadness, as the task of taking down Jay’s piece fell to me. I couldn’t help feeling like the villain at the end of a movie, sweeping in to destroy someone else’s hard work.