Boyd native Rachel Taylor and a crew of six others bested 36 teams of Austin filmmakers and hobbyists in the 48-Hour Film Project.
In September, their film “Oviparous” was awarded first place for best film, best writing and best use of prop.
Taylor, who graduated from Boyd High School in 2006, handled the camera work and contributed to the writing for the award-winning project.
“I would say that out of the 48 hours, I worked a good 30 hours on it,” she said.
“Oviparous,” which Taylor describes as funny and lighthearted with an element of mystery, is about four friends who take a vacation to participate in a natural birth.
“We keep it a mystery who is birthing,” she said. “It kind of has a surprise ending, but it’s really cute. We got a lot of ‘awws’ out of the audience.”
For the contest, participants are given a genre, prop, line of dialogue and character that they are required to include in their film. They have 48 hours to turn in a fully edited and finalized movie of four to seven minutes.
All 36 participating teams gathered on a Friday in August. Each received the same prop – a bucket; line of dialogue – ‘It’s BYOB so you know what that means'; and characters – John and Joanna Getz, expectant parents they are required to include in their film.
Each team drew from a hat for a different genre. Taylor’s group was tasked with a vacation and holiday film.
With these directives, the team set out on 48 hours of intense film-making to meet the deadline of 6 p.m. Sunday.
Taylor’s group wrote the piece Friday evening and filmed on Saturday from 5 a.m. until the sun set.
Sunday was spent editing and signing waivers.
“This is typically how people do 48-hour projects,” she said. “It was really fun. And it wasn’t really stressful until the end.”
The project editor – who also wrote, directed and acted and therefore got no sleep – misspelled the names on the credits.
“So he had to go in and make a new copy,” Taylor said. “We made it to the bar, where we had to turn it in, a minute and 47 seconds before deadline.”
Aside from that hiccup, the seemingly high-stress project went without a hitch for Taylor and her crew.
“It was a good group of easygoing people,” she said. “There were no egos, and everything went smoothly. We’re all friends anyway, so we were just having a good time.”
The fellowship that facilitated the project is what drew Taylor, who earned a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010, to filmmaking.
“It was a natural progression to do video – it’s a good storytelling tool,” said Taylor, a member of AmeriCorps. “Plus, one of my roommates is a filmmaker, and they grouped me into their filmmaking family. They are great people to work with. We all do each other favors.”
The first-place winning team from each of the 120 cities in which the 48-Hour Film Project is held will have their movie screened and judged against the other winners at Filmapalooza in New Orleans in March 2014.
If “Oviparous” is among the top 12 there, it will be screened at Cannes International Film Festival 2014 in France.
Although the rising cinematographer takes pride in this accomplishment, she is more proud of an even broader notion.
“It’s important to be a female in filmmaking,” Taylor said. “We’re really underrepresented. All of the crews I work with are almost completely male. That causes some gender-slanted characters and stereotypes. So it’s important for women to stand up in writing and other realms of filmmaking.
“That’s what really makes me proud to do things like this.”
Rachel is the daughter of Dale and Mary Taylor of Boyd.