The titular ice cold killers from Ice Cold Killer, Proto Primate's entry in the 48Hr Lockdown, and our fourth selection. (Photo: Supplied)

48Hours Lockdown Showcase: Ice Cold Killer

The 48-hour film festival is back, self-isolation style. While the judging panel is deciding the winners, The Spinoff is showcasing seven films from the competition. We’re sharing one a day in the lead up to the one-hour awards special, airing on TVNZ2. Today, Ice Cold Killer from team Proto Primate. 

It is a still and misty night in the North Atlantic Ocean. Berg and his buddies are chilling out, minding their own business, when a terrifying sound cuts through the icy night air. Ice Cold Killer sheds light on the other side of the story from that one fateful night in 1912.

Proto Primate consists of just one man: lifelong Wellingtonian Dan Costello. He’s worked in and around media production his whole life, and has recently started operating independently as Reactance Media, doing animation and other creative services. 

What’s the story behind your team, which I suppose is just you in this instance? 

I would have preferred to collaborate with friends but it’s quite likely that if we’d all been working as usual, we never would have got our acts together – as is our tradition. So because I’d begun to do a bit of animating this year, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to test these new skills and make something that wouldn’t be impeded in scope by the lockdown restrictions.

Did you do any preparation for the film, and how did that set you up for the film shoot? 

I didn’t do any preparation. In fact, because of the free registration and being a solo team, I was of the mindset that if I didn’t have an idea that grabbed me, there wasn’t any obligation to follow through. So I scrawled down a loose outline on the Friday night and didn’t start working on it until nearly midday Saturday because I was still unsure about it.

What were the big difficulties of working in lockdown?

I saw this as a chance to demonstrate what I could do in a narrow window of time, and so I was adamant about making everything myself and all within the 48 hours. In the end, everything from the assets to the animation, the voice-over and music were all made between Saturday and Sunday. The only exceptions were some stock SFX I used – screams in particular, as I didn’t want to interrupt proceedings with a visit from the police. 

I had already drawn a lot of funny looks recording the dialogue and yells from my car while parked on the side of the road!

A still from Ice Cold Killer. (Photo: Supplied)

What’s your favourite aspect of this entire experience? Did shooting under lockdown teach you anything?

I found the 48Hours Lockdown experience to be a fantastic test of my developing skillset and what’s possible in isolation within a narrow window of time. By the Sunday morning, I honestly doubted I’d be able to get it all together by the cutoff, and even though there’s much I would still tweak and polish, it was immensely gratifying to achieve a goal I’d set for myself.

When I began brainstorming on Friday night, the hardest challenge was trying to tell a story in such a short duration. But any longer and I probably wouldn’t have been able to complete it in time. So it was a great reinforcement of how limitations are your friend and they’re to be worked with, not fought against.

This interview was edited for length and clarity. You can find the other films that The Spinoff has selected to showcase here.

Proto Primate is just one of a record-breaking 2,111 teams that created three-minute masterpieces from their bubbles. The Vista Foundation 48Hours judging panel, including Sir Peter Jackson, will select finalists to be screened on TVNZ2 in a one-hour awards special on Friday, May 8, at 9.30pm.

VF48HOURS: LOCKDOWN is made with the support of NZ On Air, New Zealand Film Commission and The Vista Foundation.

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