By SHERIDAN CYR
Abigail Friend, a 10-year-old Southington resident, recently participated in the international 48-Hour Film Project as the youngest member in Connecticut to ever submit a project to the annual contest. Winners were announced Thursday, Aug, 24, and Friend took home five awards for her short film.
The Connecticut branch of the 48-Hour Film Project is based in New Haven. The contest officially kicks off in June, where groups pay an entrance fee and lock down their teams of cast and crew.
Teams are given a choice of two genres to pick from on the afternoon of Friday, July 28, and each team must include three specific things in their film: a cheerleader named Grant or Grace Broha, a wallet, and the words, “Let me tell you something.” Failure to include these three items results in disqualification.
The competition starts promptly at 7 p.m. that Friday night. Crews have exactly 48 hours to film, edit and compile their short videos. Even if it’s one minute late, the crew will be disqualified. Winner of Best Film travels internationally to compete against other filmmakers.
“The contest is so much fun,” said Friend. “You get to work with people you know, and bring your vision to life.”
Friend has been participating in the 48-Hour Film Project for the past four years as an actress, but this was the first film that she wrote, produced, and directed entirely. She also played the lead role in the film.
The short film, titled “Apples for Bullies,” held a message of friendship, acceptance, turmoil and recovery. It opens on Friend’s character, Valerie, walking down a path carrying a violin case. She settles on a small concrete slab by a building and falls asleep. When she awakens, a homeless man is next to her, telling her she shouldn’t be here.
Valerie tells the man that she, too, is homeless. Her mother was deported for being in the country illegally, and she ran away from her foster family. She offers to play a song on her violin in exchange for food, but he is not interested, nor does he have food to offer.
The man leaves. A girl on a bicycle stops, runs to Valerie, and hands her an apple. Valerie loves apples.
Another girl, walking home from cheerleading practice, sees Valerie and feels sympathy for her. She asks the lady she’s walking with for money to give to Valerie. The lady takes out her wallet and hands her a $100 bill.
The homeless man soon comes back, now with a dog. Valerie trades the money she just received for the dog, which the man happily accepts. Valerie then feeds the dog the apple she was given.
Soon the cheerleader returns and is thrilled to see the dog. She befriends Valerie, and invites her over for dinner. Valerie, once with nothing, now has a dog, a friend, and food to eat.
Abigail Friend started acting when she was five, and fell in love with it. She has been in over 60 productions as an actress already, according to her mother, Alina Friend.
She is already planning out her project for next year’s 48-Hour Film Project, and she is determined to stick with it for the long haul.
“Apples for Bullies” won awards for: Best Drone Shot, Best Music Score, Best Youth Actor, Filmmaker of the Future, and Young Woman of the 48. Friend was the youngest director by far—the next youngest director in the contest was in his 20s.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.