[WINNER] BEST ROMANCE - National film challenge 2014

A couple in a serious relationship has their love tested when their single friends teach them about modern dating apps that people use for random hook-ups

This film was made in less than 72 hours for the National Film Challenge 2014

The cast and crew during their first reading. (Photo: Dan Zelikman)

SIDE SWIPED was our second entry in The National Film Project but we almost never shot the movie. In 2014, the competition fell right in the middle of our post-production on our film Camp, and we didn't think we there was the time or the team to pull it off. 

The National Film Challenge is an annual international film festival that tasks filmmakers with making a seven minute film in less than three days.  After being assigned a genre, a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue, you and a bunch of (just as crazy as you) people attempt to write, shoot, edit, and submit a film in less than three days.

In the last few days before the competition began, The Moo Crew decided to toss their hat in the ring and compete, knowing we would be doing it without a director of photography or a sound engineer (both were away on other projects). The crew was small, but we were a passionate group of friends who always talked about making a movie together—this was our chance. And we were all going to have to play multiple roles as both cast and crew to get the job done.

The photo below showcases our emotions at the time quite well.

David Baumwoll takes a frantic selfie on the roof of a NYC building after he realizes we only have a few hours left to shoot. (Photo: David Baumwoll) 

FRIDAY 7:00 p.m. — We scrounged together some basic film gear, ordered some pizzas, and hit refresh on our browser. We get the genre of romance and our prop is a lump of coal—how appropriate. 

Maybe it was because our team was made up of young single people and slightly older, married or almost married people, but we all agreed that it was both timely and hilarious to write a script around the growing craze of online dating and hooking up., e-harmony, and now—Tinder. The almost married people contacted all the mostly single people we knew, and we began asking a lot of questions.

Writer/Producers Andrew Pavoni and Kim Perkins continue their edits of the script. (Photo: Dan Zelikman)

  • What's your profile look like?
  • How many times have you hooked up?
  • Do you date, or just jump right into the good stuff?
  • Do people lie on their profiles? What about? What have you lied about?
  • What are some of the best stories about Tinder that you've heard?

We got some great answers and some even better stories. Not to mention we were all a little jealous and angry that today's youth has it so much easier to, ahem—"meet people in college." After a lot of laughs and a few script idea variations, we got to typing and casting. Luckily our post, Got 72 Hours? Let’s Make a Movie NYC received some traction and we were sent a ton of head shots. 

Not to mention we were all a little jealous and angry that today’s youth has it so much easier to, ahem—“meet people in college.”

Our lead actors Kip Vaughn and Elodie Di Palo Burrone had some trouble holding the laughs back during a scene. (Photo: Dan Zelikman)

SATURDAY 8:00 a.m. — To create a successful romantic comedy you need great chemistry between your two leads. Finding two actors in less than three days is challenging, and an unreal expectation. Luckily, we paired first-time actor but long-time cinephile Kip Vaughn with up and coming actress Elodie Di Palo Burrone

Although they had only just met, their on-screen chemistry was that of a long-term couple that was hitting an uncertain bump in the road, and they played it together beautifully. Adding to their dynamic was the star and winner of the television show Whodunnit?Kam Perez. He brought to life a light-hearted character with a quick wit. Actress and stage performer Hannah Richter was brought in to match his energy as the slightly drunk best friend of our lead female character. Together, the four quickly learned the hours old script, and began adding their own voice and flavor to the characters.

Dan Zelikman sets up the shot for the scene between Elodie and Hannah in the kitchen. (Photo: David Baumwoll)

The final step was creating some last minute dating scenes. But the clock was ticking and we realized we had limited options for available actors and almost no time. That meant the writers and the producers of this film were going to have to jump in and act. 

Dan Zelikman captures a New York City sunset from a rooftop building. (Photo: David Baumwoll)

SUNDAY 2:00 p.m. — David Baumwoll, Kim PerkinsAndrew Pavoni, and even myself (who has a love for cameos) were going to have play dates in our film, and that's where the fun really began. We transformed a single New York City office into four separate locations for the dates, using some last minute supplies from Bed Bath and Beyond to create moods for the different locations. One of the dates was even hosted inside a stairwell—we were hoping the audience would be convinced it was a hole in the wall yet trendy New York restaurant. 

The film was due at midnight, but the team stayed up to see the first cut. These were their reactions to seeing the characters they created only three days earlier come to life. (Photo: Dan Zelikman)

The shoot was an exhausting marathon that lasted 72 hours with about five total hours of sleep. But the memories of the shoot were all happy, with lots of laughs and talk about how we should all get together again and film a story like this with a proper schedule and budget.

While that notion is an enticing one, it might be tough to top the original Side Swiped. In late December 2014 we were notified that Side Swiped won the Official Jury Selection for Best Romance. Despite the time and budget constraints, and without having a proper technical team—we somehow told a story that people enjoyed. One might even say that they "swiped up" after viewing it.

If you would like to rate or review Side Swiped, please do so on our IMDb page. If you have any questions, you can contact us here. Thanks very much for watching our short film, we hope you liked it.