DISCLAIMER!!! VANITY + SATIRE + PLUG for IFP!!!
Menagerie of Space, the 2007 short film most people have never heard of, celebrates no significant milestone other than existing.
It does hold the distinction of being the first IFP Film Challenge entry from CareFree Write Productions.
The latest IFP Film Challenge (the IFP Breakout Challenge) will have its screening and awards ceremony at the Phoenix Art Museum Thursday October 30th at 7PM. Tickets available here.
While you wait, here’s 10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Menagerie of Space:
(I don’t expect anyone to read this unless they know me… Read on just for the fun of it. No real journalism here…)
Menagerie of Space was a collaboration of CareFree Write Productions and the Phoenix Neutrino Project. PNP was an improv show that improvised and screened an instant 40 minute film in under an hour (so putting together 3 minute piece in 48 hours seemed easy). CFWP started as an entity producing student films at SCC in 2000, eventually evolving to the LLC producing the Phoenix Improv Festival and The Torch Theatre (as well as producing shorts like MoS). The stick figure came from the logo of the “Carefree Writers Association,” a web site from the late 90s that aimed to showcase writing (before “blogs” became a thing).
IFP Phoenix 48 Hour Film Challenge
Menagerie of Space was conceived, shot, and completed in one July weekend as part of IFP Phoenix’s annual 48 Hour Film Challenge. Most of the film was shot at the historic Paramount Theater in Casa Grande, AZ. Everyone involved was an improvisor with the soon-to-be-hatched Torch Theatre.
The cop’s 6-shot revolver fires way more than 6 shots. Greg just fired until the caps ran out. This deliberate “mistake” was part of the film’s Ed Wood/B-movie homage. Also, we thought it would be funny.
In an alternate take, Greg transformed into a bear puppet named Bruce. This puppet originally appeared in CFWP’s first short, Murder Most Cuddly. Yes, that’s dry ice. Real high-tech effects in this one.
The alien costume worn by Tommy Cannon was originally an Alpha Plus costume from the film Brave New World. Bill Binder acquired the suit when he picked of a shirt from Back to the Future 2 at a movie memorabilia sale.
While MoS didn’t win any particular prizes at the 48 Hour Film Challenge, it was granted a screening at the 2007 International Horror/Sci-Fi Film Festival.
The assigned genre of the film was “horror.” If not for the scream captured here, it would barely qualify.
Phoenix Comic Con
Appearing at the Horror/Sci-Fi festival also paved the way for MoS‘s appearance at Phoenix Comic Con in 2008 (when PhxCC was still in Mesa… and in January). This would be the first, but not the last CFWP film at PhxCC.
“That’s pretty unlucky.”
Every 48 Hour Challenge comes with a required line of dialogue. This contest, launched on Friday the 13th, had the line “That’s pretty unlucky.” The films are also required to use an assigned prop. For this contest, it was cheese.
Everyone involved with MoS was an improvisor; however, virtually every line of dialogue was scripted. Only the line “Alright you ‘lip monkeys!’ Break it up!” was improvised.
Menagerie of Space Director’s Cut
One of the requirements of the IFP Film Challenges in 2007 was to keep the films under 3 minutes (recent contests allow the films to go up to 5).
With so much of Menagerie of Space cut out to stay within the IFP time limit, a longer “Director’s Cut” was put together three years later.