Do you swede?
Rose Marie Marinace at the Sant Bani School in Sanborton wants students across the state to give it a try.
The school is hosting Swede Fest New England, the region’s first ever sweded film festival.
“I heard about the original swede fest in California and I thought it was a great kind of festival,” Marinace said.
Sweded films are films where filmmakers re-create famous movies with themselves as the star. The films are three to five minutes long and they’re supposed to be fun, Marinace said. The festival is open to all New Hampshire students in grades 7 through 12. The maximum film length is five minutes. The notion of a sweded film comes from the 2008 film Be Kind Rewind. The California Swede Fest has grown to where it receives film submissions from all over the world.
Marinace does this type of thing in her classes all the time, and so she was looking to open up the festival to the wider film community in New Hampshire, she said. She got permission from the California Swede Fest officials, because it is a copyrighted event.
“Since I teach this stuff to kids, I thought it would be a great junior high school and high school film festival,” Marinace said.
The festival film committee will preview films as they come in and will accept the first acceptable 20 films. It’s the kind of thing students could probably easily do over April vacation, Marinace said. All films are supposed to be appropriate for all audiences. Submissions will be accepted through May 1. On Saturday, May 19, at 4 p.m. the public can come watch the films at the Sant Bani School.
“There isn’t anything about this that isn’t fun,” Marinace said. “Every step of the way, it’s just great fun.”
Marinace teaches academic technology, including digital media, and she figured the festival would be something that her students would be interested in. Four or five kids are already talking about taking part.
The sweded films are fun and family-friendly, even if the original film isn’t. Marinace said students can re-create films like Pulp Fiction — which includes, in its original form, drugs, violence and nudity — in a fun and creative way.
“You pick the most important scenes that really tell the story,” Marinace said. “Then you film and edit them and send it in.”
Many filmmakers recreate films, such as A Few Good Men, particularly the culminating scene where the lawyer, played by Tom Cruise, interrogates the general, played by Jack Nicholson. Indiana Jones movies are also popular in the swede world, Marinace said.
“It’s not really something that has to be sophisticated at all,” Marinace said. Part of making sweded films is embracing the amateur nature of the enterprise. The list of guidelines on the Saint Bani School website suggests using found objects rather than buying props and other items for films.
Though most have some humor component, swede films need not be funny. Whether the goal is humor or not, part of the fun is using homemade props and inexperienced actors to recreate scenes and movies most people know well. In one recreation of A Few Good Men, Marinace remembered, the characters were reenacting serious scenes but the stars on the general’s coat were handmade paper stars that looked like a first-grader made them. Marinace said one film featured Forrest Gump with the filmmaker playing essentially all the other characters.
“It makes it enjoyable to everyone,” said. “And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not necessarily always aiming to be funny, but it will be enjoyable for everyone.”
Having a festival makes for an opportunity for kids to have their work seen by a larger audience of people, said Marinace.
It’s early in the process, but Marinace is trying to get the word out. She has gotten some response on the festival’s Facebook page. Since it’s the first year, Marinace will be keeping close tabs on what works and what doesn’t.
“This is anybody with a video camera,” Marinace said. “It doesn’t have to be someone who did this before.”
A number of students began working on it right away. Marinace said she was planning to reach out to other schools, since some, such as Pinkerton Academy in Derry, have highlighted film production in their curricula.
This year, the festival simply has general admission, but if things go well, Marinace could break it into different categories.
“If you wanted to be a movie star, here’s a movie that’s starring you,” Marinace said. “It’s a chance to have, not 15 minutes, but maybe five minutes of fame.”
Participants can get help on their swede film, but the primary effort must be made by the students.
Visit www.santbani.org. Send specific questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.