STV writer Michael MacLennan makes mark for 48 Hour Film Project with short film Capturing Beth

Capturing Beth was created by the Next in Line team as part of The 48 Hour Film Project, a contest in which teams of filmmakers are assigned a genre, a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue, and have 48 hours to create a short film containing those elements.

The novel contest has spread across the world over the past decade – and was held in Edinburgh last month from May 18 to 20, its fifth year in the capital, with more than 40 teams taking part this time around.

On this occasion the required elements were the character Kit or Kitty Young (who had to be collector), a prop cake, and the line “What am I supposed to do with this?"

At Friday’s kick-off event Next in Line randomly drew “suspense/thriller” from the available genres, and then set off to create, write, shoot and edit their short film, which focused on a mysterious individual (played by Jamie Robson) following Beth (Anne Nicholson).

STV’s Michael MacLennan, who wrote, directed and edited the film, said of the event: “The 48 Hour Film Project is a fantastic challenge – I’d whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in filmmaking.

“It was exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure; I still shudder when thinking back to the Friday evening, when we had no story or idea of what we were going to do – all of us aware that by 7.30pm on Sunday we were going to have to deliver a finished project, whatever state it might be in.”

There was an added impetus this time around, as it was the second time attempt at the 48 Hour Film Project for the Next in Line team after taking part in the inaugural Glasgow event last October.

On that occasion, the team were four minutes late for the finish – despite Michael running all the way to the hand-off venue with a copy of the finished film in hand! Thankfully this time around they got it in on time, with a leisurely four minutes to spare.

Capturing Beth was screened alongside some of the other short films at Edinburgh’s Cameo cinema in the week after. Out of the 40 or so other efforts, judges awarded Best Film to silent film Coffin Up which featured a score by Radio 1 DJ Vic Galloway.

Michael added: “It was marvellous to see such a diverse selection of short films on the big screen at the Cameo, all of which had so much effort put into them – with one entirely animated, and another shot in 3D.

“After the Sunday was over I didn’t think I’d ever want to put myself through it again, but now I’m already looking forward to the next chance to get involved.”

The 48 Hour Film Project returns to Glasgow this October. For more information on the Edinburgh event visit their Facebook page, and find a selection of this year’s Edinburgh efforts on their YouTube playlist.

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