The Assignments

Assignment 13 (Spring 2016)

The assignment for SFP 13 will be announced to participating teams after midnight on the night of the signup, March 20th, and will be posted online at the end of this round.


Assignment 12 (Spring 2015)

We’re sure you, like us, have noticed that Hollywood has run out of ideas lately. It feels like every blockbuster movie is something we’ve seen already. This repetition of stories isn’t a new phenomenon – it’s something we humans have done throughout our existence. Every culture, at every point in history, has created narratives to explain the world around them, comment on the way we interact with each other, and share experiences of the the universe. We are speaking, of course, of mythology.

Myths can range from the completely fantastic to the absolutely banal, often at the same time. How did the universe get here? Why do we argue with our siblings? No matter what kind of magical events happen, myths, at their core, resonate with what it means to be human. While the places and characters tell us much about the culture they come from, their essence remains timeless.

We are giving each team their own mythic story, drawing from cultures from around the world. We want you to take these old tales, and think like a Hollywood exec. Imagine you’re pitching the idea for a not-so-new new movie. “Well, it’s the story of …, but wait!” What’s the catch? You have two more components to your assignment.

First, is a time. We’ve randomly assigned you a year or time period to set your movie in. Your story will take place somewhere between prehistoric times and the far future. Second, we’re asking you to interpret your myth in one of three ways: as a prequel, sequel, or reboot. Because there’s no better way to cash in on a good story than telling what happened before, what came after, or just telling it over again.

We know that you may have a very strange story, and maybe some of your characters are animals behaving badly. Have fun with re-interpreting these stories to be suitable for the times and (your choice of) places in your film. 


Assignment LIGHTNING (Fall 2014)

In the past, we have given you ample time to complete your assignments. This time, we are going to need your team to assemble quickly, work cohesively, and finalize your film in record time. You may need to strip down your process to the bare essentials. You will probably need to consume a lot of coffee.

Starting now, you have seventy two hours. How you use them, is up to you.

The Sparrow Film Project has brought together a community in the pursuit of creativity. We have grown from humble origins, from small gatherings at bars to large museum galas. Over the years, our filmmakers have investigated film theory, confronted outdated laws, and worked in genres you have never heard of before.

This time, we want bring things back home. We want you to get out there in our beloved neighborhood of Astoria.
In your dossier, the primary component of your assignment is a location. We have done preliminary reconnaissance in the form of a map and reference photo. It is not necessary to shoot your entire film at your location, however it must be prominently featured (for example, as an location establishing shot) for a minimum of five seconds. We know what it’s like when weather conditions are against you. We realize that we may have given you a location you aren’t able to enter. However – we need to see that you were there.
Also included is a short description or fact about your location. Work any element – from the mundane to the majestic – of this into your film. Entertain us: don’t just read our facts back at us to fulfill your requirement. Weave it into your story.

We will meet again at Singlecut on Sunday evening. Until then, we wish you the best of luck, sunny skies, and speedy render times.

Assignment 11 (Spring 2014)

The Sparrow Film Project has become an institution in our neighborhood, one which has started to extend across the country, and even internationally. As institutions grow and change, there are often strange moments in their history that we later look back at and wonder – what were they thinking?

No institution is a better example of this than the legal system of the United States. For more than two centuries, there have been many strange laws that have been on the books or laws that have been rumored to be real. Legal oddities have become part of the folklore of this nation, and now they become the inspiration for this Project’s films.

Since these absurd, outdated laws are naturally humorous and easily lend themselves towards comedies, there is another twist to the assignment. Teams are receiving their unique, randomly drawn law, and also a genre for their film.

In the tradition of The Sparrow Film Project, creative interpretation of the assignment is an important quality for a film. We encourage filmmakers to use their law as inspiration, and not necessarily re-enact the law to the letter. The city or state where each each law is from is included with the assignment as a point of interest. It is not required to include any reference to the location of origin.