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1917 World War I characters

As anyone who’s read up on Sam Mendes’ latest film, 1917, knows, it was filmed to look like it was unfolding over one continuous shot, putting it in nice company with the likes of Birdman and Rope. So as part of the marketing campaign, Universal Pictures launched the 1917 One Shot Challenge Last Month, where contestants could submit their own one-take video for a chance to win tickets to the 1917 premiere.

Now the winner of this contest has been selected by Sam Mendes himself: Ohio-based filmmaker Conrad Faraj, who edged out the competition with his short film Wedding Runner, which you can watch below:

Over the span of two minutes, Wedding Runner shows a man depressed that the love of his life is getting married to someone else, but being convinced by his best friend to race across the street to profess his true feelings in the middle of the wedding. Snapping out of his funk and ditching the booze, Jim runs to the church where the nuptials are unfolding, running into some people, stealing a skateboard and snagging a can of red smoke along the way.

When Jim arrives, he pours his heart out not to the bride, but the groom. Those two can now live their happily ever after together, and the white-dressed woman is now the one who’s emotionally crushed. Such is life.

Conrad Faraj’s Wedding Runner was one of over 100 submissions to this 1917 contest, and you can watch the other videos on the dedicated One Shot Challenge YouTube playlist. Besides needing to be filmed over one continuous shot, other requirements the short films needed to meet included not being longer two minutes (including title and credits), needing at least two characters, requiring one internal location and one exterior location, and the plot needing to “deliver an urgent message.”

As mentioned earlier, 1917 is not the first movie to be shot to look like it’s one take, and Sam Mendes explained that he shot the movie this way to ensure that everything felt like it was happening in real time and ensure that audiences could feel like they were with the main characters. Perhaps if Conrad Faraj becomes as successful a filmmaker as Mendes, he can return to the one-take model for his own feature-length film.

Set at the height of World War I in France, 1917 follows two young British soldiers being sent on a mission to deliver a message that warns of an impending German ambush. The boys must race against the clock and venture across enemy territory to ensure that 1,600 other soldiers don’t walk into a trap. The cast includes Dean-Charles Chapman, George McKay, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott and Richard Madden.

1917 opens in theaters on Christmas Day, and be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie. Don’t forget to look through our 2020 release schedule to learn what’s hitting the silver screen over the next 12 months.

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