2016 · 9:27 · written by Anna Coughlan · produced by William R. Coughlan & Anna Coughlan · directed by William R. Coughlan

Alina, eager for a promotion at work, agrees to take on what appears to be a straightforward task: Housesitting and taking care of her boss Sybil’s precious dog, Winston. But confusion sets in when Alina arrives at the home only to discover that ”Winston” is in fact a stuffed animal — leading her to question both her boss’s motives and her mental state.

After an extraordinarily successful slate of films for 2015, Tohubohu returned to the 48 Hour Film Project in 2016 with “Winston,” a lighthearted animal film, for which “Tex: Wisdom of the Old West” co-screenwriter Anna Coughlan took on solo scripting duties (as well as co-producing). The film was produced over the weekend of April 29th through May 1st, 2016, and premiered at the AFI Silver Theatre on Saturday, May 7th.

48 Hour Film Project IMDb SAG-AFTRA

Winston — Original Trailer

W.C. Fields famously admonished us (well, not us specifically, but performers in general) never to work with animals or children. But that advice proved a bit tough to follow when Tohubohu drew ‘animal film’ as our required genre in the 2016 48 Hour Film Project. (In fairness, we also had the option of going with ‘drama,’ but coming off of the all-too-prescient ‘The Greater Evil,’ we were determined to go a bit lighter this time around.) After rejecting a few promising concepts (including one about a real animal winning a Halloween costume contest, which I swear we’ll revisit someday), screenwriter/producer Anna Coughlan hit upon the notion of using a stuffed animal as our required bestial focus, and we were off and running. That framework quickly expanded until we had a script far too long for our required running time — and even after excising entire scenes late in the scripting process, the finished film still ended up exceeding the competition’s maximum-time requirements. We begrudgingly cut the entire opening sequence for the contest screening — a sequence that had necessitated a whole end-of-the-shooting-day relocation to accomplish. Thankfully, that sequence (along with a few critical transitional moments) has been restored for the ‘definitive’ cut of the film. In the end, even the cut-to-the-bone edition advanced to the ‘Best of the DC 48 Hour Film Project’ showcase, and the full version went on to receive substantial post-contest recognition. (And despite Mr. Fields’s warning, we did end up adding a real live animal to the mix. Sorry. W.C.)
— William R. Coughlan

Silver award

Wheaton Film Festival TIVA DC Peer Awards All Paws Film Festival 48 Hour Film Project