48 Hour Film Project

48 Hour Logo

Just A Weekend

As most of us know creating a film, even a short film, weather it’s a documentary or something more fictional, takes a lot of time. First you have come up with a concept, get funding somehow, get a crew, shoot the production and then edit and do the rest of post-production. This whole process usually takes a minimum of several months, if not years, for some of the most basic films. Now, imagine trying to do an entire short film, from conception to post-production all in one 48-hour span of time. That is the challenge of the 48 Hour Film Project, where teams have just two days to create an entire story using just a prop, theme and line of dialogue. DC’s annual 48-hour film project was the weekend of May 5th and with other 48-hour film projects taking place across the globe on various other dates.

Mark Ruppert

A Humble Beginning

The Project got its start in May, 2001 when local filmmaker Mark Ruppert came up with the idea to have an experimental competition where teams would have to make a complete short film in 48 hours. He enlisted his film-making partner Liz Langston and several small teams who thought  the idea sounded fun and challenging. Today the project takes place in more than 120 cities around the world, such as Las VegasChicago, Rome and Beijing, and involves many teams, who altogether make up more than 60,000 thousand people. The smallest team was one man who set up a camera and then was in the film, and the largest group was a team from Albuquerque with 116 people and 30 horses.

It’s All About Action

The mission of the Project is refreshingly simple: don’t think, just do!!! The very short time limit encourages creativity and teamwork skills and spurs people to give it their all. It’s through this intense process that the creators of the project hope to promote filmmakers and advance filmmaking. Personally, as someone who worked on a team for DC 48 hour film project on May 5th, I can attest just how challenging and chaotic the process can be. It takes a lot of patience and nerve to make it through one of these films—and a true passion for film—to consistently come back to the project year after year.

48 Hour Trophy

The Process and Prizes

There are a few guidelines that filmmakers have to follow when making their short film. At the Friday party that kicks off the project, each team is randomly assigned a theme, a line and prop that must appear in their short film. Apart from those specifications, they make whatever type of piece they want. The finished pieces need to be complete two days later, that Sunday by 7 pm at a drop off party. The following weekend, the films are screened at AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring over the course of four nights. There are prizes for films that are voted the best and these prizes include best writing, best director and best editing among others. There’s a also an international grand prize which nets the winner $5,000. Ten of the best films of the 2013 tour are going to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in 2014.