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48 Hour Film Project Sparks Creativity

Josh Greenstein

Dinah deSpenza

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Film teams work together to produce a short movie in just 48 hours.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend, in which a team make an entire movie in just 48 hours.

For the past ten years, 40,000 filmmakers from 80 cities on five continents have made 3,000 films. This year, it’s even bigger, with filmmakers around the world taking the challenge to make a short film in two days.

Students and members of the community looking to advance their filmmaking skills through a competitive festival are encouraged to participate.

On the first night, each team gets a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre to include in their movie.

48 hours later, the movie must be complete for a screening at a local theater.

The participating Bay Area cities are San Francisco and San Jose.

Vincent Lowe, city producer for the competition in both cities and a “hopeless dreamer,” said, “It’s a recipe for having your heart broken regularly, but the rewards include being surrounded by amazingly talented people and experiencing the joy of seeing them thrive.”

Lowe got started eight years ago when he led a team that made a mock 48 Hour Film.

After producing some bad films, he and his co-producer decided to bring the 48 Hour competition to the Bay Area, with this year marking its fifth anniversary.

Melisa and Gus Guillen, of Outlaw Media Productions have been participating with the 48 Hour Film Projects in both San Jose and San Francisco since 2007.

“We enjoy the marathon challenge of filmmaking along with meeting new friends in the film community,” said Melisa Guillen.  “The challenge for us most of the time is having enough people to crew a film. Last month, we had a total of 9 people and 4 of them were purely actors. The rest of us took up the roles of writing, directing filming, sound, and editing. Sometimes we have to take on 5 different roles.”

Jeff Crispi, an actor who has worked with two different participating teams in both San Francisco and San Jose, received two awards for Best Picture, with Subject To Change and It Donned On Me.

“I’ve worked with the good, the bad and the fun-loving, and you never know what you’re going to get until your film screens,” said Crispi.  “I recommend the experience to anyone. It’s life-altering.”

Crispi’s current project is his autobiographical documentary, “Full Scale.”

“It puts my creativity, technical abilities, and project management skills to the test,” said 48 Hour Film Project participant Tony Nguyen.

“When you have only two days to write, shoot, edit, and turn in a film, you’re put into do or die mode.” he said. “As team leader and producer, I’m always the one running, scrambling around to make sure the film gets completed.”

Nguyen admits that the stress level sometimes escalates, but that it is all worth it in the end.

“To be able to see your finished product up on the screen with an audience is a reward that is simply indescribable,” he said.  “Working on a 48 Hour Film Project brings people together. The camaraderie that I’ve built with my team members as well as others in the community is pretty incredible. I highly recommend that people pick up their cameras, charge up their MacBook Pros, and do it.”

The 48 Hour Film Project is a place for budding filmmakers to let their creativity soar while getting a crash course in deadlines.  The project has a two-day registration window starting August 12.

1 Comment

One Response to “48 Hour Film Project Sparks Creativity”

  1. Vincent Lowe on July 16th, 2011 6:44 am

    Just one thing. The registration window is 8 weeks prior to the competition weekend. (It’s open now for San Jose – http://48hourfilm.com/sanjose)

    The competition itself begins on Aug 12. Filmmakers will have 2 days starting at that point to complete their short film.




California State University East Bay
48 Hour Film Project Sparks Creativity