Don't be surprised if this weekend, the city seems lousy with film crews. Fear not: there is not a pandemic of Kardash-ococcus spreading through Miami. Rather, the 48 Hour Film Project begins tonight.
Teams of filmmakers will be given 48 hours to make a short film in one of 15 genres that they select at random, using props and lines of dialogue assigned to them and following other limitations. They will be fueled by inspiration and exactly 9.6 of those 5-Hour Energy drinks.
"The winning Miami film from 2010 was showcased in Cannes, in the short film corner," Cathleen Dean tells Cultist. Dean is a filmmaker in her own right but also produces the Miami edition of the 48 Hour Film Project, which is now in 120 cities across six continents. "Every year, a selection of the 48 hour films from around the word are chosen to show at Cannes and I was thrilled to see the Miami film represent in France."
2011 Miami prize winner, Human Again
Other Miami films have gone on to be shown on television and to win top prizes at international film festivals.
"They're good films. It's not necessarily that they're just good for being up against the clock but in the festivals, they're up against films that have no time limits, no restrictions of any kind."
Prizes are given for the most innovative uses of the restrictions. "In 2010, the prop was a brush," Dean says. "We leave it loose and they can use whatever brush they want. Some used a paintbrush, a hair brush. One of the funnier films was a mockumentary about the oil spill that used a people cleaner brush."
So many brushes, so little time! This is the ninth year that Miami has participated in the 48 Hour Film Project and Dean has been running the festival since 2010. "I was directing a short film in 2008," she remembers, "and every time we had a break, my director of photography and editor were rehashing war stories from the 48. It sounded like a blast so the next year I competed."
How'd she do?
"I was one of those people who needed to come back the next year and try again." And, as the saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, take over whatever organization says you didn't succeed.
"Having been through it," Dean says, "I have so much respect for people who do it and do it well."
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And if you want to see the films that your friends, neighbors, and former lovers have made, you obviously don't have to wait very long. The completed films will be screened a week later, on May 17 and 18 at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center. The winners will be announced immediately after the the screenings on the 18th and audience members are invited to a wrap party following the ceremony.
When it's all over, participants will return to the boring-as-hell other 8,712 hours of the rest of the year. But the films will remain as a testimony to the 48 hours when their makers had the courage to soar where only eagles dare or, in the case of Miami, had the courage to strut awkwardly where only feral chickens dare.
For more information and to purchase tickets to the screenings, visit 48hourfilm.com.