There was always something about the A.V. kids in high school. Maybe it was their dark glasses or the way they parted their hair. They intrigued us then and they intrigue us now with this weekend's 48 Hour Film Project, an entire weekend of film geeks huffing and puffing to finish a movie in two days. Claiming to be the oldest film competition around, the 48 Hour Film Project stops in Miami for the sixth year. And we hope you already have your teams picked out, because the hustle starts tomorrow.
Think of it as the reverse of Mad Libs. Contestants arrive at the News Lounge and receive a few filled-in blanks --
a randomly chosen genre, prop, line of dialogue, and a character name -- that all need to be worked into a completed short film. After that, it's go time. Teams have from that first minute until Sunday to write, shoot, edit, and score their very own short film.
Sound impossible? It's not. And frankly, it's twice the amount of time afforded in the recent Miami Film Tour. After a conversation with Miami Producer Cathleen Dean, it seems like the 48-hour scramble is a great way to get some of these film buffs off their asses.
"It is a wild, adrenalin filled weekend," explains Dean. "But the time
constraint brings out some incredible creativity...the competition forces
them to get out there and do it. It is the kick some of them need."
Teams are accepted on a first come, first served basis and are typically
made up of anywhere between 4 to 10 people. And although 35 teams have
already signed up to play, registration is still open for those who
secretly practice their Oscar acceptance speeches in front of their
mirror. Just visit their web site and have $155
sign-up fee ready.
Dean says although plenty of industry kids are in the mix, they have
seen their fair share of rookies too - even lawyers. "Despite what
people do for their day job, maybe they are secretly writing a
screenplay at night," says Dean. "Somewhere deep down there is that
desire to participate. You meet people you never would have thought were
Dean also said watching the hundreds of team members race back to News
Lounge on Sunday night to meet the drop-off deadline can be as
entertaining as the film itself. "I've heard funny stories about people
making a relay team, tossing the DVD out the window to another teammate
or finishing it on their laptop in the car on the way to drop off."
For those not involved, you can still size up the competition on August
11 and 12 when the red carpet will be rolled out for local filmmakers
during the two-day screening process in Hollywood. (No, not tinseltown -
Hollywood, FL, specifically the Hollywood Central Performing Arts
Center.) From there, the best Miami shorts will go head-to-head with
the hundreds of other city winners worldwide before the final winner is
It'll be just like the time you shot your first independent film back in
high school: "Lights, camera, action." (OK, fine. That was just a sex
tape you made with the A.V. kid in the projector room.)
Pick up the film elements at the News Lounge (5580 NE Fourth Ct., Miami)
tomorrow from 6 to 7 p.m. The films are due there on Sunday by 7:30 p.m. The
films will screen on August 11 and 12 at 7 and 9:15 p.m. at the
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Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center (1770 Monroe St., Hollywood).