Miami Filmmakers Race to Shoot Movie in 48 Hours

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

into it."

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

Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center (1770 Monroe St., Hollywood).

Visit www.48hourfilm.com/Miami.

--Liz Newman

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