The challenge: Create a 4-7 minute film in a 48 hour time period. Teams are given a prop, a line of dialogue, a character, and a genre to integrate into their masterpiece. Sound impossible? This year 35 teams composed of 500 filmmakers rose to the challenge in Pittsburgh’s 48 Hour Film Project. This year’s prop was a flashlight, the dialogue was “That’s what I want to know”, and the character was Maxwell or Madison Feringa, an Athlete. Genres ranged this year from dramas and comedies, to musicals and adventure serials. This is Pittsburgh’s sixth year of participating in the national competition, which happens to be the largest and oldest film competition in the world. Not only is the filming and editing done in this one wild weekend, writing, casting, you name it, all happens within the 48 hours.
The 48 Hour Film Project’s mission is “to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers”. Through its festival and competition, the Project encourages filmmakers and would-be filmmakers to get out there and make movies. The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers—emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills. While the time limit places an unusual restriction on the filmmakers, it is also liberating by putting an emphasis on ‘doing’ instead of ‘talking’.”
On July 20th the Pittsburgh teams met at Bar Marco for their prop, dialogue, character, and genre assignments. Two days later all 35 teams returned their finished films. If teams arrive even one minute after their 7:30pm deadline, they were disqualified. Luckily this year everyone made it! Could you imagine doing all of that hard work for nothing?
Curious as to what transpired? You can check out all the action during the screenings on Saturday, July 28th and Sunday, July 29th at The Hollywood Theater in Dormont. The films are screened in three separate groups at 1 and 4PM each day. Each screening promises to be completely different. Head over to their Facebook page and check out the trailers, because the trailer with the most Likes will win a special prize.
A panel of judges will chose the 17 winning films that will then screen and be presented with their awards on August 4th at The Hollywood Theater. This year’s judges include Lamman Rucker, star from Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns”, Minette Seat, senior producer at WQED Pittsburgh, and Nicholas Danko, owner/ creative director of On Beat Productions. The film that wins Best of Pittsburgh gets a cash prize, and goes on to Filmapalooza in March to compete against the other 110 participating cities.
Teams ranged in size from 3 to 31 members, and one team came in all the way from New Jersey to compete. There are also two family rivalries this year. A mother and son are competing on separate teams against one another, as well as a husband and wife. Tip to the husband: let your wife win. There were also plenty of kids in on the shenanigans. One team leader was only 15 years old, and some projects have kids as young as 9 years old and 3 months old featured in their films.
If you’re a film buff, a Pittsburgh supporter, or just a voyeur curious as to how it all unfolds, be sure to head to the screenings this weekend and support this one of a kind affair.