Anyone who has ever been involved in the filmmaking process knows that at times it can be long, arduous, and fraught with waiting and mundane activity. Some films can seemingly take an eternity to complete.
Then there’s the 48 Hour Film Project.
The 48 Hour Film Project is a unique competition among filmmakers. Every year, individual teams of local filmmakers converge upon a specified location for a kickoff meeting on the Friday evening that the project starts. Every team is supplied with the same character, single line of dialogue to be used within the film’s context, and prop to be used in filming. After this, the commonalities end among the teams, and the fun – and the work - begins. Each team leader draws a genre out of a hat, and his or her team has to create a short film within that genre, which, along with the character, line of dialogue and prop, is not given until the actual start of the competition. The film itself must be four to seven minutes in length. The film must be completed – written, shot and edited - within a mere 48 hours. To say that the two-day process is highly intense is an understatement. As the project’s website states, “every second counts when you have 48 hours to make a film.”
Films are evaluated by a panel of judges, all of whom work in the local film industry. To safeguard the integrity of the competition, judges are not announced ahead of time. The winning film is automatically entered into the Traildance Film Festival, Red Dirt International Film Festival, and Deadcenter.
This year the competition will commence at The Paramount OKC at 7pm on August 8th. Films must be turned in by 7pm August 10th. 27 teams are participating in this year’s challenge.
Among this years competitors is Barrington Productions, a team helmed by Eric Kuritz, who recently graduated with a degree in film production from Oklahoma City University. His team consists of local actors. “I worked with half of them on my capstone, so we have familiarity with each other. Picked up a couple new actresses that have worked on some local shorts. I’m looking forward to working with them. The writer and crew are made up of OCU film students.”
Kuritz also fielded a team in last year’s competition, and is hoping for a decidedly different outcome this time around. “We pretty much flew by the seat of our pants,” said Kuritz of his 2013 team. “We were so worn out after the 48 hours. We just missed the deadline. Our computer was exporting the film and it was going well. We would have made it with fifteen minutes to spare, but then the computer crashed and we couldn’t get it to export. We still got to show at the screening, but it was disheartening to put all that work in and just to come that close. Looking back at it, we accomplished a short film in 48 hours with six actors and only two crew members. I would say that was something.”
OKC veteran film and stage tech and actress Amy Ackerman added “the whole concept is cool. I got a post-play-by-play from a winning team member from last year, and what the participants go through sounds exhausting. Fun though.”
Kuritz echoed the same sentiment from a firsthand perspective. “This type of event forces you to think on your feet and be creative. It’s tough, but you get a sense of accomplishment from finishing. I like the challenge. It was very exhausting. Afterwards, I was like ‘no way am I doing this again.’ Two weeks later I was looking forward to next year’s event.”
Kuritz’ wait is over. This year’s event kicks off this evening, and he enters the competition with an additional year of seasoning as well as time to reflect upon the wealth of lessons learned from last year’s project. In addition to his OCU education, Kuritz is armed with real world experience that it takes some filmmakers years to gain.
A great deal of his experience, however, was earned in a baptism by fire, over the course of a mere 48 hours.
For further details on this year’s 48 Hour Film Project, including kickoff and film drop-off details as well as public premiere screening and awards ceremony dates and locations, visit the official 48 Hour Film Project website at http://www.48hourfilm.com/en/oklahomacity/.