48 Hour Film Project Takes Columbus
Who was that singing, galloping, stalking and spying all over town last weekend? Well, it might have been the Grandview streaker. It could also have been Columbus filmmakers participating in the guerilla moviemaking of the 48 Hour Film Project.
Last Friday night, contestants gathered to receive the parameters of their weekend’s work. Contest organizer KC Allen handed each team a genre, as well as three elements that must make their way into all movies: a character, a line of dialogue, and a prop. The budding Scorseses then had two days to write, shoot, edit, score, and turn in their completed 4 – 7 minute films.
Top prize winners go on to compete against 48HFP winners from around the world in Filmapalooza, with the possibility of taking the trophy for best film, a cash prize of $5,000, and a trip to Cannes.
It’s a marathon of creative effort that has inspired Columbus filmmakers for years. Allen, a former contestant himself, brought the project to Columbus in 2008. He’s been motivated to remain involved for two reasons.
“There are two elements to the 48 Hour Film Project. One is to get as many teams as possible involved, because that’s what makes for a wonderful afternoon of movie viewing, and it makes it more of a competition,” he says.
Secondly, says Allen, “We want people to know that there is a vibrant film community in Columbus, and we want them to come and see their work.”
According to the project’s history, it’s an impressive filmmaking pool indeed. The Columbus competition has spawned more top winners than any other city, including the cinematic hubs of New York and LA.
Says Tim Baldwin, “The Columbus showing has been really strong. In our few years, two of the movies have gone to the Cannes film festival. Nobody else has gotten that. I think that’s telling of how Columbus has a really great film community.”
“We might be small,” he says, “but it seems like we really know what we’re doing.”
Tim should know. His Aidan 5 won the first local 48HFP, was shown at Filmapalooza, and then found its way to Cannes. He’s participated every year since. What brings him back?
“Ego,” he laughs.
“Shooting it and getting it all on film is the most fun,” says Baldwin. There have been some drawbacks, though.
“The first year, I was exhausted,” he admits. “And the second year.”
In his sixth year of competing, Baldwin, the video editor/producer for the event staging company Bartha, has it down to a science.
“We shoot during the day and are able to put it together pretty quickly,” he says. “The adrenaline helps a lot.”
Apparently Baldwin is not the only competitor driven to return year after year. Says Allen, “Most of our teams are repeats. Quite a few teams have come back every single year.”
Allen says the filmmakers try to outdo the previous year’s performance, which results in stronger work with each year.
“Every year the film has gotten better. There’s really a lot to be gained in working with this wonderful community of filmmakers, getting their feedback, inviting some of them onto your team.”
“Back in 2008, the product that we got was wholly different from what we’ll be getting in 2013,” he says. “Their skills have advanced, the equipment they’re using has advanced, their knowledge of how to use that equipment has advanced. It’s getting better and better for the independent filmmaker to do better and better things on a lower budget. In the meantime, their own skills are getting better: their writing skills, their sense of timing, their ability to tell a story. We really want to encourage people to come out and see the films these folks are creating.”
You’ll get your chance to support the local film community and check out tomorrow’s Cannes lineup today – or, Wednesday and Thursday, anyway. All shorts in the competition will screen at the Gateway Film Center in groups at 6:30 and 8:30 pm Wednesday, 7/31, and at 6:30 Thursday, 8/1. Judges will then take some time to determine winners in multiple categories, and a best of contest screening will take place later this summer at Studio 35.
For more information, visit www.48hourfilm.com/columbus/.
A full slate of movie reviews is available on my website www.maddwolf.com.