The 48 Hour Film Project

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

Is it possible to make a film in a single weekend? The 48 Hour Film Project has proven you can. The competition began in May 2001, when Mark Ruppert, and his filmmaking partner, Liz Langston, called on several other DC filmmakers to form teams, enter a competition, and determine if a good film could be made in only 48 hours. The answer was a huge “yes”!  Since that date the contest has grown in leaps and bounds.

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

Just what is the 48-Hour Film Project? It is a sleepless weekend in which filmmakers make a movie. They write, shoot, edit and score it, in just 48 hours.  No rest, just a crazy wild time of creating something unique to enter into the contest! Dates vary around the country and world and fit into the local time zones.

Let’s talk about the Atlanta, Georgia, 48 Hour Film Project, since I watched one of the entries being filmed in front of my shop this past weekend. The Little Shop Of Arts And Antiques opened its doors for filmmakers Jayson Palmer and Chris Eldridge, along with a crew of other writers, actors, and filmmakers, numbering approximately twenty folks, to work their magic. My shop is located in the historic Old Town district of Lilburn, Georgia. The merchants on Main Street welcomed the crew and many of the shops had a segment filed in their location. It was an exciting day for a sleepy hub thirty minutes from Atlanta.

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

The film project began at 7 PM on Friday night and ended at 7 PM on Sunday night. All entries had to be received by 7:30 to be included in the contest. The finished film must be 4 minutes to 7 minutes in duration—not including credits.

Last Friday night, the approximately 55 Atlanta film teams received the information needed to begin. The teams were handed a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre. Prior to that moment, no one had a clue what these would be. All had to be included in the movie. 48 hours later, the movie had to be completed and turned in by the deadline set for the competition. The following week it will be shown at a local theater.

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

In 2010, nearly 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films covering 80 cities on five continents. This year the event is even larger with filmmakers around the world taking the challenge. The prizes range from local awards and international awards to the screening of the winning film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Each city has its own panel of judges to select the “Best Film of the City”. Judges can include film critics, actors, other filmmakers and producers. The panel breaks down the judging in percentages. Artistic merit receives 45%, which includes the story line, creativity and entertainment value. Technical merit receives 30%. The last 25% goes to adhering to the assignment. The city winner goes on to other competitions. There is also a local audience award that is determined by audience ballot at the initial screening in each city.

The screening of the Atlanta 48 Hour Film Project will be on June 17 and 18 at the Plaza Theater, located at 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave, Atlanta, Georgia, 30306. The Plaza Theater is Atlanta’s oldest cinema and is a historical monument in the city.

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

The mission of the challenge is to get filmmakers, and would be filmmakers, to make films. The tight time frame for the project gets everyone into action, instead of just talking about ideas, they have to pull together and get it done! Teamwork and creativity are in the spotlight for the weekend.

“I’m so tired!” I heard one filmmaker moan in front of my shop. Then she gave a huge grin. “This is the best fun I’ve ever had!”

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

I think it was the best time for all of us watching on the sidelines on Main Street, Lilburn!

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Film Crew on Main Street in Old Town, Lilburn, Georgia.

See when the camera rolls in your neighborhood. Visit the 48 Hour Film Project website at http://www.48hourfilm.com/tour/chronological.php.

Barbara Barth, the CEO of Life

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