On a Friday night, you get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie. 48 hours later, the movie must be complete. Upon completion it will show at a local theater, usually during the following week. In this national film competition teams in each city go head-to-head to win a cash prize, film equipment and a chance for national distribution.
When I first heard of this preposterous idea, I thought, “It’s impossible that a film worth watching could be made from start to finish in 48 hours”. I mean… isn’t filmmaking a serious business of take two, three, four or more…costing big production dollars? I was soon disabused of that notion after watching some of the winning films at www.48hourfilm.com.
Eight years ago, the first competition was held by filmmakers and co-founders Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston in their hometown of Washington, DC. Since its debut in 2001, the 48HFP has grown to 30,000 filmmakers (from more than 70 cities) rising to the challenge.
Closer to home, Coco and Kerri Bermudez competed and won the 2007 city competition for Tampa –St. Pete and went on to the Filmapalooza at Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA. to have their film compete head-to-head with the other winning films from more than 70 cities across the U.S. and abroad. Theirs became one of the top 15 films of 2007. While at Cinequest, they met Executive Producers Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston and discovered that Tampa-St. Pete did not have a City Producer to run the 2008 competition. Coco and Kerri gladly stepped in and took the reigns as this year’s Tampa Bay 48HFP City Producers.
Amongst their various lists of duties, Coco and Kerri were responsible for securing a minimum of 24 film teams for the competition. By the week of the competition - held on July 18-20 – a total of 28 teams had registered. On Friday night, July 18, the teams gathered at the kick-off event held at Limey’s Pub in St. Petersburg; 25 of the 28 teams showed up to pull a random genre out of a hat. Almost every team drew a different genre, which they were required to adhere to as they wrote, shot and edited a short film during the 48 hours. Aside from adhering to the genre, all teams were given a set of required elements that they had to incorporate into their movie in some way. The elements for this year were:
Character: Bob or Barbara Percival - Food Connoisseur
Line of Dialogue: “How could you do this to me?”
At precisely 7:00pm, the filmmakers were off and running to make their 4-7 minute film. The city producers got many positive reports that the teams were doing well, morale was high and they were pleased with how their productions were developing.
The finished films had to be dropped off by 7:30pm on Sunday to be eligible for the full competition. Although, there were three teams that did not make the deadline, their films still qualified to be screened and were eligible for the “Audience Awards”.
Two film screenings were held at Channelside Theatres on July 23rd. Some 600 people turned out for the screenings. There was a refreshing mix of films this year, which supported the fact that Tampa Bay has an incredible wealth of talent from production crews, actors, editors and musicians. “The fact that the filmmakers turned out the high quality they did within 48 hours made Coco and I proud to be a part of this fantastic film community!” remarked Kerri.
After much deliberation, the judges finally decided on the winners for the 15 categories. Kerri stated, “After seeing the work put out this year, we knew that we really wanted to celebrate and honor the filmmakers by throwing an awards party.”
NOVA 535 in St. Petersburg (one of the sponsors) provided the perfect venue to throw an amazing awards party. Clips from each of the nominated films were shown as well as a full screening of the Best Film nominees. I was really impressed with the quality of the films made in this 48hour Film Project!
At the end of the night, the coveted Best Film of 2008 was announced - a silent film called, “Crime’s a Cookin’” by Team JumpCut - led by filmmaker Wes Roberts. But that’s not all. Wes’s team also took a second award, the Audience Award for Tampa!
Ecstatic with his team’s wins, Wes happily posed for photos and gave me his contact info for an interview. Unfortunately, on follow-up he was unavailable for comment. I suspect he and his team were still on a well deserved sabbatical.
Team JumpCut will now represent Tampa-St. Petersburg at Filmapalooza to have their film screened at a major film festival with other city winners from all over the world. We will have to wait and see if they become the best of 2008 at the international competition, which usually takes place in February/March.
As for Coco and Kerri, they have returned to their “real jobs” at their production company, Movie Groovy. Check them out at www.moviegroovy.com
- Tampa Bay Informer
The Good News Newspaper