You don't have to be a serious filmmaker to make movies and have them featured in a screening event. In fact, if you think you can put together a three- to seven-minute film in one weekend, the 48 Hour Film Project may be a great way to get your creative juices flowing, spend quality time with friends and family and experience the thrill of seeing your handiwork on a big screen.
“I think the challenge of doing everything in two days is what makes it most fun,” said Cort Smith, an Oklahoma City firefighter at Station 8 in Stockyard City. Smith, along with most of the guys at his station, plan to join in the fun again this year.
For the project, participants form teams and have exactly 48 hours to write, shoot and edit their films. The 48 Hour Film Project is the largest film competition of its kind, said Oklahoma City producer Carol Lowe. The project is held in 120 cities on six continents.
“You get your friends together and pile whatever equipment you have together, you know, and kind of pool things. And then you just do it,” Lowe said.
This year's Oklahoma City leg of the project kicks off Saturday when all local teams will meet for instructions.
At the initial meeting on Friday, teams will draw a movie genre from a hat. Each team from Oklahoma must incorporate the same prop, character and line of dialogue into their films. These items are also revealed at the project kickoff meeting.
“Last year, we got hosed. My friend Jeff and I were trying to think of ideas for all these different genres,” Smith said. The two came up with several ideas but when Smith drew out of the hat, he ended up with fantasy, a genre he hadn't considered. “As you can imagine, fantasy was really difficult.”
That's part of the beauty of the project — trying your hand at a genre you've never thought of attempting.
Smith's fantasy film won a local award for best special effects.
“You should come to the screening. It will be pretty evident which one is ours,” Smith said. He calls his unofficial production company Caveman Pictures. “If you look at the guys that I work with, we look like a bunch of cavemen with a camera running around.”
Lowe first heard about the 48 Hour project while in Key West, Fla., shooting a video. When she saw on the Web that it was coming to Oklahoma City for the first time last year, she jumped at the chance to enter. But when she went back to the website, Oklahoma City was no longer on the list because the local producer had quit.
“So I said, ‘Could I do it?' And they said, ‘Let's talk,'” Lowe said. “I just really wanted Oklahoma filmmakers to have a chance to display their work.”
Eleven teams competed in last year's Oklahoma City round of the project.
The winning films from each local contest will be featured in a finale festival called Filmapalooza next spring.
Last year's top 10 films internationally were screened at Cannes Film Festival in May. This year's final screening destination is yet to be announced.
The entry fee is $175 per team. For more information on the 48 Hour Film Project, go online to www.48hourfilm.com, or show up at 6 p.m. Saturday at Johnnie's Charcoal Broiler, 33 E 33, in Edmond.