48 Hour Film Project: Experience of the Youth Time reporter

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Did you ever imagine making a movie within 48 hours? And there is more: These two days have to be enough to create the whole concept of the short film, write a script, shoot and edit as well. Seems crazy, doesn’t it?

Notes from real story
Notes from real story

In 2001, an American filmmaker from Washington DC named Mark Ruppert also thought so, but he didn’t give up on making this idea come to life. Today, we can say Mark Ruppert created a worldwide phenomenon. In 2012, over 4000 films were created for the “48 Hour Film Project”, in 120 cities across five continents. Youth Time correspondent Luis Maia participated in the creation of one of the films.

Two Nights without Sleep

In April I participated in the “48 Hour Film Project”, as a screenwriter of a team in Lisbon. Besides me there was a director, a cameraman (who operated two cameras), an assistant, an audio technician, an editor, three actors and a producer. Friday at 7pm, we looked like 10 madmen, when organizers told us we had to make a horror movie. The movie genres were assigned randomly and we were happy not to get a Western to make… because we had no horses… There were content requirements as well: one of the characters had to be called Carla Bengala or Carlos Bengala, and he or she had to be a teacher. We had to use a wooden spoon as a prop and the script should include the following line of dialogue: “Keep your word!”. There was no makeup, no costumes. We spent almost entire night at our producer’s house making up a story. We slept for a couple of hours, and the next morning we started filming.

Our film was about a piano teacher named Carla Bengala, who kept her brother trapped in the basement. She started this obsessive and violent behavior since the death of their parents. After that tragic event, she was supposed to take care of the younger brother, but instead she treated him like an animal. She put food into his mouth, as if he was a baby. The young man was fed with a wooden spoon… the same wooden spoon she used to hit his hands with every time he did not understand a piano lesson she forced him to learn. To make the scenario even more sadistic, the teacher was always in a good mood with other pupils. The captive brother realized this injustice and was filling with hatred every passing minute. One day, the basement door was left open… As a result, the younger brother broke free and killed the teacher. But it did not stop there … he imprisoned the favorite pupil of Carla Bengala. Now he had a prisoner for himself… also locked in the basement. He forced the poor boy to play the piano and imitated the behavior of his deceased sister. Needless to say, he also was violent and started to spank his own pupil with the wooden spoon.

We did not sleep on Saturday night, editing the film. But we were rewarded. Between more than 40 teams that started the challenge, only 17 managed to finish. The following weekend our short film was screened in a local cinema. We didn’t manage to get first place, which would have given us immediate entry into an international festival, but we won the Audience Award. It was a crazy weekend, an experience that any movie lover should have.

How Does It Work?

Participating in 48 Hour Film Project is easy. All you have to do is find out whether the closest city to you is in the list of participants and apply. All further information including the list of cities-participants can be found on the official webpage of the project http://www.48hourfilm.com.

All films must be between four and seven minutes long. The evaluation criteria are based on artistic merit (45%), technical merit (30%) and adherence to the assignment (25%). Each team can have as many elements as they wish. The entry fee varies depending on country, city, and how long in advance you register.. In the United States, for example, the fee could range from 125USD to 175 USD. The winners from each city are awarded with exhibition screenings of their short films in Filmapalooza’s Festival. The winner of this final event won 5000USD in 2012. The 10 best short films will be displayed at the Cannes Festival in 2013.

Photo: Shutterstock

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