Back in 2001, Mark Ruppert came up with the idea of creating a competition that would challenge the world's best filmmakers to make a three-minute film in only two days, and in the process answer this question: "Would films made in only 48 hours even be watchable?" The result was the 48 Hour Film Project, which will be in Denver August 2 through August 4. The project features 150 filmmakers on six continents all competing to make the most creative film they can in one sleepless weekend -- and some of those teams will be racing through town this weekend.
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On August 2 in Denver, each registered team will receive specific instructions on what their film must be about -- including movie genre and a character, a prop and a line of dialogue that all must be featured in the film in some way. The teams are then given 48 hours to write, direct and shoot the movies, which must be submitted on Sunday, August 4. One minute late, and a submission is automatically disqualified.
"One of the things we are most proud of is bringing creative communities together," says co-founder and executive producer Liz Langston. "Over one weekend people realize what wonderful things they can accomplish as part of a team. The strict deadline in the project requires that people get off the couch and make a film, which is ultimately the most important thing."
While Langston and Ruppert oversee the entire operation, a city producer is assigned to make sure everything runs smoothly for the local project. According to Denver's city producer, Kristin Nolan, "The 48 Hour Film Project is not only a creative outlet but an event that challenges the normal working environment. It is through this creative process that discoveries are made, barriers overcome and new means by which to use film/video are found. The Denver 48 Hour Film Project is a vehicle by which our greater film and video community can grow and garner more attention.
"Denver has a fertile film and video scene and the 48 Hour Film Project provides this community and others interested in getting further involved a challenging outlet in which to express their creativity and hone their skills," she continues. "Given their experience with the event, teams, individual participants and the public are inspired to produce more innovative film/video productions, better appreciate the process/product and spread the influence and knowledge of Colorado films beyond our borders."
Each year, the winning Denver film is sent on to Filmapalooza, the international 48 Hour Film Project convocation that features 125 or more short movies. The winners will be given a grand prize of $5,000, and a chance to screen their short film at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival.
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"Film can be a reflection of our lives, a creative endeavor that impresses our senses, an inspirational experience or simply a provider of levity," Nolan says. "Films allow us to think about the world around us and consider how we and all the pieces fit within it. On a more local level, the growth of our film and video industry has helped to creatively promote and support other art forms in Colorado. Film and video professionals and amateurs have captured and framed our exceptional local music scene, poetry arts, absolute comedy explosion and the fine and visual arts. This has made the happenings of our cultural landscape more accessible not only to those in our state, but to an interested national and international audience."