BY ADAM MADRID
It started 9 years ago when a group of friends—Jeremiah Stadt, Joshua Stadt, Michael Geselbracht, and your humble narrator—participated in Jacksonville’s first ever 48 Hour Film Project contest, brought here by Mac McDonald. This film contest started in DC back in 2001 and has now expanded across the world. The concept: try to make a film in 48 hours, not knowing what you’re going to film until that Friday. You are given elements that include a genre, character, prop and a line of dialogue that have to be in the movie. Then you have 48 hours to have your film completed and dropped back off… GO!
Our Team is called Argyle Forest Films, and our first film was Soul Possession, currently on YouTube. From there, we improved with each year’s entry until finally, we won the grand prize Best Film for 2014 48 Hour Film Jacksonville for our film No Laughing Matter.
We had our winning film screened in Hollywood, CA at the historic Chinese Theatre for the National Contest against other films from around the world. We had family and friends show up to the Hollywood premiere, walking the red carpet. It was an unbelievable experience. Four friends from Jacksonville who started talking about making films in a garage in Argyle Forest were now in Hollywood having our film screened in front of the other winners from all over the world. All our hard work and time finally paid off.
After this experience, we looked at each other and said we wanted more. The top 12 films go onto Cannes Film Festival in France. We didn’t make the top 12 of all the films from across the world, but that raised the bar for us.
Now we have returned to defend our Best Film title and continue this amazing journey. All this success wouldn’t be possible without Monique Madrid, Amberly Stadt, family and friends, who helped during productions and came to support the films when they screened. This year’s contest, in Jacksonville, begins on Friday, June 5th and goes until Sunday, June 7th. PRI Productions is organizing the event with Chris Ackerman overseeing the contest. The films will be screened at the Florida Theatre on June 15th, 17th, & 18th. The Best of Screening will be on Thursday, July 9th. Come out and support your local filmmakers.