Filmmakers view life through a unique lens and the 48 Hour Film Project challenges participants to execute their vision for a short film in just two days. The winning film will compete against films from around the world at Filmapalooza 2020 to win the grand prize and an opportunity to screen at the Cannes Film Festival 2020 Short Film Corner.
The 2019 event kicks off May 17 at Hemming Park with music by DJ Jimmy Hustle, food trucks, and more. Participating teams choose from two randomly selected and produce a film that adheres to the elements of the genre selected. Categories in group one include action/adventure, drama, comedy, dark comedy, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, musical, western, Film de Femme, drama, detective/cop, horror, thriller/suspense, school film or mystery.
Group two includes buddy film, climate film, animal film, family film, fish-out-of-water, mockumentary, generation gap, politics, period piece, road movie, slapstick, silent film, spy/espionage, sports, travel, and vacation.
A character, a prop and a line of dialogue will also be announced just minutes before the Official Filmmaking Period begins. The elements vary from city to city, but in each location, all teams will have the same required elements. It’s up to each team to decide how to integrate the most creative use of these elements into their own film.
“You don’t know what you’re filming and you literally don’t sleep for the next 48 hours,” says Monique Madrid, who alongside husband Adam serves as City Producer of the event. “To their credit, we’ve seen some teams that have pulled off some cool stuff. It’s up to the filmmaker, producer or writer to think outside the box and say how can we spin this concept and take a different turn with it?”
Judges base a portion of their scores on a film’s adherence to the assignment, genre, and required elements. The finished film must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 7 minutes in duration not including end credits.
Both Adam and Monique Madrid have the benefit of perspective behind the camera as filmmakers and previous competitors in the 48 Hour Film Project. They understand the commitment and the vision required to write and shoot a short film in an even shorter amount of time. The couple, who also the founders of the LOL Jax Film Festival in Jacksonville, developed the campaign “Are You Next?” to inspire hopefuls to shoot for the moon.
“We love to encourage our filmmakers here in Jacksonville. The talent we have here in Jacksonville is amazing so we thought let’s do a film festival here locally,” says Adam. “I think being filmmakers we understand the mindset and we know what it takes. We know what it’s like to be exhausted and complete a film in 48 hours. We have the compassion and the experience because we can put ourselves truly in their shoes of the filmmakers. We want to make this an amazing experience for them and to all those who come to see the films.”
The couple won an award for their film “No Laughing Matter” before stepping into the role as city producers of the event vacated by Chris Ackerman.
“Last year, we were contestants. We did a film for the 2018 season and once the films were shown in July and the season ended, later that year we became city producers so technically this is our first year,” says Monique. “We are constantly learning and improving and it keeps growing. We take that experience and brainstorm to see how can we top ourselves this year. When we got this opportunity, we had the tools in place and knew what our resources are to build a truly good festival.”
“We’ve been competing in this since it started in Jacksonville in 2007. The main event started in 2001 in Washington DC and we had a city producer Mac McDonald brought it to Jacksonville. You can have your film seen throughout the world and there’s a chance it could be screened at the Cannes Film festival. We finally won in 2014 and our film was seen at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. We really enjoyed the process.”
Whether it’s a team of just one or a group of 100 or more, it comes down to vision and execution. All entrants receive the same information on Friday including the genre of the film and the elements they must incorporate into their project.
“I always give credit to the team you have around you. Friends, family members, students bring classmates and try to make something happen. It comes down to getting the genre, all the elements that Friday and go. From there writing process to filming and editing and you have until 7 pm, that Sunday to turn it in. Most people do turn it in in the 48 hours. Unfortunately, there are some that don’t make it and it’s a sad thing to see because you know they worked so hard.”
Over the course of two days, the teams write and edit scripts, finalize the cast and costumes and shoot and turn in their final product. Films must be turned in by 7:30 pm May 19 at Hemming Park. Screenings will be held at the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium at the Museum of Science and History.
“Our goal is to celebrate the past winners and let them know that they are vital to our city but also letting people know it’s a new era and we want to go bigger and better. That means making some pivotal changes that will be surprises to the filmmakers so that they know we are invested and we are serious about creating a vision and taking the event to a new level,” says Monique.
“Our campaign “Are You Next?” is our way of bridging the gap between past winners and really honoring them. For people who are new to the 48, they can research and see the past winners but also say who is the next person to carry that torch and represent Jacksonville. It’s all about the local love. In anything we do, we always want to remember who came before but also cheering on and celebrating the future of the face of our film community, Jacksonville and the 48.”