You can see the best films of the Greensboro 48 Hour Film Project Friday (July 21, 2017) at 7 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online for an additional fee.
Full disclosure, I served as one of three judges of the films submitted, which means I can speak with some authority about the quality of the work – it’s high – and I’m looking forward to audience reaction at the screening.
There have been some surprises for me through my involvement with the program, namely, the joy so many of the teams have for film, which is evident in Q & A sessions after preliminary screenings and in some of the actual films.
Of course, working together with such a tight time limit – 48 hours! – to produce a 4-7 film that falls into an assigned genre (not known before the drawing right before production begins) and includes a designated prop, line of dialogue, and character (also not known in advance) is a daunting task that demands camaraderie to pull it off and still have fun in the process.
Iris Carter is the Greensboro Producer for the 48HFP, the person who has pulled all of the logistics together locally since 2010. I make documentaries and write about and teach classes on media, but talking with Iris about the competition and watching these films has given me a new appreciation for the Triad film community through Iris’s eyes as “giving, supportive, and collaborative.”
Of course, local is a loose term here. There are teams that come in from Virginia, South Carolina, Wilmington, Raleigh, Charlotte, Hickory, Asheville, and beyond to compete. Some teams have members who fly in from other states like Ohio and Colorado. A team member formerly from the Raleigh area flew in from Portland this year to participate.
“Approximately 60 percent of participants in the 48HFP are professional filmmakers. Many make industrial or training films, are in advertising, or work in some other capacity,” says Iris. “Many – professional and amateur – have those movies they want to make but never quite find the time for it, or they never get around to editing the footage.”
I don’t know any filmmaker who has finished all of the projects begun. The reasons for this are myriad, some of them insurmountable and others, well…let’s say those are more internal.
“The 48HFP is an opportunity to get the creative juices flowing and actually finish a project. By having a time limit, people are forced to get the film done – they have something completed and an audience to see it,” says Iris. “For many, that is the ultimate reward. When they sit in the audience and hear people laugh at the right moment, or react in some way, they find it so satisfying.”
The films screened Friday will include Audience Award winners as well as those selected by the three judges in a range of categories (including Best Film) after lengthy (but generally amicable!) discussion.
The 48HFP was founded in 2001, and Greensboro began participating three years later. Now 130 cities have competitions and send their top film to “Filmapalooza” to face international competition. The top 12 films selected from “Filmapalooza” will screen at the Cannes Film Festival.
Iris likes to tell people that “Being in the 48HFP means you are just TWO steps away from Cannes!” This is not far-fetched because Greensboro has had two teams go to Cannes, most recently the 2015 City Winner that went to Cannes in 2016.
I’m looking forward to Friday night. See you on the red carpet!