Making movies can be a long, grueling process, often taking months and sometimes years. Not so for participants in the 48 Hour Film Project, which takes place in Kaohsiung over the weekend of May 27 to May 29. Aspiring filmmakers and actors will convene to write, shoot, edit and score short films as part of the project, which is held in cities around the world on different weekends throughout the year.
Originating in Washington, DC in 2001, the 48 Hour Film Project claims to be the largest timed filmmaking contest in the world. According to its Web site (www.48hourfilm.com), nearly 40,000 participants in 80 cities on five continents made 3,000 films last year.
The Taiwanese edition of the contest is organized by Don Quan (關奕威), a Canadian living in Kaohsiung. He says that since Kaohsiung is the country’s first city to host the competition, the biggest challenge he and his two assistants face is how to answer the myriad questions from participants. “You don’t know what to expect … It is new to everybody,” said Quan, a filmmaker who has made one short film and two documentaries about independent music in Kaohsiung. So far, more than 35 teams from Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Taipei have signed up to compete.
Each team is required to arrange its own crew, equipment, budget and anything else needed for filming. Competitors will then gather at the Film Production Center, Kaohsiung City Government Bureau of Cultural Affairs (高雄市政府文化局拍片支援中心) at 6pm on May 27, when they will select genres in a random drawing. But that is not all: Each movie must contain a line of dialogue, a character and a prop that are assigned by the organizer in the US and will not be announced until the starting time at 7pm.
The filmmakers must work all the elements into their four-to-seven-minute movies. They have to turn in the finished works to the center by 7:30pm on May 29, and only films that are submitted on time will be included in the official competition.
The jury panel — composed of film director Chen Wei-ting (陳威廷), curator Huang Hao-chieh (黃皓傑) and director and scholar Ting Chi-fang (丁祈方) — will give out awards at a ceremony scheduled to be held by the end of next month. Those who do not make the 48 hour deadline but still manage to complete their works need not despair. All the finished films will be screened at Oscar Cinema (奧斯卡影城) in Kaohsiung City on June 1 and June 2.
The “Best of Kaohsiung” winning team will receive a trophy and a cash prize of NT$2,000, and will go on to represent the city in the final for the international title of Best Film of the 2011 48 Hour Film Project and screenings at Cannes Film Festival next year.
Quan said that there are still places for additional teams. The entry fee is NT$3,750 per team. To register or for more information, visit www.48hourfilm.com/kaohsiung.