Lights, Camera, Action!

Competition challenges local filmmakers to produce film in 2 days.

Karissa Donkin – The Aquinian –

A film can take weeks, months or even years to produce from start to finish. A local competition is challenging aspiring filmmakers to churn out a final product in only 48 hours.

The Fredericton 48 Hour Film Competition, brainchild of UNB Film Studies professor Rob Gray, requires teams of up to ten to make decisions on the spot when producing short films of ten minutes or less.

“I see it as a way for local talent to meet one another, to have a deadline, and to create something over a weekend,” said Gray.

The NB Film Co-op collaborated with Gray for the first competition last year. The results exceeded the expectations of the organizers.

“I think the first thing is the expectations for the quality of the projects with such a tight timeline, it’s lower than what you would have with someone who has a year to make their film,” said Tony Merzetti, Executive Director of the NB Film Co-op. “We were surprised that some of the projects were well done, they did manage to get a good story told in that short period of time.”

Some of the films went on to be screened at the annual Silver Wave Film Festival, held in November.

Participants receive an envelope outlining what elements need to be present in their film. From there, the filmmakers jump onto a 48-hour long rollercoaster, where Gray promises participants will “lose sleep,” “yell at each other” and “fall down laughing at some point.”

“And there’s this film you created. It’s pretty great,” Gray said.

The idea for the competition came from Gray’s own experience participating in a similar competition.

“I did one a few years ago in Vancouver and thought it was amazing what a bunch of committed people could do when given a deadline,” he said. “When I first moved here a couple years ago I was inspired by how excited and dedicated the filmmakers here are and it seemed like a natural fit.”

Nine teams competed in last year’s competition, and the organizers are hoping for even more to sign up this year.

“[Last year] we didn’t really know what to expect or how many people would come out,” said Merzetti. “We’re looking at it as a way to get more people involved in filmmaking and working on films in the community.”

The NB Film Co-op, a hub for aspiring filmmakers in the province, has been around for 30 years. With 150 members in the Fredericton area, they host workshops for aspiring filmmakers and provide equipment for filmmakers to borrow.

“[The Co-op] provides a community where people who have an interest in filmmaking can work on projects, can volunteer on other peoples’ projects or produce their own films,” Merzetti said.

While Fredericton has not traditionally been a filmmaking hub, the community is growing.

“Thanks to the Film Minor and certificate at UNB and the NB Film Co-op there is a lot of support for the training and development of new filmmakers. There is a lot of talent growing here,” said Gray.

Merzetti attributes a growing interest in filmmaking to video production being integrated into classes and websites like Youtube where sharing films is made easy.

“There’s a fair number of people around [making films], more than what people would maybe expect,” he said.

Anyone with their own equipment can enter the competition. But Gray suggests there is a formula for a successful team.

“Teams that are most successful are the ones who have really worked to make sure they have a variety of people with different skills,” he said. “From there, it’s about a team knowing their limits and making the most of what they have.”

Gray cites the example of a team who used a cell phone for filming or a team that made a silent film because they didn’t have proper sound equipment as examples.

“Every film has obstacles. The key is to use them to make a better film.”

Those interested in participating must apply by March 16.

The films will be screened in the d’Avray Auditorium at 7 p.m. on March 24.

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