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Are You Film’s Next Big Star? Prove it With the 48 Hour Film Project

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Written by Patrick Whalen

The 48 Hour Film Project in New Haven offers amateur filmmakers the opportunity to finally produce the movie of their dreams. Is this your year to win?

Have you ever said, “We should make a movie”? Well you’re in luck!

Summertime means the return of the 48 Hour Film Project New Haven, and your chance to actually make that film you always talk about with your friends.

What’s the 48 Hour Film Project?

The 48 Hour Film Project (48FP) is the longest running timed film competition in the world. It began in 2001 in Washington D.C. and has expanded to more than 150 cities globally. And lucky for us, one of those cities is New Haven, CT.

In 2011, City Producer, Trish Clark was elected to bring the event to Connecticut, favoring New Haven as the arts capital of the state. It has since grown to encompass most of the state. Clark has produced the event each of the past seven years.

The 48 Hour Film Project challenges filmmakers to complete a short film in just a weekend. To add an extra challenge, the filmmakers must incorporate three required elements: A specific line of dialogue, a pre-chosen character, and a selected prop. These elements remain a secret up until kick-off night. Filmmakers also randomly choose the genre their film must fit into.


Not Just for Pros

The great thing about the 48HFP is that it attracts all levels of filmmakers and people from all walks of life. Whether they are first-timers or full-time filmmakers, the aim is for them to have fun taking on this challenge.

Regular 48ers welcome new filmmakers and participants, offering tips and advice when they can, including during a recent Facebook Live event from award-winning filmmakers Ben Hecht (team Dutch Elm Disease) and Mark Marshall (team Wax Idiotical Films). For city producers, it’s fun to see the nerves and anticipation before the element reveals on Friday, follow along on social media with the various teams, and watch as they come in exhausted on Sunday evening with their completed film. By screening night, everyone is rejuvenated and excited to watch their film on the big screen.

Being able to see their movie on the big screen offers that extra sense of gratification in completing this project. In a weekend, filmmakers can feel accomplished and actually have a project to show off to friends and family. Wouldn’t it be great to finally create the movie you’ve always dreamed of, and actually get to show it to an audience when you’re done?

If You’re Interested in Participating

This year’s screening nights will take place at the 76-year-old Strand Theatre in Seymour, adding a sense of history to the night. Previous screenings have been held the Criterion and Whitney Humanities theaters in New Haven.

But the payoff from participating doesn’t end with screenings. Nominated films are eligible to win a number of prizes; the Best of New Haven film will go on to screen at Filmapalooza, the 48 Hour Film Project’s official festival, where it will compete against all city winners from around the world. Winners at Filmapalooza will screen at the illustrious Cannes Film Festival.

Past New Haven winning film Falling in Love in a Coffeeshop (2015) by Wax Idiotical Films brought their film all the way to Cannes. New Haven 48ers have also experienced success outside of the 48HFP; 2016 Best Film director Alex Kamb was selected to participate in the 2017 Sundance Institute Ignite program. Other film have gone on to screen at various film festivals across the country.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a whirl-wind event, challenging creatives to go from dream to screen in just 48 hours.

The 48 Hour Film Project New Haven kicks off Friday July 28th at 7pm at The Outer Space (295 Treadwell Street, Hamden). All films will be screened at the Strand Theater (165 Main Street, Seymour) on August 2nd and 3rd.

What Is The 48? from DB Studios on Vimeo.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post contributed by Patrick Whalen. 

About the author

Patrick Whalen

Patrick Whalen is the co-City Producer of the 48 Hour Film Project New Haven, an MBA candidate at the University of Connecticut, and a reluctant Insurance expert. His favorite movies are Empire Strikes Back and The Sting. His Twitter account is just him “yelling” about UCONN Men’s Basketball and Football to no one in particular.

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