The Boston 48 Hour Film Project: Best of the First Ten Years

There is nothing quite like working under a deadline to see you what you’re  really made of.

At the Boston 48 Hour Film Projects: Best of the First Ten Years film screenings on Tuesday April 9th the skill level, age, genre and props might have been different but the challenge was the same: write, shoot, edit and deliver a short film over the course of a 48 hour weekend.

The 25 film retrospective that screened between 7pm and 11:15pm at the Brattle Theatre was a selection of Film Project submissions from the past ten years.

With a short introduction and a “Thank you to Ned Hinkle and the Brattle Theatre for making this event possible,” by Ben Guaraldi Producer of the 48 Hour Film Project Boston, the first set of screenings got underway.  Featuring an “all ages” lineup, the first 12 films were geared towards “family friendly” subjects like a old school video game in “Piggy” by Advanced Teamwork, a geriatric “Pie Heist” by Playomatic, and the poetic love story “On Step Forward” by Spanky and the King.

The films were playful, romantic and at times introspective and once they were finished there was a half hour question and answer session with the filmmakers followed by a short break before the second set of films began.

The second batch was a bakers dozen geared towards a crowd of the beer drinking age and only slightly more “R” rated than the first.  Featuring films like the do or die office romance “Strange Motivation” by Wax Idiotical Films, the humorously gruesome zombie olympics in “The Guts and the Glory” by We’re Making a Movie, and the haunting science fiction “Manna” by Skiffleboom Productions it was a really awesome way to close out a day.

Successfully completing a film is no small feat and requires a combination of creativity, passion and a lot of hard work while adhering to a few basic ground rules Guaraldi explained during a short phone interview. “They get a genre, a character, a prop and a line of dialogue,” he said, “ they have to include all the prerequisites and incorporate them successfully into their film or they will be disqualified.”

The 48 Hour Film Project, was started in 2001 in Washington DC by Mark Rupport and Liz Langston and it is a film making marathon.  Teams can be any size and participation is open to anyone who wants to register.  The 48 Hour Film Project takes place on different dates in 120 cities around the world.  According to their website roughly 325,000 people have participated in the 48 Hour Film Project since it started in 2001. “We get to see different kinds of movies made,” said Guaraldi, “Films made in Tel Aviv and South Africa are very different from the kinds of movies that would be made here [in Boston].”

The 48 Hour Film Project Boston debuted in 2003 with a mere 18 teams and a screening at the now defunct Bombay Cinema in Allston. 700 films and eleven years later, The 48 Hour Film Project Boston is going strong and has grown to include 80 teams that screen films over the course of three days at the Kendall One Cinema in Cambridge. “Boston is one of the largest cities that participates, said Guaraldi, “but there are a lot of of other cities, such as New York and L.A., which have caught up to Boston in the size of their participation.”

But, the 48 Hour Film Project is about more than just film making it’s also about building relationships within the community.  With events like tonights screenings and meet and greets scheduled in the weeks before this years contest starts, it’s hard not to see how this could be a fun opportunity for anyone who has needed a reason to get up and make a film. “There are a lot of people who were interested in film making, but lacked the incentive to do it,” said Guaraldi, “This is a great place to get started and express yourself.”

The audience was enthusiastic and supportive not just to see the films but to hear from the filmmakers, some of whom were present in the crowd.  As the evening closed out with a final question and answer session participants from previous years offered some insight into their process and helpful advice to prospective participants.  Everything from, “It’s not worth it if you don’t have fun,” to “work with people you like,” was mentioned with an extra added emphasis on the importance of good sound and planning for food.

Getting ready to kickoff it’s 10th year in Boston, the 48 Hour Film Project has meet and greets planned for April 23rd, and April 29th.  As the May 3rd start of the 48 Hour Film Project 2013 approaches registration is still open for anyone who has a free weekend, some willing friends and is ready to give film making a shot.