Putting adrenaline on the big screen
More than 70 teams have signed up to make their own short film in just 48 hours
Posted: October 4, 2013
The kickoff for the 48 Hour Film Project Praha is Friday evening, Oct. 4, around 7 p.m.
Dynamite comes in small packages, and some 70 teams of creatives are getting ready to show just how big their imagination is when they take part in the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) Praha this weekend, Oct. 4-6.
This event forms part of a worldwide initiative to give teams an equal opportunity - or rather, challenge - by having a total production length, including pre- and post-, of approximately 48 hours. That means, from the moment the team is assigned a prop, a character and a line of dialogue, all of which have to feature in the final film, they have only two days to come up with a screenplay, find locations, shoot the action by cleverly integrating the obligatory elements, and edit the material together into a cohesive short film of between 4 and 7 minutes that looks professional enough to screen at a cinema.
This is no mean feat, but the project, now in Prague for its third installment, has drawn interest from a wide variety of people who think they are ready for the challenge. The teams will start their creative adventure, "a wild and sleepless weekend," according to producer and co-organizer Paul Ratner, Friday evening, Oct. 4, at around 7 p.m., and need to hand in their film by Sunday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m.
Prague is one of more than 120 cities across the globe where people from all walks of life are encouraged to take part in this activity that gets the creative juices flowing by asking participants to use their imagination and storytelling abilities while they need to meet some very specific requirements.
The winning film from each city will be entered into and screened at an international competition called the Filmapalooza, to further boost the visibility of the filmmakers and their skeleton crews. Held at the famous TCL (formerly Grauman's) Chinese Theatre in Hollywood this past March, the next Filmapalooza will be in New Orleans, which has become a magnet for film production in recent years.
Ratner is very enthusiastic about the level of participation in the 2013 Prague edition, and this year's teams already outnumber those from last year by 2 to 1. While it is natural to assume some of the teams comprise students from film schools, he says they are by no means the majority, and people from many different sections of the creative industry have signed up for this weekend's journey.
"Most teams finish on time. About 10 percent are usually late, but they also get to screen at Kino Lucerna with everyone else (Oct. 12)," Ratner said. The Czech television channel TV Nova will screen the winning film, and many of the films will also be accessible online at Voyo.cz.
Of course, many filmmakers will use their work here as a calling card for future investment in their endeavors. "We have heard that many filmmakers get jobs through the media attention and opportunities created for them by participating in our festival," Ratner said.
While the excitement of the weekend is the main focus, it is actually just the starting point for a larger discussion on and exposure to filmmaking that extend into the days after. Two technical workshops take place Monday, Oct. 7, from 6 p.m. at Era svět on Jungmannovo náměstí in Prague 1, where representatives from Canon and TV Nova will discuss new camera and screenwriting techniques, with the goal of giving participants an edge in the fast-moving world of the film business. Two evenings later, Oct. 9, also at Era svět, there will be a meeting with Rick McCallum, the world-famous producer behind the three Star Wars prequels (episodes one, two and three) who currently lives in Prague and is working with local director Tomáš Mašín to bring the controversial Cold War story of the Mašín brothers to the big screen as soon as next year.
For more information on the weekend's program, the workshops or the meeting with Rick McCallum, visit the 48HFP Praha's website at Praha48film.com.
André Crous can be reached at