The 48 Hour Film Project is based on a truly insane idea with a delightfully manic outcome. The challenge: participants must create a film of no fewer than four minutes and no greater than seven that is entirely conceived, written, filmed, edited and delivered over the course of a weekend, from Friday to Sunday night. All entrants must incorporate the same three prearranged conditions: a character’s name, a specific prop, and a line of dialogue. Genres are drawn from a hat immediately before work begins, and then they’re off, armed only with their wits, their cameras and whatever amount of sleep they got on the Thursday before.
Seasoned vets and excited newcomers to the 48 Hour Film Project packed Somerville Theatre on Tuesday night for the “stamina show,” highlighting the work of folks with equal parts moxie and masochism to participate in the festival at least seven times. The screening was followed by a Q&A to inspire and instruct first-timers that was equal parts reminiscing and postmortem. Yet even the horror stories of malfunctioning dancing robots, ill-timed meals and moments of literal last-minute inspiration were madly entertaining.
Who signs up for this kind of thing voluntarily? All types: professionals and amateurs of all ages, comedians, genre buffs, even a middle school principal directing his students. A frightening horror short, “The Wife’s Position,” felt perfectly at home next to ImprovBoston’s sci-fi parody “Fat Cops.” From the hilariously violent “Dating Tips for the Modern Woman” to high-school GPS romance “Rerouting” to the touching testament of a new father, “How to Write a Love Song,” these folks are laying it all out there for the world to see, rough patches and all.
Supposedly, fez-wearing golf cart enthusiasts the Shriners formed as a splinter group from the Masons just because they just wanted to have more fun. In much the same way, the 48 Hour Film is like the party animal antidote to the Dogme movement, full of DIY vigor, confessional and bucking production norms to cut straight to the raw inspiration that drew us to movies in the first place. The Boston chapter is currently accepting applications, so if you’re feeling confident and masochistic in equal measure, this might be just the community for you. Best of luck. You’ll need it.
The 2015 48 Hour Film Project will take place in May. Click here to register your team or find out more.