What is the 48 Hour Film Project?
It's your chance to stop talking and start filming! The premise? Filmmaking teams have just one weekend to make a short film. All creativity—writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical soundtrack—must occur in a 48 hour window beginning Friday evening at 7 and ending Sunday at 7. The following week, the completed films are screened to an eager audience.
How much does it cost?
The registration fee is for the entire team. In the United States, registration fees vary from $125 to $175 per team, as follows:
First year cities (cities new in 2013):
- $125 for each team
Repeat cities (48HFP has already been to your city at least once):
- Early Bird registration: $140 (expires four weeks before the competition)
- Regular registration: $160
- Late registration: $175 (during the two weeks just before the competition)
For the registration fee outside the United States, please visit the relevant City page.
The registration fee includes two free tickets to the screenings, which are given to the team leader just before the screening.
When will the 48HFP come to my city?
The dates for each city are listed on our tour page. If we do not have listed dates, then the dates have not yet been determined. We generally start announcing dates in February. If you want to be the first to find out when the 48HFP is coming to your city, sign up for your city's newsletter.
What are the films about?
That's up to the filmmaker; however, each team must select the genre for its movie in a random drawing 15 minutes before the start of the competition. In 2013 there are 14 genres, including comedy, horror, mockumentary, sci fi and musical or western. In addition, teams are given a character, a prop and a line of dialogue that must appear in their film.
Who sees the films?
The films screen to sold-out audiences in every city we've visited. Of course the filmmakers, actors, family and friends are there to enthusiastically support the premiere of the weekend's work. But also supporters of the local film community, and discriminating viewers who want to see something new—something raw and alive—are there to feel the creative energy. Winners of the city contest are distributed on a "Best Of" 48 Hour Film DVD, which you can buy here.
They are also screened at major film festivals. The winning films from 2003 were screened at South by Southwest. The winning films from 2004, 2005 & 2007 were screened at Cinequest. The winning films from 2006 were screened at Filmapalooza. The winning films from 2008 & 2010 were screened at Miami International Film Festival. The winning films from 2009 were screened at NAB Show. The winning films from 2011 will be screened at Taos Shortz Film Fest. In 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 we have had a selection of films screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and our films have been featured in many other festivals.
Who are the filmmakers?
The 48 Hour Film Project is open to all filmmakers, pro and novice alike. Rules state that all team members (crew and cast) must be volunteers. Most teams consist of film and video professionals. And teams have attracted some top talent on both sides of the camera. Martin Freeman, Penn of Penn and Teller, Dennis Farina, and Nick Clooney have all appeared in a 48HFP films. Is this the year for the next Meryl Streep?
Is there a limit to the number of people on a team?
No. Our smallest team was just one person—he sets up the camera then runs around to act. Our largest team to date was a team from Albuquerque with 116 people and 30 horses! The average, though, is about 15 people per team.
Am I allowed to be on more than one team in the same city?
Yes, you're allowed. We hope you can make the scheduling work out!
How long are the films?
The films are short; they must be a minimum of 4 minutes and a maximum of 7 minutes long Short is good. Not only are shorter films tighter and usually more interesting, they are more marketable.
Where and when are they shown?
On the first few days following the competition deadline, the movies are screened at a grand premiere in a local movie theater. A guaranteed standing-room-only audience of tired, excited filmmakers, crews and friends are in attendance to cheer on the films. The winning films go on to Filmapalooza, our international screening and awards weekend.
What cities has the 48 Hour Film Project visited?
The project began in Washington, DC in 2001, and in 2012 we visited 113 cities. In 2013, we'll be in even more places. (See all of our cities here.) Filmmakers just can't get enough of the 48HFP!
How is the event advertised?
The event is advertised by word of mouth, on the web, and via local press. Local filmmakers and organizations are our most vocal supporters and do a great job spreading the word. In each city, the 48 Hour Film Project has generated considerable interest from local and national media. From CNN to the Washington Post and LA Times—we've had coverage in hundreds of media outlets to date.
What should I do with my film after the 48HFP?
Get it out there! For more information on how to do that while abiding by the Team Leader's Agreement, read this page.
May I show a modified version of my 48HFP film?
Yes, presuming that the showing adheres to the Team Leader's Agreement that you signed when entering the 48HFP. If it is a modified version of a 48HFP film, please include a title card and a mention in the end credits that say:
"The concept for this film developed during the 48 Hour Film Project. www.48hourfilm.com"
Is this a contest and will there be a "Best of" selection?
Yes and yes. One film in each city will be chosen "Best of City". All "Best of City" films will compete for the international title of Best Film of the 2013 48 Hour Film Project.
What are the prizes?
Each city winner will receive our special trophy, and go on to represent their city in the finals. More prizes are detailed on our prize page.
Will I win?
Depends on what you mean by winning. Countless filmmakers over the years have told us that the 48 Hour Film Project weekend was fantastic. They loved getting to use their creative talents; they had fun with their friends; and they made a film, too! So if winning means having a great time, you've got a very good shot at it.
There were over 4,000 entries in 2012 and we gave out more than 1,130 awards. There were 113 city winners...and only one grand prize. There are even more entries this year. So if winning means getting that grand prize, you've got your work cut out for you. But don't let that discourage you—you can do it!
Will I get rich?
Probably not. As far as we know, no one has made much money selling a 48HFP film. However, some of our filmmakers have had success with their films in other festivals including SXSW; one team won a $100K filmmaking package at a festival; and filmmakers have used recognition of their 48HFP film to get paying work.
Additionally, we at the 48HFP have set up an arrangement whereby if we're able to earn money by distributing your film, you will receive a portion of that money. We believe our arrangement is fair and equitable. As you may know, the market for short films is nearly non-existent. However, we do garner more interest in our films because of the 48-hour concept and the fact that they are part of a bigger collection. So, while folks have lots of fun doing the 48HFP, they don't make lots of money.
Who judges the films?
In each city we gather a group of film and video professionals to serve as our judges.
These judges generally have extensive experience within the field. We require these judges to be fair and impartial. Our judges donate their time and talent to select the top film in each city. In addition to determining the city winner they also select a number of other awards. The judges on the national/international level have included actors such as Julianne Moore, directors such as Simon West (Con Air), and editors such as Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Departed).
But no matter how careful we are in selecting our judges, judging itself is extremely subjective. So many times, two regarded critics feel markedly differently about the same film—remember the long debate between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert about Apocalypse Now; remember Pauline Kael's ambivalent review of Star Wars. Similarly, on many occasions our favorite 48HFP film of the year has not even won its city. When it comes to evaluating art, a lot comes down to matters of taste.
Can I sponsor the 48HFP?
Of course! Email Mark Ruppert, our Founder, to express interest.