The 48 Hour Film Project

Machinima 48 Hour Film Project ("Project")
2010 Official Rules

This project is intended for play. Void where prohibited.

  1. ELIGIBILITY: The following are not eligible: employees, contractors, directors and officers of 48 Hour Film Project, Inc. ("48HFP"), its parent, subsidiaries and affiliated companies, distributors, web design, advertising, fulfillment, judging and Project agencies involved in the administration, development, fulfillment and execution of this Project (collectively, "Project Parties"), and the immediate family members of each (spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, and spouse or "step" of each) and those living in their same households (those persons whether related or not who live in the same residence for at least three months during the twelve-month period preceding the start date of the Project). Void where prohibited.

  2. TO ENTER: To register for the Project in the United States, follow the instructions found on Registration is based on a first-come first-served basis and space is limited. Registration fees are 48 USD.

  3. In the United States, each Project will commence on a Friday and end on the following Sunday as announced on the 48HFP website. Days of the week may vary in other countries. Click here for the current schedule.

  4. If a team ("Entrant") must withdraw from the Project, refunds will be paid on the following schedule: Notify 48 Hour Film Project, Inc. of withdrawal more than 30 days before competition, you will be refunded $35; Notify 48 Hour Film Project, Inc. of withdrawal between 15 and 30 days before the competition, you will be refunded $25; Notify 48 Hour Film Project, Inc. of withdrawal between 7 and 14 days before competition, you will be refunded $15; No refunds for withdrawal less than 7 days before competition.

  5. Some of the events (e.g., Kickoff, Drop Off) may be held in "21 years of age or older" locations. Every effort will be made to ensure that any under 21 teams will not be affected adversely. Entrants may wish to consider having at least one member of its team be 21 years or older.

  6. Entrants will be required to sign the standard 48 Hour Film Project Team Leader's Agreement. If under the legal age of majority in your state of residence, your parent or legal guardian must sign it on your behalf. A copy of this agreement is available at

  7. All costs associated with the production of the Entry are solely the responsibility of the Entrant.

  8. Eligible Entries will be judged based on the judging criteria stated below.

  9. Entrants must be present at the designated times at the designated Event to participate.

  10. Basic Requirement of the Project: At the Kickoff Event, Entrants will receive an assignment and be given exactly 48 hours to make a video (an "Entry"). See for details.

  11. PROJECT TERMS OF SUBMISSION: By submitting an Entry into this Project, each Entrant warrants and represents that the Entrant owns all rights to the Entry he/she is entering in this Project, including, without limitation, the video or digital recording, and the performance contained in each Entry, with the exception of any assets provided by the 48HFP for use by Entrants in connection with this Project. Each Entrant further warrants and represents that the Entrant has obtained permission from each person who appears in the Entry to grant the rights to the Project Parties described in these Official Rules, and will submit copies of such permissions to the Project Parties. By submitting an Entry, Entrant agrees to the Official Rules, and further agrees to indemnify and hold the 48HFP, Project Parties and their respective affiliates, officers, directors, agents, co-branders or other partners, and any of their employees (collectively, the "Project Indemnitees"), harmless from any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs (including reasonable attorneys' fees) and liabilities (including settlements), brought or asserted by any third party against any of the Project Indemnitees due to or arising out of the Entrant's Entry materials in this Project, or the Entrant's conduct during and in connection with this Project, including but not limited to trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, right of publicity, right of privacy or defamation. Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless 48HFP and the Project Parties from any and all claims that any advertising, presentation, web content or any other material subsequently produced, presented, and/or prepared by or on behalf of 48HFP or the Project Parties infringes on the rights of Entrant's work as contained in any Entry.

  12. As a condition of entry, participants must agree to the Team Leader's Agreement, which sets forth the rights of Entrant and 48HFP with respect to the use of Entries by 48HFP. Entries that do not include all required information and adhere to the foregoing and following requirements will be considered void and will not be considered in this Project.

  13. Entrants may compete in more than one city during the year of participation. However, an Entrant is not eligible to be the City Winner in more than one city in the same year of participation.

  14. If any group of individuals elects to collaborate on an Entry, they are required to designate one (1) person as the agent of the group to enter the Project, agree to these Official Rules, sign the Team Leader's Agreement and accept the prize on behalf of the group. Neither 48HFP nor any of the Project Parties are liable for any disputes between collaborators arising out of or related to the Project.

  15. SELECTION OF WINNERS: Entries will be judged in a two tier process; first locally—within each competition city, then internationally with each city winner eligible for the "Best 48 Hour Film of the Year" award. Entries will be judged by a process in which qualified panels of judges will evaluate the eligible entries based on the following judging criteria:
    • Artistic Merit (e.g., Story, Creativity, Entertainment Value) (45%)
    • Technical Merit (30%)
    • Adherence to the Assignment (25%)

    The Top Entry in each city will be declared the winner. In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken based on the highest score in the first Judging Criteria, continuing thereafter to each Judging Criteria in order, as needed to break the tie. Entrants agree that the 48HFP has the sole right to decide all matters and disputes arising from this Project and that all decisions of 48HFP are final and binding.

  16. ONE (1) CITY WINNER PRIZE: The top Entry in each city will be awarded a trophy; will be screened at the Annual 48 Hour Film Project, Inc. Awards Weekend (date and location to be announced); and shall be eligible for the award of "Best 48 Hour Film of the Year".

  17. GENERAL CONDITIONS: By participating, Entrants agree to these Official Rules which are final and binding in all respects. The Project is governed by the laws of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, USA, and all claims must be resolved in the District of Columbia courts or the Federal courts located in the District of Columbia.

  18. LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY AND RELEASE: No liability or responsibility is assumed by 48HFP or Project Parties resulting from any user's participation in or attempt to participate in the Project or ability or inability to upload or download any information in connection with participating in the Project. No responsibility or liability is assumed by the 48HFP or Project Parties for technical problems or technical malfunction arising in connection with any of the following occurrences which may affect the operation of the Project: hardware or software errors; faulty computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, electronic, wireless or Internet connectivity or other online communication problems; errors or limitations of any Internet service providers, servers, hosts or providers; garbled, jumbled or faulty data transmissions; failure of any e-mail transmissions to be sent or received; lost, late, delayed or intercepted e-mail transmissions; inaccessibility of the Web Site in whole or in part for any reason; traffic congestion on the Internet or the Web Site; unauthorized human or non-human intervention of the operation of the Project, including without limitation, unauthorized tampering, hacking, theft, virus, bugs, worms; or destruction of any aspect of the Project, or loss, miscount, misdirection, inaccessibility or unavailability of an email account used in connection with the Project. 48HFP and Project Parties are not responsible for any typographical errors in the announcement of prizes or these Official Rules, or any inaccurate or incorrect data contained on the Web Site. Use of Web Site is at user's own risk. 48HFP and the Project Parties are not responsible for any personal injury or property damage or losses of any kind which may be sustained to user's or any other person's computer equipment resulting from participation in the Project, use of the Web Site or the download of any information from the Web Site. By participating in the Project, Entrant agrees to release, indemnify and hold 48HFP and Project Parties harmless from any and all claims, damages or liabilities arising from or relating to such Entrant's participation in the Project.

  19. WINNERS: Winners will be posted online at

  20. PROJECT ORGANIZER: The 48 Hour Film Project, Inc., P.O. Box 40008, Washington, DC 20016.

  21. FILMMAKING RULES: The following rules apply to each participating group/production team:
  22. A. Times:

    • The 48 Hour Film Project will occur between Friday, September 17th, 2010, 7pm US Pacific Time and the following Sunday 7pm US Pacific Time. This is the Official 48 Hour Time Period.
    • The participating group/team must complete its film/video work and have fully and successfully transferred it to the 48HFP designated FTP site by Sunday, September 19th, 2009, at 7:30pm US Pacific Time. (Find out what time that is in your area.)
    • Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All films fully and successfully transferred and received on Sunday, September 19th, 2009, by 11:00pm US Pacific Time will be screened.

    B. All creativity must take place during the "Official 48 Hour Time Period". Any creativity work in advance of the competition weekend is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

    • Writing the script
    • Rehearsing
    • Costume/Set Design
    • Shooting
    • Editing
    • Sound Design
    • Rendering
    • Uploading to our FTP site

    C. The only work to begin prior to the "Official 48 Hour Time Period" is:

    • Organizing Crew
    • Organizing Cast
    • Securing Equipment
    • Scouting/Securing Locations

    (See also Rule D and Rule J.)

    D. All footage must be captured within the 48 hour time period of the project. Also, all footage must be machinima footage--that is, shot in a virtual-reality environment in real-time.

    • Post-production and special effects are permitted, but they must be begun and finished during the 48 hour time period, and overlayed over machinima footage. (Note: Stock footage as part of a special effect in a third party special effects program is permissible.)
    • 3D animation--that is, 3D footage created not in real-time--is not allowed.
    • Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the 48 hour time period; however, stills created outside of the official 48 hour time period may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

    E. Each participating group must have a representative at the official Kickoff Event of the 48 Hour Film Project.

    • At the event, each group must submit a complete Team Leader's Agreement, signed by its team leader. (This form can be found on the 48 Hour Film Project website.) A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.
    • Each group will choose the genre of its film in a random drawing.
    • Teams will be given the option of relinquishing the genre selected in the drawing for a Wild Card genre. If opting for the Wild Card, teams may not go back to their original genre.

    F. Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film, such as a genre, a character, a prop and/or a line of dialogue.

    • The required Character and Prop must be seen on-screen.
    • The required Line of Dialogue must be used verbatim. It may be spoken, sung and/or written. It may be in any language, though if it is unclear that it is the required Line, there must be a translation.
    • To qualify as an "Official 48 Hour Film," each group's film must be in the genre it selects and must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

    G. All cast and crew must be volunteers.

    H. Any type of video or film camera may be used, however, a maximum of only three cameras may be used to shoot footage for use in your film. Sound recorders are allowed in addition to this three camera limit. Cameras used for a purpose other than recording video footage (for example, as props, editing decks, sound recorders, or to record solely behind-the-scenes footage) are allowed in addition to this three camera limit.

    I. First Time Cities only: Each film must include a landmark (building, monument, etc.) or identifying characteristic (e.g., bus, city office) of the competition city. (Note: The landmark or characteristic must exist inside city limits.) This rule applies only the first time the 48HFP visits a city.

    J. Participating groups are encouraged to work with a local composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them. Note: Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the film without a signed release from the composition’s rights holder. This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes "fair use" under US or international copyright law.

    K. The finished film must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 7 minutes in duration—not including credits. See Rule L.

    L. Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film, as stated in Rule K. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 8 minutes.)

    L. Each entry must be fully and successfully transferred to the 48HFP designated FTP site by Sunday, September 19th, 2010 at 7:30pm US Pacific Time.

    The entry must be in the following format:

    • Quicktime or AVI (Quicktime is preferred)
    • self-contained (that is, without references or links to other movie files)
    • at least 720 pixels wide
    • a 16:9 aspect ratio
    • 30 or 25 frames per second
    • If you're using Quicktime, you must use the H.264 or Sorenson 3 codec.
    • If you're using AVI, you must use the Cinepak or DivX codec.

    We recommend that each team submit two copies of the final film. If the Entry cannot be viewed on 48HFP equipment, it may be disqualified.

    N. All films received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they are eligible according to Rule R. To ensure the best screening of your film, please follow the instructions below, unless instructed differently by your City Producer:

    • HD films must be down-converted to SD.
    • Sound levels should be relatively even throughout the film. (If your film has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
    • Note: Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the 48HFP. If your film is very dark, it may be difficult to see in your theater.

    O. Before the finished film begins, the tape should have:

    P. Each team must secure talent, crew, music releases and location releases, which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film/video. (The release forms can be found on the 48 Hour Film Project website.) The film/video will not be screened before the 48 Hour Film Project Organizers receive the signed releases. These releases must be uploaded to the 48HFP designated FTP site by September 19th, 2010, at 11:00pm US Pacific Time.

    Q. The Entrant must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.

    R. To be eligible for the Project, Entries must be the original work of the Entrant; must not infringe third-party's rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant and/or 48HFP). Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the 48HFP, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. 48HFP reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible.

    S. To be certified as an "Official 48 Hour Film," each participating group's film/video production must follow all rules herein. The 48 Hour Film Project Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified "Official 48 Hour Films."

    T. No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

    U. 48HFP and Project Parties may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.

    V. All certified "Official 48 Hour Films" are eligible to compete for the title of Best 48 Hour Film in its city.

    W. All "Best of City" films are eligible to compete for title of Best 48 Hour Film 2010. Panels of independent judges will determine the winners.

    X. The 48 Hour Film Project Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the 48 Hour time period.

Every second counts, when you have 48 hours to make a film!