The weekend shoot

By Li Yuting Source:Global Times Published: 2012-10-22 17:55:03

Last weekend (October 19 to 21) proved a sleepless 48 hours for some of the city's filmmakers, both amateurs and professionals. The Shanghai 48 Hour Film Project was the second time this competition has taken place in the city.

Labeled as "from dream to screen in 48 Hours," this worldwide project has seen 19,000 films made by 278,000 people over the past 11 years, according to the organizers. It requires that each participating team complete a short film from scratch - including scripting, acting, filming, editing, soundtracks and subtitles - all in the space of two days.

Each participating city in the project selects one winning entry that will be screened at the Filmapalooza 2013 in Hollywood, where it will compete for an overall $5,000 first prize. According to organizers, the winning film will also have a chance to be one of 10 short films selected for the next Cannes Film Festival.

Jay Thornhill majored in film at USC (University of Southern California) and this year he took over the running of the project. "Any film made in 48 hours has to be impressive, because I know how difficult it is to make a film," he told the Global Times. "It's an international competition, so there are lots of rules they need to follow to make sure it is fair. These films are not just about having fun; this is a real professional, serious event."

Competitors watch short films from last year at the kick-off party of this year's Shanghai 48 Hour Film Project.
Competitors watch short films from last year at the kick-off party of this year's Shanghai 48 Hour Film Project.

Second time around

In 2012, more than 50,000 participants will help make 4,000 films in 120 cities on six continents around the world. A total of 22 teams took part in this year's Shanghai project, compared to only nine last year. According to Thornhill, five of the teams from last year are competing again for the second time.

Each year the rules differ, if only slightly. This year, all of the submitted films are required to include the following three elements - a branding expert called Alex or Alexis, a set of headphones used as a prop, and the spoken line, "I could not have said it better myself."

Sorya Hocini's four-member team is composed of her friends and colleagues from different countries. Their film is inspired by expat life in Shanghai.

"The idea of making a mockumentary came very organically. The final film is the idea that something a lot of people can relate to, because it bonds our life experiences in China, such as communication difficulties," Sandy Connell, director of photography on the film, told the Global Times.

"As the producer of the movie, the most important and challenging thing is to ensure the line of unity and the identity of the movie from the beginning to the end," Hocini said.

"The good thing is that it encourages creativity, and we are always learning," said the team's director Paulina Salas Ruiz.

There are also two high-school teams participating. Juri Sodero, 17, is leading a seven-member team from the British International School in Shanghai. They were introduced to the project by one of their teachers.

"We have made four short films before, and this project seemed a really good opportunity to practice our filming skills, as well as to feel what the pressure is like to make a short film within 48 hours," Sodero told the Global Times.

Sarah Taylor, a 16-year-old from Australia is the leader of a six-member team from the same school. She told the Global Times that they created a horror film taking full advantage of the three required elements.

There are some 14 genres of films assigned , including comedy, fantasy, romance, musical, thriller and mockumentary.

A poster for this year's competition Photos: Courtesy of Jay Thornhill
A poster for this year's competition Photos: Courtesy of Jay Thornhill

New challenges

The winner of last year's Shanghai 48 Hour Film Project was Shanghai-born Guo Miaoxing and his team. Their film The Model won best film, best cinematography, best editing, best directing and the "audience award," among the eight awards given out in total. The film represented Shanghai at Filmapalooza 2012 in Hollywood.

"It was a good opportunity to see so many excellent films selected from 48 Hour Film Projects worldwide," Guo told the Global Times. A graduate of the Shanghai Theatre Academy who has worked as a television commercial filmmaker, this year Guo is part of a team of eight. "I am always expecting new challenges," he added.

All of the films needed to be submitted by the deadline of 8 pm on October 21, and   will now be sent to the three Shanghai-based judges. This year they are Steven Weathers (US-born director and TV presenter), Kim Taylor (English-born director) and May-yi Shaw (university professor in journalism and communications).

The screening of all films will take place from 6 pm to 10 pm on October 29 in the new cinema of the Shanghai Theatre Academy (630 Huashan Road). The screenings will be divided into two sections, from 6 pm onwards, and from 8 pm onwards. Entry is 50 yuan pre-sale for each section (at, or 60 yuan at the door.


Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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