What is a Film Challenge?

It’s Film Challenge Month at Two Jackets!

Andrew and Eric (far left) at the registration event for the 2015 Minneapolis 48HFP.

Andrew and Eric (far left) at the registration event for the 2015 Minneapolis 48HFP.

“That’s great!” you say. “But… what does that mean? What’s a film challenge and why does it deserve its own month? And why should we listen to you chumps?” All valid questions! But you could be a little nicer about it. We’ll start with some definitions:

A film challenge is a fast-paced competition wherein a team of volunteer collaborators creates a short film from concept to final cut in a limited amount of time. Compared to a normal short film production that can take weeks, months, or even years to complete, contestants are given only hours to make their masterpieces. Sleep is rare, and delirium is common. With 48 hours to make a film, every second really does count!

To ensure films are created entirely within the time limit, certain required elements are imposed on the team at kickoff. These elements usually include a character’s name and profession, a specific prop, and a specific line of dialogue. For instance, the required elements could be...

Character: Gertrude Snickerpuss, Private Investigator

Prop: a candle

Line of Dialogue: “My name isn’t stupid, your name is stupid.”

As if that wasn't hard enough, a genre is also given to the teams. When we go into a competition we don't know if we'll be making a horror film or a western. It's all up in the air! All of the required elements and the genre must be incorporated into the final film, or the team faces disqualification.

We at Two Jackets have participated in three types of film challenges, all run by 48 Hour Film Project, Inc: the titular 48 Hour Film Project, the 48 Hour Film Horror Project, and the Four Points Film Project (formerly the National Film Challenge). The 48HFP is held in 130 cities all over the world throughout the year, and - as you probably guessed - gives teams 48 hours to work. We made Keeping Up with the Cloneses for last year’s event in Minneapolis. The 48 Hour Film Horror Project runs exactly the same way, but is limited to horror subgenres. We made All Dressed in White for this little sister of the 48HFP. The Four Points Film Project is a world-wide competition held online each year that give teams 72 hours to complete their film. We made I Stole a Lot of Money! last October for this competition. 

Them’s the basics! If you’d like to know more, keep checking in here at TwoJackets.com all month long for stories of film-challenges-gone-by. Also, go make a movie!