Wednesday, May 22, 2013

48 Hour Film Project

Milwaukeeans making movies in a hurry

By David Luhrssen
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 Absolute freedom sometimes spells paralysis or self-indulgence for artists. A firm deadline can hasten the muse and boundaries can be isometrics for creative muscles.

For the seventh consecutive year, the 48 Hour Film Project sets out to do all of those things—and more.

“What I found intriguing was the time restriction,” says Jared Stepp, Milwaukee coordinator for the worldwide event. This year, 125 cities from London to Johannesburg are participating. Organizers estimate that 60,000 people will be involved in shooting their two-day films.

“Being an amateur or emerging filmmaker it is always tough to find collaborators willing to commit to a film project’s production schedule,” Stepp says. “With the 48 Hour Film Project, you have a deadline and you are forced to turn a project in on time to qualify for awards. I believe restraints and limits always lead to the best art. I mean, what makes coal into a diamond?”

Milwaukee filmmakers interested in the Project are invited to a 6 p.m., June 14 gathering at Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.). They will be grouped into teams and receive their instructions. The completed films must be delivered by 7:30 p.m., June 16 at Studio Lounge (2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) They will be screened in two groups at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., June 20 at the Oriental Landmark Theatre. A “Best Film from Milwaukee” will be chosen by jurors and submitted to the annual Filmapalooza awards in Hollywood. The top 12 films from the worldwide event will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner.

“Coordinating all of this with people’s busy schedules is the biggest challenge,” says Stepp, a Milwaukee native who graduated in video production from MATC, earned a degree at Vancouver Film School and worked in Austin before returning home. “Getting everyone on the same page, including actors who might be strangers. Plus, having faith in them that they will come through for you!”

Stepp advises participants to keep it simple. “Many emerging filmmakers who do not produce movies often will try to over complicate a short film with cool camera tricks, special effects, or trying to shrink a feature into a short. You only have a maximum of seven minutes to tell your story. You need to have one main character experience a beginning, a middle and an end.”

For more information, go to www.48hourfilm.com/milwaukee.

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