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Volume 71, Issue 137, Friday, April 28, 2006

News

Alumna forms local film fest

The 48 Hour Film Project pits filmmakers against themselves, 
time and each other

by LORI MARTINEZ
The Daily Cougar

One UH alumna is gearing up to participate in The 48 Hour Film Project -- a competition that tests the skill of amateur filmmakers. 

"It's a national competition so each city has a local producer, which organizes the logistics, sends the word out through e-mails and press kits and organizes the events," Cherayl Loosmore, a Houston producer for 48 Hour Film and UH alumna said.

"The basic premise of the project is just getting people out there and making movies," Loosmore said. "We usually have at least one mixer event where our teams can meet each other and they can meet me, to socialize."

The festival and competition were first brought to Houston in 2005 and Loosmore said it's designed to inspire actors, director, producers and writers to work together.

"Anyone who basically fits in the process of making a short movie needs to be involved in it's process and that's the producer, director, camera operator, actors, and editors. Sometimes the jobs are held more than one person," Loosmore said.

The 48 Hour Film Project founded seven years ago by two experimental filmmakers.

"(The 48 Hour Film Project) started out with Liz Langston and Mark Ruppert. They're from D.C. and they're the creators of the project. They just had a wild idea to make a movie in 48 hours and basically were asking the question, ‘Is a movie made in 48 hours even watchable?' And they found that it was."

Loosmore said though some participants choose to make the film alone, many use as many as seventy actors, directors and writers to complete their films.

"The overall common denominator is an interest in making films; making short movies. It's open for professionals and amateurs alike; anyone who has access to camera equipment can participate. We don't require anyone to have made X amount of movies or have their bachelor's degrees. Really it is just if they want to do it," she said.

Though Houston is not known for it's movie industry, if students and community members come together to work on The 48 Hour Film Project, that perception might change, Loosmore said.

"My personal view on (the 48 Hour Film Project) is it's another way of tying together the arts communities to support movie making overall, but also to get them involved and working together." 

A panel of local judges will screen the films and then award Best Costume, Best Editing and Best Film accolades among others. 

Out of the 30 or more cities with participants, five films are chosen to go on to the final round where they are required to make another 48 hour short film. 

The overall winner will represent Houston in a nation-wide competition. The winners of that competition will be announced at Texas's South by South West or California's Cinequest film festivals.

"This past year (the 48 Hour Film Projects) were screened at Cineplex, which is a film festival in San Jose. A separate panel of judges selects the winner of the entire year," Loosmore said. 

"The entire project is sponsored by Panasonic and Avid. Panasonic produces high-end video equipment and Avid is a high-end editing software. Each of the top five teams that compete gets to use Panasonic HD cameras to create their second 48-hour film. The winner gets to keep their Panasonic high-definition camera and the runner up gets the Avid high-definition editing software," she said.

The deadline to sign up for the competition is May 12 and the project kicks off May 19 in Houston. The teams choose a genre out of a hat — comedy, drama, horror — and they must include a line of dialogue, a prop, and a character in their film. The competition begins once each filmmaker submits the premise of their film.

"There's a $125 registration fee. This is a one time fee which they pay when they register," Loosmore said. To register, go to www.48hourfilm.com. 

Loosmore also started a Yahoo! Group for those who would like to be involved but don't want to head a team and for those who already have a team but need more participants. 

 Send comments to dcnews@mail.uh.edu

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