In the short span of one weekend (or 48 hours), nimble creatives assemble each year to script, shoot, and edit a short film. Participants choose a genre on the first evening and are assigned elements like props, lines, or characters required to be in the movie. After the films are submitted, they premiere in front of an audience and judges to compete for prizes. The global competition is known as the 48 Hour Film Project, and it comes to Providence this month.
“This year’s festival is going to be amazing,” says Melinda “Mel” Rainsberger, the Providence 48 Hour Film Project (PVD48HRFP) city producer. “Last year’s filmmakers were creative, unique, and had some of the most interesting special effects. I hope the filmmakers bring that innovative energy back in 2023.”
Rainsberger started as a participant in 2007, a year after Providence joined the game. “Our film was called Failure in F Minor,” she recalls. After that first entry, Rainsberger continued to compete in Providence and several other competitions nationally for 10 years. “I fell in love with the energy and relationships that formed during that weekend.”
After a decade of being a contestant, Rainsberger was asked to be the city producer for Providence. In her first few years, she orchestrated the largest PVD48HRFP with over 60 attendees before taking a break. Two years later she returned to the helm, and she and her team have been busy planning this month’s event since last year’s showcase.
Anyone, whether newbie or professional, can enter the competition. The weekend’s goal is to embrace the art of filmmaking for a fun and educational purpose. A team can be one person or the typical five to eight. According to Rainsberger, many teams are made up of families, novice film groups, and budding filmmakers. “If you go into 48 with the purpose to have fun and learn, you’ll have a great time,” she advises. This year’s competition will be held June 23-25 and interested teams must register no later than June 23 at noon. Once a team picks a genre at the kickoff, the clock starts.
The four- to seven-minute entries are submitted and viewed by judges for eligibility and prizes prior to the premier screening, which is open to the public and held July 11 at the Avon Cinema. Select films will receive prizes based on audience favorites and those selected by the judges. Up to three winners will receive cash prizes from $50-100, and other prizes include donations from local businesses. The team awarded Best in Providence will continue onto Filmapalooza 2024 in Lisbon, Portugal to compete
internationally with other 48 Hour Film Project finalists. Winners of Filmapoolza get their films screened at the Cannes Film Festival 2024 Short Film Corner.
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