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Calling it a wrap in 48 hours

Area filmmakers take the challenge to use only two days to create a six- to eight-minute short.

August 13, 2010|By Steve Kindred


lendale and Burbank are well represented this weekend as hundreds of wannabe Spielbergs gather in Hollywood for the 48 Hour Film Project, a yearlong contest that travels to more than 80 cities. The participants must make a six- to eight-minute movie, from start to finish, in 48 hours.

Sean Hilferty of Burbank calls his team "Wondergeez" because the graphic designer is 49, well past the age most aspiring artists make a splash in Hollywood. For Hilferty and his wife, Viki, it's more about having fun than winning the top local prize.


"If we turn out a good film, great, we'd love to turn out a good project, but the main thing is to have a good time doing it," Hilferty said.

Each producer draws three items out of a hat: a genre, a line of dialogue and a character name. All three items must show up somewhere in the film. Last year Hilferty drew the holiday genre.

"We did a Halloween version of 'A Christmas Carol,' " he said. "Our main character, Alexis, has been championing the Halloween spirit since 1283. An old guy, Sam Hein (name derived from ancient Celtic and Druid festivals) has given up on the Halloween spirit. He has forgotten that he once was the Celtic Lord of the Dead. Sam's friends are all lords and have hired Alexis to revive his Halloween spirits. Sam comes around after being shown what his future will be; otherwise, a nagging wife always screaming at him."

Hilferty didn't win, but said he learned an important lesson for this year's contest.

"To start outputting a little early," he said. "No (waiting until the) last minute before taking the print to the theater, grabbing a Post-it note when you turn the film in. I ran in the door, got the next to last Post-it."

There was ghostly timing for this year's 48 Hour Film Project. The teams got their assignments Friday the 13th at Cinespace on Hollywood Boulevard, and turn in the finished product at the same location Sunday evening.

All of the films will be screened for the public and a panel of judges the following week. The Los Angeles' Best Film winner gets $3,000, a bunch of filmmaking equipment and a trophy. In addition, the top 12 features will be shown at the Miami International Film Festival next March.

The project was the brainchild of Mark Ruppert and his creative partner Liz Langston. They started with a single contest in Washington, D.C., in 2001.

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