48-hour film festival contest at Maumee IndoorWritten by Brian Bohnert | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting Aug. 10, filmmakers from around the region will have the opportunity to write, shoot and edit short films for an area competition that is the first of its kind.
But they’ll only have two days to do it.
From August 10-12, Toledo-based film studio Lamplight Films will host the first “48-Hour Film Contest.” The three-day event will place area filmmakers in a fast-paced, “breakneck” competition to produce completely original short films in only 48 hours.
Matthew Cooper, founder of Lamplight Films and creator of the competition, said the contest is a way to bring local filmmakers together in one place to showcase their talents in a unique way.
“I got the idea after seeing that there was nothing else like this in the area,” Cooper said. “I didn’t like that people have to go to other states to participate in film festivals. It seemed like something any region should have.”
All participants will form their own production team, including writers, directors, actors, actresses and crewmembers, to put together a five- to 10-minute film in two days. Individuals and groups are both eligible and Cooper said his competition has a unique twist to ensure no one has any chance to prepare early.
“[The participants] will be drawing different themes out of a hat,” he said. “It can be anything from a genre or theme to a character name and even a specific line of dialogue that needs to be in the script somewhere. It’s an interesting way to be sure they can’t have a script already written. Everything’s random. It keeps everything fair.”
The inaugural meeting for the event will begin at 5 p.m. August 10 at the Center for Fine and Performing Arts at the Owens Community College main campus. From there, Cooper said each group of four to six people has roughly two days to put together a film that follows the established criteria.
Each group will have a designated writer who will have from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning to complete the script. The script will then be turned in and approved by the event coordinators before filming can start.
Once production starts, Cooper said all teams can use whatever equipment they have. Whether it’s a cellphone or a professional video camera, nothing is off limits.
“We just let them go and it becomes a free-for- all for them with whatever resources they have available,” he said.
Once all films have been submitted, the event judges will take one week to review the films. Cooper said a commemorative DVD featuring all the films will be produced for everyone involved.
A welcome challenge
John Toth, Toledo native and independent filmmaker, has never participated in a film contest, let alone one with such a time constraint. However he said, having a background in theater has taught him to better “think on his feet” during high-stress productions.
“When something goes wrong in theater, you need to be able to react quickly in character,” Toth said. “That’s where improvisation comes in. When it comes to acting and directing, you need to be able to think on your feet.”
Toth, 23, is no stranger to filmmaking. A graduate of Owens’ theater program and a future film student at the University of Toledo, he and his brother William have produced more than 20 videos on YouTube under the name “I Hate This Stupid Bike!!!” as well as a 45-minute feature film titled “My Name is Curtis.”
This contest is not only a good outlet for improving his craft, but it is also a valuable tool for showcasing his storytelling talent, he said.
“This is going to be a great opportunity to get our name out there and to show people what we can do, and I hope we don’t disappoint,” he said.
A ‘Closing Broadcast’
On Aug. 19, all films will be screened at the Maumee Indoor Theatre on Conant Street. The festival-like event will be open to the public and will cost $5. After the screenings, judges will award prizes based on three criteria: creativity, technical prowess and how well participants use the given genres.
Awards will include Best in Show, People’s Choice and others. Cooper will close the event with a screening of his first ever feature film, “Closing Broadcast.”
While Cooper’s 2012 “48-Hour Film Contest” will be the first incarnation of the event, it will also be his last. Later this year, he and his fiancee will move across the country to California. In his absence, he said this contest is meant to be a yearly gift to the City of Toledo, an annual showcase of appreciation that he hopes will one day become more than what he even intended.
“As long as this goes well, I’d like it to become bigger,” he said. “I would absolutely love if, in maybe three to four years, we could have it be an all-day affair where the screening starts at noon and goes until the end of the day with films being shown in two-hour chunks.”
To secure one of the limited spots in the contest, there is a $20 refundable registration deposit that will be returned at the first meeting. There are currently six spots taken with four more in the process of being filled, Cooper said.
To receive an application for the event, email Cooper at email@example.com. Applications will be accepted up to the first day of the contest.