Building Rome in a Day: The 48 Hour Film Project 2009

Feature by Ray Philp | 08 Apr 2009
  • 48 Hour Film Project

Some quarters of common knowledge suggest that Julius Caesar didn’t build Rome in a day and it took God nearly a week to create the Earth. A widely held conception exists that things of significant intellectual capital take time to create, to the point where taking the time becomes an extended exercise in vanity through effort akin to some sort of atavistic Flavor Flav, arms akimbo and cloying for attention, unaware that his own value is diluted without the substance of a proverbial Chuck D. Expediency is not the enemy, not least where film is concerned, and the 48 Hour Film Project exists specifically to encourage this idea.

The ever expanding 48 HFP visits Edinburgh for the second time on the bank holiday weekend of 22nd – 24th May, after last year’s sellout success. If you’re quick enough to register (here), then you’ll be invited along with fellow film makers to the Cameo cinema bar on the 22nd May to begin a frantic film making odyssey. The premise of the competition puts the emphasis squarely on anything-goes creativity, but some basic rules apply in order to level the playing field. When registered teams meet on the 22nd, they will be given several parameters to operate within; all films must contain randomly assigned lines of dialogue, characters, props, and genres. Most important of all, they’ll only have 48 hours in which to finish it.

Putting a film crew through a sleepless, gruelling two days of shooting will make Santa sacks out of a directors’ eyelids, but the prize is certainly worth it; winners will receive a reassuringly expensive, top of the range editing software suite (the Avid Mera Media Composer), together with an invitation to attend Filmapalooza in Las Vegas, where the winning film will compete with other teams across the world for the international grand prize. Remaining entrants can console themselves over a free pizza, free magazines from film publishers Wallflower Press, and a 20% discount for equipment hire at Progressive Broadcast.

All submissions will be screened at the Cameo cinema from 26th – 29th May for those not participating to view the fruits of considerable labour. Otherwise, if the prospect of getting involved seems overwhelming, consider Caesar; sure, the Roman Empire was powerful and all, but it took him ages to get it going. In amongst the breakneck speed of the 48 Hour Film Project, he’s a ponderous chancer in a toga.