In 48-hour film contest, Kentucky participants forgo sleep
PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — You can’t rush perfection, but you can rush production.
With just two days’ time, 11 teams work together to write, shoot and edit an original short film.
With that goal in mind, teams gathered at Paducah’s Maiden Alley Cinema for the kickoff of this year’s 48-Hour Film Project earlier this month.
Landee Bryant, executive director of Maiden Alley and producer of the competition, considers the competition to be “one of the many, many feathers in (the city’s) hat.”
“I think it’s really cool for people who are local to get to see places in Paducah and themselves on the big screen and see something they created on a grand scale,” said Bryant, who has facilitated the competition for 10 years. “A lot of (the participants) take off work, don’t sleep, spend the whole time working on the film.”
The event began in 2001 in Washington, D.C., and has spread internationally. Ten years ago, Maiden Alley adopted the contest, challenging area teams to produce a polished 4-7-minute film in just 48 hours.
“It’s really fun to participate in the making of a film - big or small, doesn’t matter,” said Joshua Cornelius, a six-year participant and a member of the Red Band Films team.
“This, for us, is our creative thing. It’s Christmas morning. It’s our favorite weekend of the year.”
Cornelius called his team’s participation in the competition “purely whimsical.” He was not alone in that perspective. Many of the other filmmakers described the project as a way to have a fun creative outlet.
“We just love getting the chance to come together and challenge ourselves to make something creative,” said Allison Laski, a member of Murray State University’s MSU-TV Club and leader of their 8th Floor Productions team.
At the kickoff event Friday, each team was given the required elements for their film: their genre options and a required prop and character they had to include in their film.
Kiaya Young, leader of the About Jam Time team, was happy with drawing the comedy or sports genre choices.
“We’ve had more specific categories in the past,” said Young, a third-year participant. “The benefit of the comedy category is it’s so broad you can do a lot of different things with it. We’re pretty funny so we’re hoping that we can really just shine.”
The process for each team varies, as do the issues they face through the competition.
“We always plan to shoot early, but in filmmaking shooting late is normal,” said Joshua Mark Robinson, a member of Red Band Films, on the first evening of the competition. “At some point tonight, most if not all of us will get at least a little sleep. But after tonight, sleep will be a forgotten friend.”
Doctor Deuce, a Missouri-based team, returned this year after winning the 2017 Best Film award for their film “Solamente.”
“We won last year and that was a lot of fun because the next round of screenings was in Paris, so I actually went to that and that was one of the best experiences in my life,” said Jason Gibson, team leader for Doctor Deuce. “We made a really serious film last year and this year we did not. It was fun to do something radically different.”
For this year’s contest, they produced “The Devil’s Boots Don’t Creak,” the story of a woman seeking vengeance on the man who killed her husband.
“Right before we exported, we caught one fatal flaw that would have basically ruined everything,” said Gibson, who has now participated in 15 48-Hour Film Project events, five of which have been in Paducah, without missing a deadline. “We turned it in 30 minutes early, but we were still down to the wire.”
Clay Howerton and his Real Productions team have entered the competition for four years and were the first to submit their completed film on Sunday, around 5:30 p.m., leaving just two hours for the remaining 10 teams to finish.
“We had a great time this year,” said Howerton, whose team created a drama film tracing the life of a college professor. “It was probably our most efficient year since we’ve started doing it.”
The teams turned in their completed films on Sunday, finishing where they started in the lobby of Maiden Alley Cinema. Ten of the 11 participating teams made it in under the deadline.
The finished films will premiere at Maiden Alley at 7 p.m. Aug. 17.
The audience after each showing will have the opportunity to vote on the films. The time and date of the awards will be announced by Maiden Alley in days ahead.
The winner of this year’s Best Film award will be screened at Filmapalooza 2019 in Orlando, Florida.
For information about more screenings and the competition, go to www.maidenalleycinema.org.
Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com