48 Hour Film Project is long on craft and collaboration, short on sleep

48 Hour Film Project is  long on craft and collaboration, short on sleep

GRAND CENTER – The 48 Hour Film Project occurred over the weekend, with its drop-off event at Urban Chestnut Brewery in Midtown, 3229 Washington Avenue, on Sunday evening.

The objective of the 48 Hour Film Project is simple: Film crews attempt to make a film in 48 hours. Of course, there are some guidelines. At the kick-off event last Friday night, each team was given a genre, prop, character and line they had to use in their four- to seven-minute film. Then they had until Sunday at 7:30 p.m. to complete it and hand it in.

This was the second year filmmaker David Malone participated in the project. Malone discovered filmmaking back in high school and continues to make films with his production company 5 Star Pictures.

But the 48 Hour Film Project is its own beast. Last year, he said, his team failed to finish the film in time, which meant they couldn’t qualify for any of the awards. This year, however, he was pleased with the results.

His team received the Action/Adventure genre. Using four actors and two locations, Malone’s crew managed to complete a five-minute film by Sunday morning. And for Malone, that meant staying awake almost the whole time.

“Once I started to color grade, I knew this would take two hours, and I just passed out in my chair,” he acknowledged with a laugh. At this point, he said, he’d been awake for almost 47 hours straight.

He said the lack of sleep could cause problems and create tension at times, something Randy Shinn, the director on another team, echoed.

Shinn, who has done the project nine times since 2008, called the process “torturous but also fun.” He said that he hadn’t slept for 39 hours and that, no matter how many times he participated in the event, at the beginning, “It seems so impossible.”

He said this year was definitely his easiest venture.

Malone said that, though the project could be stressful, it had also taught him quite a bit about being a filmmaker.

“This film, it tests you. That’s the biggest thing, especially when there is no sleep involved, ’cause it starts draining on everyone,” he said. “At a certain point, everyone is just gone.”

But he encouraged anyone who wants to get into filmmaking to enter into the project.

“Anyone should do it, if they can, especially trying to get into filmmaking,” he said. “It’s a great tool to help you evolve into the craft and for you to be able to see, ‘Wow, we did that in two days.’”

The 48 Hour Film Project is an annual event. The films entered into the project will premiere at Washington University on June 8 and 9. For more information about the 48 Hour Film Project, visit https://www.48hourfilm.com/saint-louis-mo.