Brown's more adventurous filmmakers won't get much opportunity for rest this weekend.
The Ivy Film Festival's annual 48 Hour Film Competition begins this evening at 8 p.m., when the teams of Brown students participating in the competition will be given their prompts. Then they'll have until 8:00 p.m. on Sunday to put together what will hopefully be an award-winning short film.
"The ideal film would have a compelling story, good shots, clean audio and still follow the prompts," wrote Travis Bogosian '13, one of the Festival's programming directors, in an e-mail to The Herald. He added that they anticipate six teams to enter this year. In previous years most teams have had five or six members.
The competition is put together by a group of Brown students that helps organize the Ivy Film Festival each year. Festival Director Debbie Lai '12 told The Herald that the 48-hour competition and movie screenings — this year, Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" — hosted by the Ivy Film Festival each fall, are intended to generate excitement for the week-long Festival in the spring.
A team of programming directors from the Ivy Film Festival devises prompts for the filmmakers participating in the competition. These prompts designate locations, lines of dialogue or other aspects of the film that must be incorporated by the team.
"It's important to have good prompts, since they ultimately structure what the filmmakers will be creating," Bogosian wrote.
But from there, the rest of the creative process is up to the teams. Everything that goes into the making of a film, including scripting, shooting, set design and editing, must be done within the 48-hour competition period. Films can be no longer than five minutes, with up to another 30 seconds for credits.
The programming staff will watch and discuss the entries and award one film the Jury's Choice Award. Its makers will receive $250 and VIP passes to the next Ivy Film Festival, which will take place April 18-24. The winning film will also be screened at the Avon Cinema as part of the spring Festival. The Ivy Film Festival will also feature other films by student filmmakers in a number of categories, such as international, documentary and feature-length, to be judged by the programming directors. There will also be screenings of professional films — "Waiting for Superman" was shown at last year's festival and "No Country for Old Men" was featured in 2007.
Each year, the programming directors also give more specific awards where they find special recognition is due, for such categories as "Best Cinematography" and "Most Original." This year they hope to present an award to a film that best displays or articulates a socially conscious theme, wrote Lelia Ledain '11, one of the Festival's directors, in an e-mail to The Herald. There is also an "Audience's Choice" award, which goes to the film that receives the most votes from viewers once the entries are posted on YouTube.
The Ivy Film Festival's first 48 Hour Film Competition was in 2007. Forty-eight-hour film competitions have been conducted since 2001, when a handful of film aficionados in Washington came up with the 48 Hour Film Project, which organizes competitions like this weekend's. Last year the organizers of the Project facilitated such competitions in 76 cities around the world.
"48-hour competitions have become increasingly popular events, what with the availability of cheaper cameras and simpler editing tools, so it's only fitting that our festival would have one," Bogosian wrote.
Bogosian's team's entry, "Blue State Romance," won the "Jury's Choice" award last year. "I Play for Laina," directed by Gabriel Doss '10 and Jovan Julien '10, won the "Audience's Choice." These and all the award-winning films from previous competitions are available on YouTube.
Ledain wrote that the Festival can be a valuable experience for student filmmakers. "We offer opportunities for filmmakers to learn from each other," she wrote.