What it takes to participate in the 48-hour film project


48 hour project

The 48-hour film competition is an idea that was started by Mark Ruppert in 2001 because he wanted to challenge filmmakers to see what they can do in a single weekend. Nairobi joined the 48ers bandwagon in 2013 and it was so successful that it saw even more teams join in 2014 including USIU-Africa. The competition requires people to use their creativity and to think on their feet.

This is how it goes down; at around 7:30pm on a Friday, participating teams meet up at Michael Joseph Centre since Safaricom is one of the sponsors. The team has to get the genre, character prop and line which must be used in the 7minutes short film. The genre is picked at random and you have to roll with whichever genre you pick or you can choose to forfeit and a genre will be picked for you which you will not be allowed to change.

Then the teams are released to go shoot, edit and score their short films. The deadline is Sunday 7:30pm making it a complete 48hours. If you submit your film at 7:31pm you will be placed under late bird category thus making you only eligible for the viewer’s choice award. Now, maybe if you go in and say, “Carol (the producer), our director gave birth during the shoot!” then maybe… MAYBE you will be excused, but I’m just playing. I can’t believe you for a minute considered using that excuse. There is little reward for late comers mate.

48HFP 2014 was the first time I participated in the competition. I have to say the first mistake we did was going in without doing our homework. This is in terms of, for example, going through the rules and watching previous 48 short films winners to get basic idea of how it is done.

Ours went more like, “yo! There is this 48-hour film competition, interested?”

“I get to shoot at night? Cool, I’m in!” (Note that this is about a week before the competition).

When we got the requirements and saw that our genre was time travel, we were more than ready for the challenge. After straightening a few things here and there, scripting began at around 1am, Saturday.

It took forever. Mothers give birth to children faster. Okay, enough with the childbirth jokes but seriously, FOREVER but we finally had something by morning. Shooting began at around 10am and I have to applaud our director Mutana because the kind of crew and equipment he gathered… too cool.

The make-up artist did a fantastic job especially on one of our actors who was playing the chokora in our film. We were also able to pull off time travel, not as technical as the time travel in predestination 2014-the movie, but really close enough. Shooting was done by around 11:30pm. Editing was done, scoring was done, we submitted the film on time, and we were elated.


Only to be called by Carol later on because our introduction had pictures from Google and we had no permission. She asked us to remove them and then she would place us in the late bird category, no difference with the guys who submitted their films late. Heartbreaking. The screening of all the films was too cool though, it took place at Prestige Mall.

The movie theatre was so packed, the enthusiasm from everyone, it melted all the disappointments away. Safe to say, Barbara Karuana and Sahil’s teams, students from USIU, both were awarded best films and runners up respectively. Not our win but better than nothing!

There are only three things that I would tell anyone out there who would like to participate this year (around November), go through the rules, get ready to think out of the box, and be on time including the screening days. See you there!

By Brenda Kwena



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