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Making a film in 48 sleepless hours
By Li Anlan

MAKING a film in 48 hours - writing, casting, shooting, scoring, editing the works - tests ingenuity, determination, teamwork and maybe insanity as well. Organizers call it "a wild and sleepless weekend."

That's what the international 48 Hour Film Project is all about, and 22 entries from Shanghai will be screened on October 29 at the Shanghai Theater Academy.

Winners will be screened at Filmapalooza 2013, the 48 Hour Film Project's annual awards in March in Hollywood. The top 12 films will be screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner in 2013.

Filmmakers form their own team to work on a short film with an assigned genre, character, prop and line of dialogue.

This year more than 50,000 filmmakers will make almost 4,000 films worldwide. Created in 2001, the 48 Hour Film Project involves more than 100 cities.

The clock is running and submissions that are even one minute late are disqualified. Filmmakers must plan, write, caste, shoot and edit in 48 hours, after they receive assignments.

This year 22 teams took part in Shanghai, starting last Friday, October 19. It was the project's second year in the city.

One team was assigned a buddy film, the character of branding expert Alex or Alexis Lee; headphones the prop; the essential line "I could not have said it better myself." For American Charlie Cooper, team leader of HND Productions, the biggest problem was team collaboration. The finished buddy film runs around six minutes.

"Literally, I almost gave up. You don't want to submit something really bad with your name on it," Cooper says.

Time was so limited but Cooper and his team managed to finish the film. He decided it was "okay" but says he might want to do the film another time.

His advice to future participants who are dedicated is "Make sure you find passionate people who are genuinely willing to commit themselves. It's not a simple commitment."

Manon Aubel from France and her teammate Xiao He also found team work was difficult on their project, a family film. They said it's best to know the team members before starting the project.

"We think we did a good job despite all the difficulties," Aubel says. "We did collective directing: One person edited and the next day others may do some corrections and changes. It was hard sharing different roles."

Aubel says the experience was positive and filmmakers learned about each other.

48 Hour Film Screening

Date: October 29, 6pm Group A, 8pm Group B

Venue: Shanghai Theater Academy, 630 Huashan Rd

Tickets: 60 yuan (US$9.6) at door per group screening

Ticket booking: shanghai48hfp.weebly.com (50 yuan per group screening, 80 yuan for both screenings)

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