Make a film over the weekend

The 48 Hour Film Project is bringing its unique brand of short film contest in Chennai.

Next weekend (April 26 to 28), participants would be given a brief to make a film from scratch. “We would give every team a prop, a character and a dialogue on April 26 evening,” says Preeti Gopalkrishnan, producer of the 48 Hour Film Project, India.

“Each team will have to make a short film of between four and seven minutes during the weekend by incorporating the prop, character and dialogue into their film. That’s how we ensure the films are made specifically for the contest. There are 14 genres assigned in chits. Each team picks up a chit and makes a film of the genre mentioned.”

The 48 Hour Film Project came to India in 2008 and the contest has been held annually in Mumbai since. “We took over the 48 Hour Film Project in 2010 and brought 83 teams to Mumbai. We introduced it to Delhi in 2011 and took it to Hyderabad last year. From this year, we will have it annually in Chennai too,” says Preeti who runs the India leg of 48 HFP Inc along with Yogi Chopra. “We try to make the jury as local as possible. This year, we have K. Hariharan and Santosh Sivan on the jury,” she says.

Teams pay Rs. 2,500 to register and participate. Once the films are evaluated by the jury, they are screened the following weekend for friends and family of the filmmakers. “It’s a community celebration because it’s a physical competition, filmmakers love that they get to see all the films made during the weekend. And there’s audience voting too. Everyone has to vote for three films compulsorily, and not just their own team.”

About 60 to 80 teams register in every city and the best films from every city are showcased at screenings around the world. The contest is held in 120 cities around the world and winners from each city compete for the Best International Film Prize. The copyright for the film remains with the filmmakers. “However, if they commercialise it within the first six months of the contest, they have to share a certain percentage of the transaction,” she explains.

To register and to check out short films produced for the contest, visit