Movie Making in the Fast Lane

It takes a long time to make a movie, usually to the tune of years. Looking to test the limits of creation, ingenuity, and sheer ability-to-get-it-done-ness of Ottawa filmmakers, the offices of the Ottawa International Film Festival present their latest 72-hour Film Challenge. That’s right, three days.

These competitions take place in cities around the world and challenge would be filmmakers to make the best movie they can in only seventy-two hours. (Some competitions call for forty-eight hours.) A start-time is set, a secret document is handed out, and the clock starts ticking towards to the deadline. A secret document? Yes, indeed. To help keep teams honest, the organizers will assign special criteria that need to be worked into the movie. These can be anything from a line or plot element that needs to be included to specifically what genre movies need to be.

What’s in the envelope this year? Well, I couldn’t tell you even if I knew. What I do know is that on January 26th in the Lieutenant’s Pump downtown thereabout 7pm, prospective teams will pay their entry fee and embark on what will probably be a grueling three-day challenge to make and deliver an entire short film by 7pm, January 29th.

Then, a few weeks later, back where it all started, the movies will be screened to audiences and a winner will be announced. And yes, prizes will be awarded. This time around prizes include Adobe’s Creative Suite Master Collection 5.5 provided by Adobe, and a full RED ONE production/post-production rental package provided by Parktown. Not a bad haul for three day’s work.

Here’s a few more details on the what’s what courtesy of the official press release:

“I’m always impressed by the film talent we have in Ottawa,” says Nina Bains, Executive Director of OIFF. “With a few cues, filmmakers put together imaginative stories and wonderfully shot scenes in just three days. It’s pretty remarkable.” Last year’s winners, The Waiting Room (Voters Favourite) and Polar Bear Love (Judges Pick) went on to receive national attention.

Interested filmmakers must attend the 72-Hour Film Challenge registration briefing on Thursday, January 26 at 6:15pm at the Lieutenant’s Pump to receive the mystery envelope. Registration cost is $20 per team, and teams must submit their final product by Sunday, January 29 at 7pm.

The selected film entries will be screened and voted on at the Lieutenant’s Pump on Thursday, February 16 at 7pm. The top three films will automatically qualify for the 2012 Ottawa International Film Festival in August. The winning film team will take home a prize pack valued at over $10,000 that includes Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection 5.5 provided by Adobe, and a full RED ONE production/post-production rental package provided by Parktown free of cost to shoot their next short film (some conditions apply). As well, Parktown is offering a 15% discount off indie equipment rental prices to any filmmaker participating in the challenge for their submission.

You can see some films from past challenge’s at the Ottawa International Film Festival’s website.

Have you entered one of these competitions before? Tell me about your experience below.

UPDATE: You have a chance to vote for your favourite films from the challenge. Check them out on the OIFF website between February 10th to February 15th.

Allan Mackey

About Allan Mackey

Allan Mackey is editor-in-chief of Production Ottawa, which, really, is too fancy a title. He also acts as show producer for Should You See It, making sure you get your answer in just about two minutes every time. He writes stuff and occasionally turns that stuff into movies. Keep being awesome!

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