What is the National Film Challenge?
It's your chance to stop talking and start filming! The premise? Filmmaking teams have just one weekend to make a short film. All creativity-writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical soundtrack-must occur in a 72 hour window beginning Friday evening at 7 and ending Monday.
How much does it cost?
The registration fee is for the entire team.
- Early Bird registration: $115 (expires four weeks before competition)
- Regular registration: $135
Why is the entry fee $115-$135? It seems higher than most festivals.
1) We limit the number of entries (300) where festivals do not. (SXSW had 3,100 submissions and Sundance had over 8,000!)
Being that you're independent filmmakers, we understand your concern about the fee. Keep in mind that you are doing much more than just entering a festival. The Film Challenge is much different in that:
2) By paying the fee, you are in the competition, not just considered for it. We work toward getting the films screened and distributed, no matter if they are winners or not. At a festival you get one screening (maybe two.) Last year we worked all year on getting the films screened many times and we actually got more TV distribution for non-winners than winners!
3) We are a non-profit organization and not in this to make a profit. Our goal is to eventually lower the fee to make it more affordable for our filmmakers. We are always pursuing sponsors to help underwrite the expenses of running the event.
What are the films about?
That's up to the filmmaker; however, each team must select the genre for its movie from the 2 that are randomly assigned. You can find the full list of genres here. In addition, teams are given a character, a prop and a line of dialogue that must appear in their film.
Who sees the films?
The top 15 films (as determined by the Film Challenge judges) screen on the Film Challenge website and are eligible for Audience voting by the public. The Grand Prize Winner and the Audience Award Winner both screen at the 48HFP Filmapalooza in Los Angeles in 2013.
Who are the filmmakers?
The National Film Challenge is open to all filmmakers, pro and novice alike. Rules state that all team members (crew and cast) must be volunteers. Most teams consist of film and video professionals. And teams have attracted some top talent on both sides of the camera. Penn of Penn and Teller, Dennis Farina, and Nick Clooney have each appeared in a 48 Hour film.
How long are the films?
The films are short; they must be a minimum of 4 minutes and a maximum of 7 minutes long. Short is good. Not only are shorter films tighter and usually more interesting, they are more marketable.
What should I do with my film after the National Film Challenge?
Get it out there! Feel free to submit to festivals and to put it on the internet, but be sure to abide by all of the rules in the Team Leader's Agreement.
May I show a modified version of my National Film Challenge film?
Yes, presuming that the showing adheres to the Team Leader's Agreement that you signed when entering the Film Challenge. If it is a modified version of a Film Challenge film, please include a title card that says:
"The concept for this film developed during the National Film Challenge. www.filmchallenge.org"
What are the prizes?
Check out the details about judging and prizes here.
Will I win?
Depends on what you mean by winning. Countless filmmakers over the years have told us that the Film Challenge weekend was fantastic. They loved getting to use their creative talents; they had fun with their friends; and they made a film, too! So if winning means having a great time, you've got a very good shot at it.
Out of all the entries, last year over 20 awards were given out, including the Grand Prize and Audience Award. There will even be more entries this year. So if winning means getting that grand prize, you've got your work cut out for you. But don't let that discourage you-you can do it!
Will I get rich?
Probably not. As far as we know, no one has made much money selling a Film Challenge or 48HFP film. However, some of our filmmakers have had success with their films in other festivals including SXSW; one team won a $100K filmmaking package at a festival; and filmmakers have used recognition of their Film Challenge or 48HFP film to get paying work. Additionally, we at the Film Challenge have set up an arrangement whereby if we're able to earn money by distributing your film, you will receive a portion of that money. We believe our arrangement is fair and equitable. As you may know, the market for short films is nearly non-existent. However, we do garner more interest in our films because of the 48-hour concept and the fact that they are part of a bigger collection. So, while folks have lots of fun doing the Film Challenge they don't make lots of money.
Who judges the films?
We gather a group of film and video professionals to serve as our judges. These judges generally have extensive experience within the field. We require these judges to be fair and impartial. Our judges donate their time and talent to rate the films. In addition to determining the Grand Prize winner they also select a number of other awards.
But no matter how careful we are in selecting our judges, judging itself is extremely subjective. So many times, two regarded critics feel markedly differently about the same film-remember the long debate between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert about Apocalypse Now; remember Pauline Kael's ambivalent review of Star Wars. When it comes to evaluating art, a lot comes down to matters of taste.
Where can I buy the films on DVD? Where can I see the films?
You can buy DVDs from our online store and watch films in our screening room.
Can I sponsor the National Film Challenge?
Of course! Contact Doug Whyte and Kat Touschner, the Film Challenge Producers, to express interest.