The antithesis to the bloated, big-budget commercial fare that dominates the summer multiplex, the annual 48 Hour Film Project has done exactly what its creators envisioned when they founded it in 2001: empower filmmakers of every stripe and experience level to get off their asses and create something from nothing.
The brainchild of a pair of independent film producers in Washington, D.C., the project now happens in nearly 100 cities (more than half of which are in the U.S.) on four continents. The premise is simple: Filmmaking teams have 48 hours (7 p.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Sunday) to make a short film four to seven minutes in length in which each team make use of the same prop, character name and line of dialogue. Genres, which are drawn from a hat just prior to the project's Friday start, range from sci-fi to film noir to something called film de femme.
The finished shorts — which range from sub-par to sublime in every way imaginable — are typically shown to an audience in a given city within a week of their creation. (This year’s local screenings take place Saturday and Sunday at the Cincinnati Art Museum.)
Christian Appleby, organizer of the local project, says this year's edition went well, with most of the 41 teams turning their films in on time.
“Everyone in the Cincinnati filmmaking community, which is fairly large, wants to be making movies, but it takes a lot of work to get a crew together and make a production happen,” he says. “The 48 Hour Film Project generates such an interest from the local community because it is a great motivating factor to get people together and make a film. Knowing there is a guaranteed screening in front of an audience is also a strong plus.”
Each city's winning film moves on to a national screening later in the year, which might then lead to a screening at the Cannes Film Festival in France. (Two Cincinnati winners have screened at the fest in recent years.)
“Cincinnati has always been one of the top cities in the 48 Hour Film Project, and I am sure this year will be no exception,” Appleby says.
The films screen in four groups (A, B, C and D), with the first group starting at 12:30 p.m., followed by screenings at 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Cincinnati Art Museum. For more information, go to www.48hourfilm.com/cincinnati.
On the traditional theatrical release front, a trio of art-house release pad yet another lean week at the multiplex.
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE — The second installment in the filmic adaptation of the late Stieg Larsson's large-scale crime trilogy Millennium pales in comparison to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — Cole Smithey (Rated R.) Grade: C
I AM LOVE — Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino takes advantage of Tilda Swinton's unique presence in I Am Love, an elegant, Renoir-esque family drama that touches on everything from issues of globalism and social class to sexuality and the pleasures of good food. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Esquire Theatre.) — Jason Gargano (Rated R.) Grade: A-
JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK — The revelation of Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's compelling documentary isn’t just how funny (and naughty) Joan Rivers' jokes still are; it’s that she’ll do anything to keep working. (Read full review here.) (Opens today at Mariemont Theatre.) — Steven Rosen (Rated R.) Grade: B-plus
RAMONA AND BEEZUS — Based on a series of children's books, this family-friendly feature from director Elizabeth Allen centers on a mischievous third-grader (Joey King) and her older sister (Selena Gomez). (Opens wide today.) — JG (Rated G.) Review coming soon.
SALT — Philip Noyce keeps the action red hot for a laughably implausible espionage story about Angelina Jolie's Russian double-spy character Evelyn Salt. (Read full review here.) (Opens wide today.) — CS (Rated PG-13.) Grade: B-