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Local Film Tweets

Two-day Turnaround

Providence's 48 Hour Film Project screens its second year of entries and selects finalists this month.

By T.J. Paolino


Testing the mic.  Photo by Rachel Cooper.

The scene was set... a humid Friday at dusk in Providence.  Teams of sweaty filmmakers huddled over small tables, their cameras charged to the very last bar, notebooks were lying in wait for that crystal clear idea.  Slowly, oh so slowly, genres were drawn from a hat -- then a character, a prop, and a line of dialogue.  And... they're off! 

Forty-eight teams of creative warriors all geared up for the collaborative ride of their lives.  In exactly as many hours, these renegades would speed from their respective movie sets in a mad rush to deliver a completely original four to seven minute film on time.  It's the Second Annual 48 Hour Film Project Providence!  Results are in and wanted to know just what went down so we talked to Mike Ryan, producer of the 48 Hour Film Project Providence. 

T.J. Paolino: Who are the filmmakers? 

Mike Ryan:  The 48 Hour Film Project 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 George Clooney's father have each appeared in a 48 Hour film. 

TJP:  Who are the Providence judges and what are they looking for? 

Ryan:  This year, we're honored to have many industry veterans.  They are Carolyn Pickman, C.S.A. of C.P. Casting, R.J. Heim, a meteorologist and reporter for WJAR-TV, Channel 10 in Providence, and Don Soucy, a professor of video appreciation, criticism, history and production at The New England Institute of Technology.  They'll be looking for submissions that use the required elements creatively, and that clearly craft stories around the assigned prop, line of dialogue, character, and genre. Beyond that, they look for the qualities of any good film -- plot, storytelling, acting, cinematography, etc.  It can actually be harder to tell a good story in under seven minutes than in two hours -- and that's part of the challenge. 

TJP:  What film won last year and what was it about that film that made it win first place? 

Ryan:  Albatros was the winning film in 2006 -- a spy story that dealt with poison, French politics, international terrorism, and agents undercover at Brown.  The decision involved a lot of factors, including that the judges discovered deeper layers to the film on repeated viewing.  It comes down to subjective calls by the judges, and there were a number of really nicely done films, so it was a tough decision. 

TJP:  Who sees the films? 

Behind the scenes of the Providence 48 Hour Film Fest. Photo by Rachel Cooper. 
[Click to enlarge]

Ryan:  Nationally, the films screen to sold-out audiences. Of course the filmmakers, actors, family and friends are there to enthusiastically support the premiere of the weekend's work.  Last year, supporters of the local film community and discriminating viewers who wanted to see something raw and alive came to feel the creative energy.  Films are also screened at major film festivals, which in the past have included South by Southwest, Cinequest, and Filmapalooza. 

TJP:  Where and when are they shown? 

Ryan:  The Providence results will be shown at The Columbus Theatre in Providence on August 1-2 at 7 and 9 pm.  Each screening will present 12 of the films that were produced during the 48 hours, so viewers will see different shorts each time.  Award winning entries will be screened as part of the closing events of the Rhode Island International Film Festival on August 12th at 6:30 pm. Last year, the event drew on the skills and inspiration of over 500 different team members. 

Those interested can learn more at, or follow the links at