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Local Indy Film – The 48 Hour Film Project

“Witches in San Diego?”

By Katherine Sweetman

The 48 Hour Film Project is a series of film festivals that happen all over the world. Each event gives filmmakers only one weekend to create the films. The legend goes like this, in 2001 a guy named Mark Ruppery wanted to see if he could make a film in 48 hours — a film worth watching. The idea caught on. To date there have been over 400 nationally and internationally held festivals of these 48 hour films.


Friday night (June 1st) at 7:30 PM, San Diego teams are assigned a genre, a prop, and the name of a character.
Sunday night at 7:30 PM, they turn in the SHORT film (4-7 minutes)
A couple weeks later, the films are shown in a theater– on the big screen.
This is the 2012 San Diego chapter of the 48 Hour Film Project

Sounds easy right?


If you want to see the very “Best Of Screening” event come this night:

Date July 8, 2012
Time 5pm
Place UltraStar Cinemas Poway Creekside, 13475 Poway Rd, Poway, CA 92064
Tickets $12 (purchase them here)
Notes Red carpet walk and live music starts one hour before each screening.


Last year, I found myself at a screening of the Best of the San Diego 48 Hour Film Project,  and I thought to myself, “How come I’ve never done this?”

There was a huge audience. And although I think of myself as a filmmaker involved in the local community, I read through the credits of each film carefully, I hung out and looked around at the crowd, but I didn’t know ANYONE. I put myself on the mailing list, and this year I decided to step up and try it.

160$ later, I was registered for this event. But I didn’t really have a team, and I really didn’t know what I was getting in to. I started enlisting friends as actors, their studios and homes as locations, and borrowing equipment from co-workers.

My cast was fabulous:
Anjela Piccard – Fashion and Art Maven, Director of Galleries at Salazar Fine Art, Avant Guarde Jewelery Designer
Erleen Nada – Punk Rock Queen, Musician and Performer
Surly Gurly – The Amazing Artist, my tough and sexy visual artist friend
James Humann – A Rockstar/Lawyer (…because every team needs a lawyer?)
Christine Freitas – Producer and Serious Trooper, she also played Production Assistant *sent from heaven* and “sound guy”
Colton Kummer – Sexy Punk Rocker from Orange County somewhere

The team was secured. I just needed a theme… WITCHES.

Now I just needed to write something, film it, edit it, and score it with some music. Shit.

Back at the Kick Off Event, Friday, June 1st. 7:30 rolls around and teams line up and pick genres from a hat. I picked: “Travel or Holiday Film” genre. Shit.

Then we were all assigned character “Gary (or Gretta) Greenberg– a TV news caster” and the prop of “cell phone”. OK. GO.

I sat down, had a panic attack, and started writing. We were meet at 9pm at Anjela’s studio to start filming. So… there wasn’t much time.

Wait, I forgot to tell you about the rest of the teams. First of all, I showed up to this Kick Off Event on my own. I think I was the only person without a team of writers, camera MEN, editors, producers, and actors. I heard a rumor there was one team 50 people in size. There were teams shooting on $60,000 (RED) cameras. There were “professionals” in from LA. Then there was me. Me with my sad little $1,000 camera and, yes, I planned on writing, shooting, editing, scoring (with music from myself. I told this to a couple people and they laughed at me.  But I had actors showing up to start filming in 1.5 hours. Shit.

I grabbed some items from Target and headed to Anjela’s loft. Surly Gurly and Erleen were ask to be witches, and they showed up looking amazing– Erleen with smoke machine in tow. We shot the elevator sequence and invented it as we went along. Christine was awesome for picking up a Zoom audio recorder, learning that thing in like 3 minutes, and becoming the official sound person.

Then Anjela arrived after a long day of work and a late gallery opening and got dressed and fabulous in 10 minutes. We shot Laura and Anjela scene, Erleen and Anjela scene, Colton was there moving props and hanging art.

We borrowed some visual art props from Rafael Reyes. Then we filmed Colton scenes and by 1 am we were done with everything I could think of for that space.

I converted the footage to editable format and went to sleep.

Saturday we started filming at 2 downtown, drove around, and ended up in La Jolla. Finished filming by about 10pm I think.

I converted the footage to editable format started to edit, went to sleep set my alarm for 7am with the intention of doing the rest Sunday.

Sunday I woke up and had a super-sized iced coffee — Trenta Size Starbucks iced coffee — that was my first mistake. The second one was thinking that I had enough time to edit this thing. All day I edited and waited for rendering, edited and waited, downloaded music, edited and waited. I had chest pains. I started making excuses why it wouldn’t get done on time. I hyperventilated on occassion. Hours ticked by and the 7:30pm deadline closed in.

6:30 I had an edit. I threw it on a DVD and a UBS drive and drove to the drop-off point. A traffic accident on the 8 forced me to back streets, but by 7pm I was handing the project to the smiling ladies at the drop off point which was Randy Jones All American Sports Grill. As I left the location I saw teams running in with last minute drop offs.

I did it somehow. Only a few mistakes.


If you missed you chance to make a film this year, but you can come see them and get ideas for next year.
They’ll screen June 25-29th at the UltraStar Cinema Poway Creekside.

Our film, Anything for You, screens with other films on Tuesday June 26th at 7pm. I am yet unsure if it made it to the “Best Of” on the July 8th


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