can you make a film masterpiece in 48 hours?


Or, at very least, you can say “I’ll try” when Dawson City International Short Film Festival producer Dan Sokolowski blows the trigger whistle on January 27 to kick off Dawson City’s second annual 48-Hour Film Competition.

I entered last year with some friends and we had loads of laughs. In our film I played Satan, of course.

It turns out the Devil has a cooking show and is an extremely bad boss – who knew? – who enjoys tormenting his minion with multitudes of inane assignments. In other words, it was very high-brow stuff.

Such was among the work created during last year’s 48-hour event, and the final films presented made for wonderfully varied amusements.

Take two; screenshots of films presented at last year’s 48-hour filmmakers’ marathon Credit: Images courtesy of KIAC

Memorable subjects ranged from the search for STD-free sexual partners in Dawson, to a man’s life flashing before his eyes just prior to his death.

In fact, last year’s favourite film, a gentle comedy on the perils surrounding winter bicycling, went on to win awards at the Dawson

City International Short Film Festival (DCISFF) in April.

So keep in mind the winners here get an automatic entry into the prestigious DCISFF and all competition participants may submit their films as late entries to that festival. Not too shabby.

While I have fond memories of the event, my wife says I was cranky and exhausted by the end. Perhaps I was just “method acting”. Nevertheless, it is true that shooting, and, especially, editing a short film in 48 hours may not leave much time for sleep.

May Buddha help you if you attempt to make an animated narrative in that time. Animation can be a painfully slow way to tell a story. Do it well and it may indeed damage your Zen. You’ve been warned.

Other tips:

1. Write a screenplay. You can do this in advance, so give yourself a head start and process some words.

2. Make sure to have fun and keep an upbeat attitude, or you just might end up losing friends.

3. Keep an open mind about what you’re going to get and where your story will go. I know in my first tip I said to plan and write a screenplay, but if you’re too hardcore about that, then see tip number two.

The entire affair is designed to be a gleeful way to push the bounds of your creativity, and you’ll be surprised at how motivating having only 48 hours to do that can be.

Other than the time limit there are only a few rules: you cannot use footage shot prior to start time and finished films should be no longer than five minutes in length.

The contest is open to all genres, except porn. Though last year there was a film which focused on foot fetishism, so I guess fetish-izing feet is okay.

All Yukon residents are invited to participate. Entry fee is $25, which also covers the cost of an HD tape, a camera pack, and the use of an edit bay at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (KIAC). If you need lights or microphones, you can rent them from KIAC. Also, if you use your own camera, the entry fee is reduced to $20.

The challenge officially starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27 with the deadline at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 29, 2012. Competed projects will be screened for an entertainment-hungry Dawson audience that Sunday night in Odd Fellows Ballroom.

All formats in film and video are accepted, so break out those iPads, iPhones, Super 8 cameras, or whatever image-shooters you have to capture stardom!

Ah, it’ll be beautiful. Wicked and sleepless, but beautiful.

For more info or to sign up see or call KIAC at (867) 993-5005.