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Find Out What It Takes To Make A Movie In A Single Weekend

The Annual 48HR Film Project kicks off on Friday

Four Points Film Project: Making A Film In A Single Weekend

It’s time for the annual San Diego 48HR Film Project, where teams of filmmakers have a single weekend to make a movie. I embedded myself with a filmmaking team last November for the sister competition Four Points Film Project to see what it’s like to create a movie under a rigid set of rules and time constraints.

It’s time for the annual San Diego 48HR Film Project where teams of filmmakers have a single weekend to make a movie. I embedded myself with a filmmaking team last November for the sister competition Four Points Film Project to see what it’s like to create a movie under a rigid set of rules and time constraints.

Most all of us have faced deadlines and know what it’s like to get a project in just under the wire, but the filmmakers partaking in the 48HR Film Project and its sister competition, the Four Points Film Project, willingly submit to rigid time constraints as well as an assigned genre and a list of required elements in order to make a short film in a single weekend.

"Friday our team gets together, we get the genre, the line of dialogue, the prop and the character that is required in the film, and then we brainstorm and try to come up with the script," explained Fernando Jay Huerto.

Huerto has participated in six 48HR Film Projects and a pair of Four Points competitions. The main difference between the two is that Four Points allows filmmakers 72 hours to complete their projects and it is an international event that allows filmmakers from around the globe to submit films online.

Huerto is a professional film and TV stuntman who also does live shows at Universal Studios and Knotts Berry Farm. His recent fan film "Harley Quinn" just passed 1 million views on YouTube. For the last Four Points Film Project in November he teamed up with Keith Hammond for the sixth time.

In order to find out what this intense filmmaking competition was like, I joined the team as well and sat in on meetings, catered food for the shoot, and basically just recorded everything that went on. Staring with the script writing session that began on Friday, Nov. 11 of last year.

"So what happened was at 7 o’clock Friday night we were told we were either going to make a super hero or a musical short film. We will probably do super hero," Hammond said. "We also needed to have dryer lint as a prop."

Dryer lint? That sounded like an odd prop to have to incorporate into a story but then that's the fun and the challenge of these competitions.

"The most difficult element for us to implement is the prop this year," Huerto said. "Usually in the past 48HR and Four Points competitions we used the prop as a weapon, just like Jackie Chan. But this time we were presented with a prop that is very difficult to implement, which was dryer lint."

As the team gathered at Hammond's house, multiple ideas were being discussed and Hammond explained that every idea gets considered from twin mad scientists running an underground fighting tournament to a baby with super powers. And sometimes an idea that sounds great late Friday night gets scrapped by Saturday morning.

"That time-crunch is what really makes it difficult to come up with a solid film that we are all happy about," Huerto stated.

After considering many options and losing a location that they had been hoping for, Huerto and his crew finally decided to keep it simple.

"We’re going to tackle superhero head on because that’s where our strength plays out well," Huerto said. "We are going to do it the Japanese Tokusatsu way, which is like 'Power Rangers' or 'Kamen Rider' or 'Ultraman.' That kind of thing."

While the script took a lot of time and revisions, the fight scenes come more easily to Huerto and his crew because they have been doing them for 15 years. Huerto is inspired by Asian action films and in keeping with that tradition he doesn’t start choreographing a fight until he gets to the set and sees what the location has to offer.

Photo caption:

Photo by Beth Accomando

Fernando Jay Huerto shooting a fight scene for a film in the Four Points Film Project. Nov. 12, 2016.

"When we shoot the fight scenes, we don’t do multiple angles," Huerto explained. "We shoot for the edit. That’s the Hong Kong style, meaning that when you choreograph the fight you shoot from one angle and you are married to it, you are stuck with it, and then you do the second part. You change the other angle because we have a cameraman who has shot 200 fights with me. We already have a system. We already know what angles to use for combinations."

This weekend Huerto prepares for another 48HR competition and confesses he’s addicted to the experience.

"Just doing this helps me become a better director," Huerto said. "It helps me become a better leader and I am able to train myself how to make confident decisions in a shorter amount of time and be creative."

Here is the final film, which won the award for best fight choreography.

'Codex Hero Excel'

This Friday at 6 p.m., teams of filmmakers all over San Diego will race against the clock to write, shoot, and edit their short films for the latest 48HR Film Project. Once again, Huerto and his team will be submitting a film and hoping to win their 10th award.

The 48HR Film Project takes place this weekend and people will have a chance to see the completed films in early June at the AMC Mission Valley Theatres.


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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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