Festival challenges local filmmakers to produce film in 48 hours


Michaela Roman

Daniel Fuentes, digital media production graduate, will participate in the Ghostlight Creative 48-Hour Film Festival.

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

Most films take months or even years to be produced. Some films  take years just to be conceptualized. However, one local film festival will challenge this notion.

The Ghostlight Creative 48-hour Film Festival will challenge local filmmakers to work under-pressure in order to shoot, produce and edit their films in a short amount of time.

Started in 2010, the creative minds behind the festival made it their goal to give artists in the El Paso region a chance to take their creativity to the next level by encouraging them to create new projects.

“We thought creative storytellers should have a reason to start and finish their own project,” said Ray Sanchez, principal director of Ghostlight Creative.

There are only a few requirements for filmmakers to enter the festival.

“To participate, someone needs only to register, have a way to record video, even an iPhone will work, and be able to upload the video in the formats we require for judges and public screening,” Sanchez said.

The goal of the festival is to allow artistic minds to tap into their creative juices and use the time to focus entirely on their project. Sanchez said this helps them to focus on a story rather than the visual effects of the film.

“A time frame of 48 hours to make an eight-minute movie virtually ensures that a story gets started and finished,” Sanchez said. “The focus must be on the plot and how well a director can tell a short story, and things like special effects, elaborate sets, meticulous rehearsing or multiple takes on a scene take a back seat.”

Some advice Sanchez has for participants is to incorporate someone on their team to keep production organized.

“I advise participants to add the roll of producer to their team roster, which is someone who keeps the production moving on schedule,” Sanchez said. “He or she should be a strong personality and not a pushover.”

Sanchez also advises participants to use the same setting for the film and to get into post-production quickly.

“Shooting in the same general vicinity helps, as does going into post production as soon as possible,” Sanchez said. “Saturday afternoon is good and save four to five hours for upload.”

Many UTEP students have participated in the film slam in the past. Daniel Fuentes, senior digital media production major, will be participating this year.

“One of the reasons why I decided to participate in this 48-hour film slam competition was to get, in a way, real experience of how the process of producing quality forms of media to an audience in a short deadline works in the real world such as TV news,” Fuentes said.

There are many aspects to creating films, such as acting and production. Fuentes broke down the production process into three major sections.

“The art of filmmaking is divided into three parts of production; the first stage is called pre-production. This is the longest stage of the three, and it is where all the first arrangements for producing a film takes place such as writing, casting, location scouting, getting permission of authorities for filming on such locations, planning out the scenes and the schedule in which they will be filmed as well as thinking of all the little details such as housing and food service to all the crew members,” Fuentes said.

The other parts include the filming and editing.

“The second stage is called production, and it is the stage in which the filming takes place,” Fuentes said. “The last, but not least, is post-production, and it is the one where the footage taken from the filming goes into editing so the story can come together and make sense.”

Fuentes said the challenge of completing the film process in 48 hours could both help and hinder creativity.

“We know that the process of making a quality eight-minute entertaining and engaging short film is not going to be easy, yet my team and I are not discouraged that we can produce something interesting, entertaining and engaging to us, the audience and the judges,” Fuentes said.

According to Fuentes, completing an eight-minute film in 48 hours can help him with his creative process, but also presents roadblocks.

“We know that this challenge can certainly help creativity in many ways because it gives us freedom to produce something we believe in and that we would like to showcase to an audience,” Fuentes said. “But, just as everything, short deadlines can also be an obstacle for creativity because outside factors such as stress and tiredness can result in mind block that can hinder the project.”

Filming will take place between June 26 and June 28. Screenings of the films will be on July 17 at the El Paso Community Foundation. To register for the film slam, visit www.ghostlightevents.com/details.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]