Screen Gems

Posted: June 28, 2013 at 2:25 a.m.

The longest I ever stayed awake was four years ago for the 48 Hour Film Festival.

Bingeing on Mountain Dew and Little Caesar’s Pizza, I went 72 hours without sleep. Why did I stay awake the extra day instead of crashing on Monday like everyone else?

Because I was starting a new job and it was my first day. I couldn’t call in sick.

I don’t recommend staying up the entire weekend, but I do recommend giving the 48 Hour Film Project a try. If you have any curiosity about filmmaking, it can be a life-changing experience.It was for me. This will be my third year of serving as the Little Rock producer and it’s a joy to watch the insane amounts of creativity pouring out of central Arkansas and onto the big screen. Sure, some of the films are a little rough around the edges, but the stories and characters are often unique and more interesting than what Hollywood routinely puts out.

Projects like this in Little Rock or the 4320 Challenge (which, if you do the math, is actually 72 hours) in Northwest Arkansas present filmmakers with an opportunity to actually make a film. The biggest challenge within filmmaking isn’t the budgets, or the lack of resources - it’s motivation. Now you have a surefire reason to get up off the couch one weekend out of the year and band together with friends, family or even co-workers, and write, produce, edit, direct or act in your very own short film.

For the uninitiated, at the kick-off weekend registered teams are given a genre drawn at random and a list of requirements, like a character, prop and line of dialogue that has to be in each film. At the end of 48 hours exactly, you must turn in a completed 5-7 minute film. The films are screened about a week later and, a couple of weeks after that, an awards ceremony or best-of screening takes place to screen the Top 10 Audience Award films and hand out awards. The Best of the City-winning film goes on to compete in the National challenge at Lollapalooza.

This year the 48 Hour Film Project in Little Rock is being hosted in the Bank of America building downtown, a space we are excited to try out this year before the Arcade Building theater space is finished in the River Market District. The dates for the kick-off weekend are Aug. 16-19, with screenings to follow at 7 p.m. Aug. 29-31. You can find all this information as well as registration fees and sign your team up at

Get some rest and get some ideas. If you have questions you can e-mail me at

Levi Agee is a Little Rock filmmaker and a programmer for the Little Rock Film Festival. E-mail him at:

MovieStyle, Pages 33 on 06/28/2013