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72 Hour Filmmaker Showdown has strict deadline

Filmmakers must shoot, edit and print a film in three days



Picture this.

You're a young filmmaker eager for an opportunity to show your chops. You hear of a 72-hour filmmaking contest where you have to write, shoot, edit and score a film in the space of three days.

You get a crew together, mostly friends who owe you various favours, you go to a production meeting where the contest's administrators hand you a prop you have to use in your film. This prop could be anything from a paper tiger to a porcelain chicken and you must find a way to incorporate it into your film's diegesis.

Your eyes are watering, your stomach is churning from lack of sleep, and your friend Brady sitting next to you thinks he's more creative, giving you unsolicited ideas on how to edit the film. The jump cut should be after a three-millisecond shot, not a five, you moron!

Your film is ready and you drive to the Village, Red Bull in hand, to submit your work. You arrive at the door, one second over the deadline, and the contest's administrators turn you away because you missed it. Tears stream down your face at realizing you came just out of the running.

"Dude, you should have used that three-millisecond cut."

"Shut up Brady, you turd!"

Filming takes place from Friday, April 15 to Monday, April 18, as part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. It's a race to the finish line for eager young filmmakers to show their chops as directors and prove they can meet tight deadlines.

2011 marks a decade of stressing out future Coppolas and Tarantinos. Coordinator Lilli Clark says the showdown started out as a "companion piece" to the Pro Photographer Showdown and has since grown in popularity.

"It was so well received that they thought, we're on to something here," she says. "The reaction and the crowd response was just so overwhelmingly positive in that first year that they just thought this is great, let's keep this going."

It works like this. Filmmakers sign up and pay a $50 entrance fee. They meet with organizers of the contest, get the prop, then they have from 10 a.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Monday to finish the film.

The prop, Clark said, is a measure to ensure that filmmakers put their movies together within the window they're given.

"This is our third year with the prop," she said.

"Two years ago we decided to jazz it up a bit, try to keep people honest. They don't know the prop until the director's meeting on the Friday. That might put a wrench into plans to submit a film produced elsewhere."

Films submitted are screened at two separate events. The Gala Screening shows what judges deem to be the best of the festival, while a Filmmaker Second Cuts Screening ensures all films get a chance to be viewed.

The Gala Screening also includes an award show that hands out $10,000 in cash to a single winner, along with $5,000 in prizes.

The gala is sold out but the Second Cuts screening will be held on April 20 from noon to 3 p.m.