The 48 Hour Film Project: Suffering in the Name of Art

The 48 Hour Film Project, which took place in Providence during the weekend of July 15, offers local filmmakers a chance to suffer and abuse themselves for an entire weekend in the dead heat of summer for the sake of art. Participants are required to make a film in just 48 hours — this includes writing the script, rehearsing, costume and set design, shooting, editing, sound design, color correction, rendering and exporting to a storage device for delivery to the drop-off location. Each participating team must include in their film one featured line of dialogue, prop and character, and each team is assigned a different genre, which forces people to think on their feet about how to write and stage their film. The project is a crash course in filmmaking for anyone trying it for the first time, but for the veterans it’s a chance to refine their skills and show what they can do.

Every year sees a slew of stories — usually comedic — about how minor problems become big problems and how technologies always seems to fail at the most crucial time. This year problems ranged from absentee cast and crew members to being assaulted by waterfowl.

Elbow Deep Media produced a film named Heroux Hero or Herrou Hero. The title sounds like a drunken “hero” with a heavy stress on the “r” followed by a sober “hero,” but kind of slurred together. The film is about a man who can’t remember his heroic deeds because his superpowers are directly linked to his blood alcohol level. After an impact event from a giant celestial melon, the race is on for our hero to drink until he can save the planet.


Some filmmakers who participate in the festival annually show real progress year after year. For example, Daniel Larsh, working with On the D.L. productions, has gotten good at the process and now worries less about simply making a film in 48 hours and focuses more on the finer details of the writing, shooting and editing processes. This year they created a short exploring the anxiety parents face when they’re bringing a new baby into the family.

Smoking Bottle and Rivenhart Design created a piece called Election Day about a mother and daughter being bombarded by campaign rhetoric in their home. “The most surprising thing for us is how well it went!” Rivengurl Hart said from Rivenhart Design.  

Of the films made, several are chosen for the best-of screening, the date of which is yet to be announced, and the best overall competes nationally with other winning shorts from across the country. Check out the Providence 48 Hour Film Project group on Facebook for behind-the-scenes content and information.