The Hippo


Jul 23, 2019








Seven minutes in 48 hours
Project teams get two days to make a film


Get ready, get set, make a movie. 
The 48 Hour Film Project is just what it sounds like: Teams have 48 hours to create a film with almost no preparation. 
The popular contest is now in its third year in New Hampshire; the international 48 Hour Film Project is in its 12th year. Last year, 40,000 filmmakers made 3,000 films in 80 cities on five continents. 
The New Hampshire competition will take place Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 10.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Katie McQuaid Cote, who co-produces the New Hampshire competition. “It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. And you end up with a finished product and you can have the best weekend of your life…. A lot of people take Monday off work. They know they’re going to be exhausted.” 
Teams meet at Double Midnight Comics in Manchester on Friday, June 8 — at least one representative from each team must be present. At that meeting, organizers will reveal a prop, a character, a line of dialogue and a genre, each of which must be incorporated into the film. Teams have no advance notice of what the items will be.
“They change it up every year,” Cote said of the parent organization, which chooses the prop, name and dialogue in advance. Genres are picked randomly by teams. “It’s pretty fun. Everyone picks a genre out of the hat and they’re either really excited or, if they picked a Western or a musical…. But the musical ones are awesome when they are done well.”
Cote said lots of people always say they want to make a movie but they don’t have (or make) the time to do it. The Project forces filmmakers to block off a weekend and make it happen. 
The Project is designed to emphasize creativity and teamwork. 
“Anyone can make a movie right now,” Cote said. “You can use your iPhone and make gorgeous video.”
New Hampshire organizers limit the number of teams to about 30. As of last week, 12 teams had already signed on. So far, interest has been on par with previous years, Cote said. 
“There’s always people on the wait list,” Cote said. She said organizers have talked about expanding the competition to allow more teams, but that could make it difficult to show the finished films at the same time. As it stands now, organizers have two separate showings of films. Cote said they might expand it next year. 
“People who have never done it before, once they do it they just can’t wait to do it again. It’s just so much fun,” Cote said.
For the most part, all teams can do in advance is make sure they have enough people to pull everything together. They’d want to make sure they have someone who can operate a camera, edit film, or provide some music — although one person can do all of those things. There is no limit on the number of team members.
“It depends on their level of interest and knowledge of filmmaking,” Cote said. 
Films can be no more than seven minutes long and must be turned in by 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 10. From there, Cote organizes the screening of the films, which will be Wednesday, June 13, at Cinemagic Stadium Theaters in Hooksett. The screenings are open to the public. There will be two showings of different films, one at 6:30 and the other at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $10.
Judges choose the best films in a number of categories; the audience gets to vote for their favorites as well. The top film will be sent to the international competition. 
Of the 12 teams that were registered by last week, 10 were returning teams. A number of teams participate in 48 Hour Film Projects throughout the region, entering contests in Boston, New Hampshire and Providence, R.I. 
“They just love these festivals,” Cote said. 
Anyone can participate. Cote said she loves when younger teams enter. People who are interested in participating but perhaps don’t have a team can let organizers know if they’d like to work on acting or editing. Teams can use the help in a helter-skelter weekend. 
Registration per team costs $140 by May 14, $160 by May 29, or $175 after that. Teams are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit Send e-mail to


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