June 23, 2017

Last year, a record number of women and girls directed films in the HP48HOURS Filmmaking Competition. This year, organisers are looking to attract even more.

Event organiser Ant Timpson says: “There’s been a noticeable shift within the competition, a positive reflection of the recent focus on gender equality in the director’s chair. Last year we had 200 women and girls directing films in the competition, which is massive improvement over previous years.”

As an incentive, The Gaylene Preston/WIFT Award has become a more prominent feature of the event. It is a $1000 cash prize (plus free WIFT membership) for the Best Female Director winner.

Preston says: “I first offered this award 10 years ago in the Wellington City Final and now I’m happy that it’s part of the National Grand Final. It is for a dedicated, committed female director who is already working on forging her own path.

“Every year, 48HOURS grows terrific creative talent and it’s fantastic that women have begun to participate as leading creatives in greater numbers.”

The HP48HOURS website is approaching the milestone of 100 million views – currently on 98 million – indicative of the level of exposure the 48HOURS films can achieve.

Timpson also reflects on another positive outcome of the Competition: “It’s also been heartening to see so many teams who evolved through the comp now creating hugely entertaining award-winning web-series. This matches the increased growth of local audiences choosing the digital landscape over existing networks.”

HP48HOURS is a petri-dish designed to cultivate creativity under pressure – making a film in 48 hours both breaks up relationships and brings people closer together.

It’s a serious challenge for both first-time filmmakers and experienced directors. Past winners include Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), TheDownLowConcept (Gary of the Pacific), Gerard Johnstone (Housebound) and award-winning playwright/TV writer/actor Thomas Sainsbury (Super City), who was last year’s winner.

EARLYBIRD registration  ($40 fee reduction) is now open for this year’s HP48HOURS. Registrations here.

Now in its 15th year, the national weekend competition is set for August 25-27, 2017. Filmmaking teams have to write, shoot, edit and score a short film from one to five minutes duration. The intensity begins at 7pm on Friday August 25 and doesn’t let up until the final deadline at 7pm on Sunday August 27.

Filmmakers don’t know what genre (thriller/romance etc.) they will be shooting until the start of the weekend and there are several required elements. In previous years that has been a line of dialogue, a prop or a camera move. The random elements for 2017 are at present under wraps.

The focus for this year is risk-taking – Competition owner Ant Timpson is offering an additional $1000 cash prize for innovation and risk-taking. To keep people on their toes there may also be a few changes to the rules.

The appeal of the Competition is widespread: entrants include school groups, film professionals, actors and comedians as well as teams of mates looking to have a crazy weekend doing a project together. Last year, 550 teams entered in seven regions. Each region has a City Final in September, from which the best are selected to compete in the Grand Final in Auckland on November 11. A panel of international judges decides the winners, who are in line for $100k in cash & services in the prize pool.

This year sees the continuation of sponsorship by HP, a technology company that has empowered filmmakers and creative visionaries for more than seven decades. “HP are proud supporters of the creative arts globally, and our industry-leading technology powers entertainment giants like DreamWorks Animation, Technicolor and Animal Logic,” said Grant Hopkins, Managing Director, HP New Zealand. “We are excited to sponsor the HP48hours to shine a spotlight on the role technology can play in igniting personal storytelling and unleashing the creator and artist in all of us.”

Taika Waititi’s advice to entrants: “You need to embrace the chance to take risks and make huge mistakes. It’s one of the only times, as a filmmaker, that you’ll get to screw things up and not get fired or have your career ended.”HP48HOURS key dates:

Earlybird registration (saves $40): now – July 11
General registration: July 10 – Aug 22  (midnight)
Competition: August 25-27
City Heats: 29 August   City Finals: September
Grand Final November 11
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View past 48HOURS films here.

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