By Yomna El-Saeed
In its comfortable outdoor atmosphere, Darb 1718 hosted the Cairo 48 Hour Film Project 2013 screening on Thursday 26 September. The 48 Hour Film Project is a global initiative that takes place in 126 countries with more than 4,500 competing teams.
“The festival’s idea is based on giving the competing teams 48 hours only to make a four to seven-minute short movie. Every team draws a movie genre from a box to work on, and is given three elements to put in the film; the name of the hero, a line of dialogue, and a prop,” Mohamed Reda, the event’s producer, said. “Genres include drama, comedy, horror, science fiction, crime, romance, western, sports, and others.”
After completing the shorts in the 48 hours, the movies are then screened for an audience and a jury. “There are three Egyptian judges: Youssef Hesham, a director, Abdel Salam Moussa, a cinematographer, and Khaled Mahmoud, a critic. The audience will vote as well. The wining team from Egypt will compete against the winners of the rest of the countries in the global contest that will take place in February 2014 in New Orleans in The United States,” Reda added.
Winning is more for the glory than anything else: “There are no prizes here in Egypt as there are no local sponsors, but in the global contest the prizes are $5,000 and cinematography equipment, and the best 15 film will compete in the Cannes short film festival. But I consider accomplishing a short film in 48 hours only is the real prize.[Especially that] the current conditions in Egypt made it the hardest country all around the competing countries in the festival,” Reda said, adding that all the teams in the Egyptian competition did very well.
When asked about the prerequisites for teams to participate Reda said: “We do not have any. There are no constraints on age, experience or nationality. If you have a camera and a laptop to do the editing you can be a candidate, if you’re a beginner or a professional.”
Mohamed Reda is from Lebanon and studied Cinematography in New York, where he worked as a cinematographer and lighting designer before he introduced the 48 Hour Film Project to the Middle East as a producer.
The project was founded by Mark Ruppert in Washington 13 years ago after which it spread to the US and Europe. It reached the Middle East three years ago and now takes places all around the world. It is the second year that it is held in Egypt and thirteen teams signed up to compete this year, with 12 of them managing to produce a short movie within the time constraints.
The winner of the Cairo 48 Hour Film Project 2013 is Sign Up, a Buddy Film by Bicicletta. Besides winning Best Film, they also received the awards for Best Audience Choice, Best Direction, Best Actor, Best Use of Prop, Best Use of Genre and more.