COLUMN: ’72 Film Fest’ gives contestants 72 hours to make a film

What would you do with 72 hours? Those participating in “72 Film Fest” will create a film.

“72 Film Fest” kicked off on Sept. 29 at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in downtown Frederick. This local event brings together all the filmmakers of Frederick for one big fest. Or in other words, a place for filmmakers to cry in a corner together.

The film fest is a love letter to all the Frederick filmmakers, it’s a place where everyone in Frederick or even elsewhere can make short films and show off their talents. The fest is also not just about making a short film, it’s about learning new things and the experience of making something in 72 hours.

Most contestants don’t enter for the awards, but rather what making a short film in 72 hours can bring to your filmmaking skills and of course, having an entire short ready that fast.

Contestants are given a specific theme each year to make a short film. But what’s the catch? You must make your short film in 72 hours or in three days. Contestants are given one day to write, one day to shoot, and one day to edit, an entire short film, which leads to a lot of stress, but tons of fun for the contestants.

The film fest is popular among all of Fredericks’ filmmakers and even outside contestants from other counties or even states. The film festival has been running yearly in Frederick for over 18 years, with no sign of stopping. So if you’re interested as much as I am (probably not), I will go through all the various ins and outs of what makes this fest and who participates.

Each year, the film fest happens around this time in September, Participants are from different ages and vary in experience from students to pro filmmakers.

Months before the fest can start, participants are required to sign up their team and pay a fee in order to be entered into the fest. Teams fill up quite fast and before you know it, there could be a good 100 teams by the time August rolls around.

The fest has three categories to enter: student, amateur, and pro. In the student category, contestants can only make a short film no longer than 5 minutes long. Compared to the pro category where contestants can make a film up to 7 minutes long.

The student category allows any student to enter, which is why many students enter the fest.
Film students from Frederick Community Center, enter, as well as Frederick County Public Schools Career and Technology Center and high school students. The student category allows any student to enter, which is why many students enter the fest.

Regardless of what category you choose to be in, you’re all given one specific theme. Each year a different theme is picked and every contestant is given a prompt based on said theme. For example, a few years ago, they had a prompt for careers. Each contestant is then given a different career for their short, and they can do whatever they want with that career.

The film fest gives you a lot of creative freedom to make whatever you choose with the theme. This year’s theme is quite interesting, titled “Floriography,” which is all about flowers and the meaning behind them.

Once the theme is given, films can be made wherever the team chooses, for example, some teams even venture to Ocean City to film on the beach, while other teams stick to Frederick. One team last year was from New Jersey and filmed from there.

Once the films are completed teams must submit them on Sunday night and have everything completed then. The films are then shown off at the Weinberg Center, like every year, anyone is allowed to come watch the films made during the fest. This year, the fest screening at 6:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct.1, and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Weinberg.

There are always a lot of great films being made each year, so it’s worth going to see everyone’s respective films. If you somehow can’t make it to the screening, the shorts will go up on the 72 Fest’s YouTube channel sometime after the screenings.

The film fest is crucial to all Frederick filmmakers, and it gives us a place to use our creativity to make a short film in 72 hours and no matter how stressful it is, it’s something we love doing and look forward

For more information about “72 Hours Film Fest,” for more information on past years and current teams. Or to purchase tickets, go to Weinberg’s website

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