Local filmmakers make movie magic in 62 hours

Winners of the time-crunched creations announced next weekend

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

62-hour Film poster

Over the past year a number of arts scenes in London have been gradually attracting more audiences to different media. Some indications that London’s art community is enjoying an injection of energy are London Ontario Live Arts’ visual art exhibit spanning across downtown this past September, the recent influx of art collectives popping up and CBC Radio 3’s recognition of London in the form of two shortlist nominations " Call The Office and Aeolian Hall " in their search for Canada’s best small venue.

In addition to these signs of growing interest in London art culture is a bold and novel move put on by the London Fringe catered particularly to the city’s filmmakers.

The Fringe is a group that, according to the group’s producer Alison Challis, “can really do a lot to help promote and spread the word about art and what artists are doing.”

“There are so many different arts collectives and groups that are constantly emerging,” Challis says. “We’re very lucky to get to be a part of [the art scene in London] and to see a lot of that grow.”

Fringe has typically helped with such growth with its annual film festival " which will be happening from June 18 to 28 this year.

However, Fringe has recently expanded beyond the yearly film fest into more ambitious territory in its 62-Hour Film contest this past weekend.

For the contest, participants " all local independent film companies " had 62 hours to write, shoot and edit a short film that will compete with others later this week.

In addition to the time limitation, when the contest began Fringe provided each participating crew with a location downtown, a prop, a line of dialogue and an overall concept that the films must include.

According to Challis, the reason for the additional restriction is it adds “a little bit of control in terms of filmmakers not doing their whole film ahead of time and just submitting it before the deadline.”

“These special elements definitely ... put a twist into this contest,” she adds.

The idea, while fresh, is not entirely unique. The concept of a show put under extreme time pressure has been utilized in film fests and contests in larger cities as well as in theatre, for example the occasional 24-hour Theatre productions held by King’s Players at King’s University College. However, Challis notes that this idea is an interesting and unique way to bring attention to film in London.

“The film component, we felt as an organization, could use a little more highlighting ... We have such immense talent in this city and we want to do everything we can to get the word out there.”

Indeed, Fringe has seen a positive shift in London’s art culture over the past decade.

“The arts scene in London is absolutely amazing. It is vibrant, it is happening,” Challis says enthusiastically, prior to the competition. “We think that this film contest is definitely going to highlight all the talent that exists in terms of the film scene.”

The actual presentation and judging of the films won’t take place until Sunday, March 22 at the Wolf Performance Hall, but the contest commenced with around 20 crews shooting their work beginning last Friday at 7 p.m. up until 9 a.m. yesterday.

While creating a masterpiece with such constraints may seem daunting to an outsider, Challis expresses her faith in the artists.

“I know that we have some incredibly talented and resourceful filmmakers and they will make it happen,” Challis says.

After witnessing the steady development of art in London, she seems to have reached the same conclusion as many audiences in the city have.

“I’m just excited to see what everyone creates,” she adds.

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