July 19, 2008

Teams Converge on Oakland, Other Bay Area Cities for 48 Hour Film Frenzy

By Angela Woodall, The Oakland Tribune, Calif.

Jul. 19--As mere mortals prepare to enjoy the weekend, scores of filmmakers will go head-to-head in the 48 Hour Film Project, a guerrilla-style movie-making marathon that offers prizes of cash, film equipment and a chance for national distribution.

At least one team -- Step 6 Productions in association with &Action! Productions -- will be filming in Oakland.

Producer and Oakland resident Ericka Obenar, director Gavin Garrison and director of photography Craig Mieritz assembled at 6 p.m. Friday at the Fat City bar in San Francisco with the other 56 teams competing this year in the two-day marathon.

Until Friday no one had a clue about what the film would be about. "You never know what's going to happen or what you're going to need," an already sleep-deprived Obenar said Wednesday.

On Friday, the teams picked the genre out of a hat, literally. Then the organizers announced a character, prop and line of dialogue, which must appear in the film.

Step 6 buckled down for an intense script-writing marathon. They will emerge in the wee hours this morning with the blueprint and by sunrise are scheduled to start filming.

All productions must be in by 7 p.m. Sunday. Expect exhausted filmmakers to be racing to Cafe Neon in San Francisco, desperately trying to make the deadline.

The zany project, brainchild of Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston, started eight years ago in Washington, D.C., and has since spread to dozens

of cities around the world, including Mumbai, India, Tel Aviv, Israel and Singapore, according to the 48 Hour Web site.

Films will be screened 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

Obenar, an indie filmmaker originally from Chicago, said she joined the project to network with others and increase her exposure. It is a unique challenge and a chance to show off her adopted city, she said.

The challenge was even more unique when, according to Obenar, some teams sabotaged others by red-flagging Craigslist posts requesting crew, cast and logistics -- simple but essential items such as food and costumes. Obenar called the maneuvers "dastardly" and stretched out a hand for donations.

"We're doing this total guerilla style," Obenar said.

For more information, suggestions and to make donations, visit www.andactionproductions.net. A full list of teams and a schedule is available at www.48hourfilm.com.

The Roxie is located at 3117 16th Street, San Francisco. The telephone number is 415-863-1087, and $9 advance tickets are available online at ticketweb.com.

Staff writer Angela Woodall can be reached at [email protected] or at 510-208-6413.


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