Two days to complete a short film seems impossible, but it’s exactly what the Main Street 48 Hour Film Festival will ask of its participants.
The film festival, held in conjunction with the Okmulgee Harvest Spoon Chili Festival, will kick off Friday Oct. 9 following an Element Party at the Creek Council House on the Square in downtown Okmulgee.
At the Element Party, filmmakers and their teams will learn the four specific elements they must include in their four to six minute short film: a specific prop, line of dialogue, character and exterior location in Okmulgee.
“Whenever we say go, you have 48 hours to shoot it, edit it and get it back to me,” said Tyler Roberds, the film festival’s chairman. “I want them to film in Okmulgee, they have to come to town. I want to get filmmakers here so they can see downtown and see what’s happening in downtown.”
Three outside filmmakers will judge the finished films and choose a $300 first place winner and $200 second place winner.
All the films will be screened Saturday Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre following the Harvest Spoon Chili Festival, and viewers will determine the $100 Audience Choice award. OSU Institute of Technology will host an orange carpet event outside the Orpheum Theatre as filmmakers and actors arrive to the screenings.
Roberds, who was born in Okmulgee, has starred in about a dozen movies filmed in Oklahoma as well as directed and produced some of those independent films including his latest, “Only Oly,” which premiered at Okmulgee’s Orpheum Theatre.
When Roberds joined the Okmulgee Arts Council, he was asked for ideas on how to bring artists and patrons to downtown and thought of a film festival.
“I thought it would get a different genre of artists downtown and attract people who like to watch movies but maybe aren’t as interested in paintings on canvas or chalk art,” he said.
Roberds knows first-hand the challenge ahead of the filmmaking teams. He’s participated in other 48-hour film festivals before.
“It’s tough, you don’t know what you’re going to do when you start. But it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a professional or have any filmmaking experience to participate. Roberds had some advice for amateur or first-time filmmakers who want to try their hand at the film festival.
“They should get their friends together and shoot a few scenes now so they can get familiar with how to light a scene, block and scene, edit a scene,” he said. “Get on YouTube and watch filmmaking tutorials learn about lighting and scene coverage.”
As far as equipment, that isn’t as important as telling a good story, Roberds said.
“You can use an iPhone for all I care; it’s really about the vision of the filmmakers have and how they convey that,” he said. “Some smart phones have a higher resolution than video cameras now. You can shoot a whole short film with a phone, and if you do it right, people can’t tell.”
The part of the 48 Hour Film Festival that Roberds is most looking forward is the after-party.
“We’ll get together for an after-party for the filmmakers. That’s when you meet people and talk and make connections and start to grow a community of artists.”