Film Race’s Charlie Weisman

Charlie Weisman is one of the organisers of the world renowned 24 hour and 48 hour film races. Based from New York, it produces a lot of successful work and uncovers a lot of talented filmmakers. I asked Charlie about this years competition.

What was the thinking behind creating these 24 and 48-hour film competitions?
It started way back in 2001 in New York at a New Year’s Eve party. After the ball dropped (midnight), we had shot a short film with the help of a lot of alcohol and some friends at the party. It was not the best film in the world (it may have been the worst), but it was a lot of fun. That planted the seed and we ended up holding our first competition in New York in 2002 challenging filmmakers to create shorts from midnight to midnight.

What do you think the time constraints bring to a project?
It forces you to think quickly, work together as a team, and create something from scratch.

Are there particular themes that the entrant has to adhere to?
The filmmakers need to use an assigned theme, action, and prop into their films. The 2015 assignment was An Unexpected Guest (theme), Watering a Plant (action), and a cookie (prop). The top 24 films will be announced on July 9th.

What sort of reaction are you expecting?
The filmmakers are always enthusiastic, regardless of the assignments, so we are expecting some very interesting films.

What sort of judges have you got?
We got some great judges this year and they include:
Bryan Cogman (Supervising Producer / Game of Thrones)
Elodie Keene (Director / The Wire, Nip/Tuck)
Tamra Davis (Director / CB4, Billy Madison, Half Baked)
Peter Care (Director / The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, Six Feet Under)
Barbara Morgan (Co-Founder of the Austin Film Festival)

Do the films that do well here do well elsewhere?
The filmmakers are free to submit their films to festivals after the competition, and many of the top films have screened and won awards at festivals around the world.

What are you looking for in a winner?
Most importantly, a good story. It’s very important to have a good production value and solid acting, but we put an emphasis on a solid story above everything else.

How far away are you expecting entrants from?
We always have filmmakers competing as far away as Australia / New Zealand which is 14 hours ahead of New York.

Are you a filmmaker yourself?
Yes. I have directed several promotional videos the past few years (including the 4 film racing promos on filmracing.com) and I’m currently working on a few projects which should be done by the end of the year.

How important are links in the industry?
I have met many talented people in the independent film industry, but I definitely don’t have too many contacts in Hollywood. These days, anyone can make a film without much money. If you have a good story, some enthusiastic cast and crew, and a camera, you can make a film that can reach millions of people online. If you want to make a blockbuster, then you’ll need a lot of contacts. But, in 2015, there are no excuses not to make a film if it’s your passion.

2015’s film race is closed to entrants – but never fear – there’s always next year! Find out more at their website www.filmracing.com.

This year’s winners will be selected on the 9th of July, so keep your eyes peeled!

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