48-Hour Film Project headed for Charleston

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Back in the summer of 2002, when I was still a freelancer for the City Paper waiting for all the post-9/11  brouhaha to blow over so I could return to New York City (how little I knew), I found myself participating in something called Stopwatch Cinema — a short film contest that pitted local teams of filmmakers against each other in a sprint to cook up an idea for a 6-7-minute short, write it, shoot it, and edit it in just two sleepless days. Incredibly, my team — which included Brad Jayne and local actors Rodney Rogers and Sharon Graci — won the damn thing with a thriller Rogers wrote called Montagu (shot at my then Montagu Street apartment). Once the producers left town, though, they vanished for good, their phone number was disconnected, and our promised prize (a measley plaque and a copy of Final Draft Pro) never arrived. So much for fame and glory. And it was so close we could almost touch it...

Five years later, another company’s giving it a go. The Washington, D.C.-based 48 Hour Film Project, with 100 successful competitions here and abroad under their belt, is adding Charleston to its expansion list. Local filmmaker and ChasDoc Film Festival organizer Justin Nathanson is already on board as local coordinator for the competition, which lands on the peninsula Aug. 17-19. Registration opens Mon. June 25. Don’t worry about selling your body, or parts thereof, for fancy new filmmaking equipment. Shorts are judged by officials based on creativity and storytelling, not production values. If you have a camcorder and iMovie, you’re set.

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