Downtown based Ghostlight Creative, a full-service creative agency is giving filmmakers the opportunity to win cash prizes for their work. The catch? They have to create an 8 minute film in just 48 hours. The task sounds simple enough – it’s only 8 minutes but the task can get challenging when you consider the multiple elements stitched into the storytelling process: script, location, props, actors, sound, equipment, editing, etc., just to name a few.
As we sit in the stylish downtown El Paso offices of Ghostlight Creative, Ray Sanchez, Principle of the agency and father of this festival, explains where this idea emerged, “This was an idea that began to celebrate storytellers in our area, the [Paso del norte region.] We knew there were people with creative talent that had side projects that were not for hire. It was their own, it was pure but the only thing was that they maybe had these projects half-finished – incomplete, or it’s been living in their mind.”
Sanchez, further explains why this 48 Hour Film Slam is an impetus for creatives to complete these hibernating projects, “This event gives these storytellers an incentive and a venue to show their work. We decided we were going to follow a national example and chose to do it ourselves.”
The teams must follow a process that includes the 48 hour timetable, drawing a genre that limits them to that particular genre, and ensure that stories are fresh even if a script was re-written, essentially leveling the playing field. “If they have a ready-made script the storyteller will have to adapt it to whatever genre they draw. There’s also an additional control – we feed them a line of text that must be woven into the script,” said Sanchez, adding, “ The first year we pulled a line from a Seinfeld episode that Kramer said, ‘These pretzels are making me thirsty,’ which made it kind of interesting.” In addition to these parameters, each team must use the same setting. The Tap restaurant and bar in downtown El Paso was the location that was shared by each storyteller last year.
It’s no accident that the films are consistently set in downtown El Paso. “We made a decision early on to have this festival in the downtown area, it’s centrally located, not just geographically but we feel it’s the center of culture and the heartbeat of the community and it kind of emanates outward from there. You can leverage a lot of different sceneries from the downtown area too – it’s very rich content,” said Sanchez.
This year the festival has category based cash-prizes instead of just a single prize for the entire film. Similar to the Academy Awards, there are no restrictions to how many awards a film may receive.
- Overall Film
- Audio Design
- Special Effects/Set Design/Graphics
- Costume Design
- *Movie Poster*
Graphic designers will partner with the storytellers this year to design a movie poster for the project in addition to the film itself.
“The Plaza Classic Film Festival has been gracious enough every year since our beginning to reserve a special screening event for us. As an event we feel the 48 Hour Film Slam is important because this is an opportunity to feature names that we won’t see anywhere else. We’re believers in the craft of storytelling,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez tells us that not only is this festival, now in its fourth year, crucial to incentivizing creative voices to create but a portion of proceeds go to a good cause, “All the proceeds generated from entry fees will go to Creative Kids, and we’ve timed this year’s festival to end just as a Chihuahuas game will begin – so make it a full Sunday!”
What: Film Screening & winners announced
When: Sunday, July 12th 2015 from 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Cost: $5 entrance fee
Where: Foundation Room at El Paso Community Foundation 333 N. Oregon, El Paso, TX 79901
For more information visit Ghostlight Creative