Tag Archives: film festival

Why We Do The 48 Hour Film Project

Among our many specialities and adventures, the DUO Team produces short films by participating in 48 Hour Film Festivals on a very regular basis; in particular, the Washington DC and Baltimore 48 Hour Film Projects under Star Wipe Films,our subsidiary company.  We have been doing so since 2003 in Atlanta, GA and, as such, have accumulated quite the collection of films, with a reputable stack of awards under our belt, including Best Film for Welcome to the Neighborhood, three for Best Cinematography, two for Best Editing, two for Best Special Effects, and two for Audience Favorite.  When Welcome to the Neighborhood won best film in the 2012 Baltimore 48, the team went on to screen at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

The way DUO sees it, a 48 Hour Project is a great exercise in active filmmaking participation, by being forced to create in a specific, condensed time frame, with elements shared by all participants (namely a genre, drawn at random, a character, prop and line of dialogue).  At first glance, such an endeavor seems all too limiting and an unnecessary increase to one’s stress level.  Why do it?

Because it inevitably leaves you with a finished product.  In the filmmaking, completing a film can be more than half the battle.   It is all too easy to get swamped and smothered by editing or throw in the towel before getting out of pre-production, but a 48 Hour Film Project, you are forced to finish what you start and you learn a great deal about how to doing so.  Furthermore, such an exercise demands resourcefulness and improvisation, as well as the implicitness of thinking ahead.  Despite having the specific elements to work into your story, you are left with a great deal of work to do to make the film whole and cohesive around those elements.  It can often bring out skills you didn’t even know you have; skills that are vital to filmmaking on a larger scale.

There is a built-in showcase for your completed film, through which there is always audience feedback and the opportunity for prizes and awards to the networking before and after the screenings.   When the Baltimore 48 instated a “Best Of The Fest” Screening as part of their award-giving ceremony, Star Wipe’s films have never failed to make the cut.  In 2013, however, Brian announced that we would not be returning to the Baltimore 48 the following year due to the upcoming production of Apocalypse Rock, for which we needed to devote all our time and resources.

That said, after a swift production phase of “ARock,” a successful IndieGogo “Finishing Funds” Campaign and premiere, the film has been making the rounds at multiple festivals and competitions, winning several awards and garnering lots of positive feedback.  In the interim and new phase of waiting for results, however, it happened to be time, once again, for the Baltimore 48 and the team realized that they did miss participating.  There is a draw to produce a project on your own terms, without any forced framework—to just “get out there and do it”—but there is also a uniqueness to the 48 that facilitates content to be generated in such a way that doesn’t happen under any other circumstances.  So, in a last-minute decision, we rallied a team together—though a much smaller team than in previous years—and tossed our hat back into the ring.

Last year, we were given a roll of tape, the character Q. Treller, a secret society member,  and the line, “sometimes the best answer is no answer.”  We drew Thriller/Suspense as our genre and we were off.  This was also the first project we took on with Robin Farrell as part of our team; she has since become DUO Media’s first full-time employee.

And thus lies another benefit of the 48 Hour Project; networking.  It’s a cliche, but an honest one.  The 48 is a great opportunity for meeting other local filmmakers and creative people, as well as making new connections that can grow beyond that initial forum.

The resulting film of 2015, simply titled “Q,” earned us two more awards for our collection: Best Sound Design and Best Directing.  As in previous years, the experience was a good one.  As Karen says, whether you can participate each year “depends on…life,” but the desire to make films in this way was definitely reinstated.  So much so that we participated in the Washington, DC 48 at the end of April 2016 and it was just as much fun as the last.  Even more so, as we were able to choose between two categories and we challenged ourselves by going with the less-familiar option of COMEDY.  We learned a lot and that, too, is one of the most significant parts of why we do this at all; to learn, grow and allow ourselves the chance to become better filmmakers.  It only takes one weekend and a few willing volunteers.

What have you got to lose?

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DUO Film to Screen at the Cannes International Film Fest

So, it seems like we are blowing the DUO horn a lot lately, but hey, we’re screening at the Cannes International Film Fest!  Here is the press release:

BALTIMORE FILM HEADING TO CANNES

“Welcome to the Neighborhood” by Star Wipe Films
selected for the Cannes International Film Festival

Washington, DC (April 23, 2013) | “Welcome to the Neighborhood”, the entry by Star Wipe Films representing the city of Baltimore at the Filmapalooza Film Festival in Hollywood, was selected as one of the top 15 films for submission to the Cannes International Film Festival.

“Welcome to the Neighborhood” won several awards at the 2012 Baltimore 48 Hour Film Project including top honors as “Best Film”. With top honors came the opportunity to screen as part of the Filmapalooza Film Fest 2013.  The film received honors at Filmapalooza for “Best Actor” and “Best Use of Character”.  Selected in the top 15 of the 115 city winners at Filmapalooza, the film will represent the 48 Hour Film Project at the Short Film Corner of the Cannes International Film Festival.

Brian Pennington, director of Star Wipe Films, will be attending Cannes. Says Brian, “This is every filmmaker’s dream; to be screened at Cannes and to mingle with filmmakers from around the world.”  “Welcome to the Neighborhood” will be included in the screening of the 48HFP selections on May 22 as part of the Short Film Corner.

“Welcome to the Neighborhood”, was created in only 48 hours by Star Wipe Films, the independent film channel of DUO Media Productions headquartered in Brookeville, Maryland.  Star Wipe Films has participated in ten 48 Hour Film Projects over the last ten years in the cities of Baltimore, D.C., and Atlanta. The team has won many awards over the years for cinematography, directing, writing, acting, costume, graphics, special effects, audience favorite, and runner up for “Best Film”, but this was the first time winning top honors. This film is one of over 4,000 films from 115 cities around the world that competed in 2012.

“Welcome to the Neighborhood” is available for viewing at www.StarWipeFilms.com.

So what is the team working on now? In addition to preparing for the 2013 48HFP for D.C. and Baltimore, they are in pre-production on a new independent short film, “Apocalypse Rock”. Visit www.apocalypserock.com for details, and to follow the production.

DUO Honored at Filmapalooza in Hollywood

by Jim Pennington

Under our “fun” moniker, Star Wipe Films, our film “Welcome to the Neighborhood” was honored with two awards at the Filmapalooza Film Fest in Hollywood.  Here is the press release.

BALTIMORE FILM HONORED IN HOLLYWOOD

“Welcome to the Neighborhood”  by Star Wipe Films
honored at the Filmapalooza Film Festival

Hollywood, California (March 10, 2013) | “Welcome to the Neighborhood”, the entry by Star Wipe Films representing the city of Baltimore at the Filmapalooza Film Festival in Hollywood, was honored with two awards. Doug Powell, who portrayed Louis Ledbetter, a busybody, was awarded “Best Actor”. Star Wipe Films was also awarded “Best Use of Character”.  The winners were announced at a red carpet screening on March 10 at the historic Chinese Theatre, the former Grauman’s Theatre Complex.

“Welcome to the Neighborhood” won several awards at the 2012 Baltimore 48 Hour Film contest including top honors as “Best Film”. With top honors came the opportunity to screen as part of the Filmapalooza Film Fest 2013.

“Welcome to the Neighborhood”, was created in only 48 hours by Star Wipe Films, a team of filmmakers who have participated in ten 48 Hour Film Projects over the last ten years in the cities of Baltimore, D.C., and Atlanta. The team has won many awards over the years (including runner up as “Best Film”), but this was the first time winning top honors. This film is one of over 4,000 films from 115 cities around the world that competed in 2012.

David Garner, executive producer, attended Filmapalooza and joined filmmakers from around the world including Cape Town, Hong Kong, Prague, Osaka and Dubai.

“Welcome to the Neighborhood” is available for viewing at www.StarWipeFilms.com.