Why did we start the film challenge?

After many visits to other film festivals and meeting lots of directors, we kept asking “have you made a scifi movie?” – mostly the answer was “we don’t have that kind of budget“.

“What kind of budget?” we would say… “Shane Carruth reportedly made PRIMER for $7000 – and the main special effect was the innards of a washing machine”.  Surely, like any good film you just need the right script, great actors and good sound mix?  If you want to make AVATAR, sure you need 100million, but you can make scifi with very little in the way of FX etc.   Take ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND as another example, the money was not spent by the effects teams.

We decided to start a 48hr film challenge to see what people could do with little in the way of resources, time being one of them!

And then what?

In 2008, a young FX artist decided to take part and make a film that John Landis (AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, TRADING PLACES), head of the challenge jury, would see.  That filmmaker was Gareth Edwards who took part and won the competition.   The short film was called FACTORY FARMED and it really showed his talent for cinematic visuals.  The film got touted about and a feature deal followed.

Gareth’s debut feature, the multiple award-winning MONSTERS, was green-lit because Vertigo Films saw his winning 48hour short-film right here!  So impressed were they with what he could do with no budget in just 2 days that they had to develop a feature with him. Gareth’s second feature came out in 2014, it’s about a big lizard called GODZILLA!!!  He then directed the brilliant STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE, and is now working on a new sci-fi project.

So how does it work?

Simply sign up here.  On the day of the challenge we give you the TITLE of the film you will make, some DIALOGUE that one of your characters must say to screen, and a list of PROPS that must be seen in the film.  We also give you an optional scientific theme or idea… this could be nano-tech, cloning, gene-splicing…or something a little more “fringe”.

Once you have all your elements, you have until Monday morning to return the completed movie to us, send it via the Internet (youtube, wetransfer, vimeo upload etc)… simples!

Why not have a go… the worst that can happen is you make a film in a weekend!

What prep' can we do in advance?

Start scouting locations and getting actors together now!   But don’t write a script… seriously, you won’t have enough to time to make “that” film in a weekend.

What you can do is book your actors, secure your locations, decide on the most important roles in production and get a team together.  You can think about a tone or look, you can plan rough timings – when to write, shoot, edit.  Who is doing music? Who is feeding everyone?  Got a spare drive?, charged all your batteries… lots of this kind of prep is allowed.  But remember the rules below:

  • All material in the film must be created during the 48 hour challenge period
  • All material must be free of any copyright claims (it’s yours, you didn’t ‘borrow’ it) – and you indemnify us against any claims
  • No materials will be returned so don’t give us the only copy!
  • By entering you agree to give us non-exclusive, worldwide rights to the film, forever and we can do what we like with it – forever!
  • All films returned by 1pm on the Monday, no shorter than 3 minutes and no longer than 5 minutes, copyright cleared and containing all the random elements issued on the previous Saturday are eligible for judging.
  • All films will show a supplied graphic at the beginning of the film. – you can download it on the day.
  • The judges decision is final – really, no arguments!
  • Use of a time machine or other similar instrument to stop the normal passage of time, giving you say 3 weeks to make a film in what seems like just a weekend to the rest of us – well, that is cheating and we won’t stand for it – unless of course you use some kind of mind control and erase any knowledge of this rule or your cheating or the fact that the time machine was invented.
  • All creativity must occur within the competition period: writing, rehearsing, shooting, editing, graphics, sound design, etc. Get your film to us by 1pm on Monday and you’re in the competition!


And one last thing, don’t just copy the look and feel of a previous winner – it just makes every on the team here sigh.

If you are entering the 48 Hour Film Challenge, use #sfl48hr hashtag on your tweets and join the Facebook group for updates and crew requests.



check out a few of the films made for the challenge. remember, all these were conceived, written and created in a weekend! Google #sfl48hr for hundreds more.