Heinz student runs Doubleshoot 48-Hour Filmfest

Credit:  Adelaide Cole | Assistant Art Editor Credit: Adelaide Cole | Assistant Art Editor

For most university students, deadlines are the bane of academic existence. So Jonny Paterson, a graduate student in creative enterprise, expected shock when he gave the lowdown on the newest film festival to hit Carnegie Mellon’s campus.

“Forty-eight hours,” he announced, spreading his hands over a pile of publicity leaflets. “Students will be given a prompt and 48 hours to create a film.”

Inspired by independent films made by students in the past, Paterson and five other students created the Doubleshoot film festival to give students the opportunity to create equally inspiring work through a contest. The founding group of Doubleshoot is a production team called Think and Make, which includes graduate business student James Wong as the executive director, creative enterprise student Samantha Decker as the creative director, Hilaree Caldwell as the development director, Neil Lobo as the finance director, and Fei Li as the communications director.

Paterson especially stressed the accessibility of the contest. “It’s seriously open to everyone,” he said. “You register in teams, and of course one member of that team has to be a CMU student. But really, any major or discipline is welcome to participate. You don’t even need any experience.”

Teams should be composed of five to 10 members and can register online for a fee. Carnegie Mellon’s diverse student body is ideal for assembling the perfect production team, which should include students interested in directing, writing, acting, and, of course, filming.

“Some editing experience is handy, of course,” Paterson said, “but people shouldn’t feel like access to all this expensive equipment is necessary. Digital cameras are fine, even iPhones.”

Once teams register, they will meet at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 to receive a prompt and rough guidelines. Then, these teams will be turned loose to work movie magic in 48 hours. The films should be roughly three to five minutes long, and they have to be physically turned in at 5 p.m. the following Sunday, Nov. 14.

However, the festival doesn’t end at the close of 48 hours. A panel composed of “industry experts” in Pittsburgh will judge the entries, and on Nov. 20, all entries will be screened at the Future Tenant Theater in the Cultural District. The public is welcome to see the finished products.

Paterson explained the contest’s short time period by saying that he and the board were hoping that the act of adding pressure would affect the competing teams. “Certain people work extremely well under pressure, and you want to think that’s gonna inspire people to work off the cuff. [The 48 hour] model works quite well because, if you give people too much time to do this, you won’t get the same kind of creative process that you do under pressure.”

Creative minds under pressure are bound to produce innovative material. Paterson shared what he personally wants to see as a result of the competition: “I would love to see a huge diversity. You’re gonna have these freshmen, seniors, master’s students, all working together, everybody doing something different. When you have groups with so many different talents and interests, that’s where really original ideas are going to come through.”

The winning entry will receive $100 in cash and Think and Make Productions will cover the cost to submit the top two films to South by Southwest’s 2011 film festival. Whether you plan on entering or attending the screening, don’t miss this unique opportunity to take part in the creative community present at Carnegie Mellon.