“The Apprentice” meets “Project Greenlight” at this year’s Hamptons Film Festival with the 48 Hour Film Project, wherein filmmakers will compete to make a short in precisely two days.
Hamptons fest exec director Denise Kasell explains that while the idea of adopting the 48-hour event was first proposed to programming a year ago, it wasn’t until recently that the essential support needed came by way of Panasonic. “It’s a classic example of how programming and the executive side of the festival work together,” says Kasell.
Lending a higher profile to the event, Hamptons programmer Rajendra Roy came up with the idea to invite award-winning fest alum to participate.
Extending invites to four talents, Roy is hoping to juice up an already exciting program lineup. The filmmakers will each assemble a small production team to conceive, shoot and edit a short film during a 48-hour period within the five-day length of the fest. A winner, chosen by audiences during a special screening, will receive a Panasonic camera package. “It’s instant gratification in the best sense of the word,” adds Kasell.
One of the filmmakers signed on is Marty Sader, writer-director of “Most High,” a first feature that took home the Golden Starfish Narrative Award at last year’s Hamptons fest. Currently prepping his next feature, Sader sees the minifilm endeavor as a way “to sharpen up my senses a little before then.”
Ryan Eslinger, who won the Alfred P. Sloan Award at the 2003 Hamptons fest for his first feature, “Madness and Genius,” is another confirmed participant. Similarly, Eslinger hopes the project will help get his juices flowing before he undertakes his next feature, “When a Man Falls in the Forest,” featuring Sharon Stone, slated to begin production in January.
Eslinger adds that the project will be a big departure from his natural process. “Cramming is not generally something I like to do. … I prefer to work slowly and methodically.”
“With so many unfinished long-term projects on the plate, the idea of being forced to finish something in a finite amount of time is very appealing,” says participant Savannah Haske, one of the Rising Stars at last year’s Hamptons fest.
In the past, the actress-director reflects, she’s never been comfortable with improvisational work. “Yet it’s turned out surprisingly well when I’ve been forced into it,” she says.
The fourth confirmed participant is Greg Pak, a past screenwriting award winner for “Robot Stories” and student winner at the Hamptons.