Just when you thought it was safe to make a movie again…

by Mark Burger

It’s that time again, and time’s a-wasting. Theclock is ticking down to the 2008 Greensboro 48-Hour Film Project, butyou’ve still got time to assemble a crack team (or a cracked team) oflocal filmmakers and join in the filmic fun. This year’s festivalalready has more than 30 teams raring to go… but there’s always roomfor one more, or two more, or three…. The name of the eventsays it all. Filmmakers have 48 hours in which to script, shoot, editand submit their films. Given the breakneck pace with which these filmsare made, some don’t turn out quite as intended. Others turn out betterthan expected. That’s part of the fun. The intent of the 48-Hour FilmProject (which was inaugurated in 2001 in Washington, DC) is toencourage filmmakers and spur their creativity. The kick-offparty is this Friday at the Greene Street Club (113 N. Greene St.,Greensboro) from 6 to 7 p.m. It is there that the teams participatingwill receive the specific genre of film they are to make, as well asthe necessary character name, prop and line of dialogue that must beincluded in the film. The registration fee is $155, and you can enterright up until the last minute – but you (or someone on your team) mustbe at the kick-off party. How else can you get your genre? Drop-offfor films will be on Sunday at the Green Burro (106 W. McGee St.,Greensboro) by 7:30 p.m. That deadline will be strictly observed. Somefilmmakers have grumbled about it in years past, but them’s the rules.(And some of those grumbling filmmakers may well be participating againthis year!) Screenings of the films will take place June 28 atthe Carolina Theatre (310 S. Greene St.), and the wrap party isscheduled for 6-10 p.m. June 29 at the Greene Street Club. Specificscreening times for June 28 will be announced after it is determinedhow many films qualify. The wrap party, of course, is where the winningfilms will be announced – usually after a few drinks to steady thenerves. Last year, some 30,000 filmmakers participated in48-Hour Film Projects in 55 cities around the world. This year, morethan 70 cities are already on board. Last year, of course, theGreensboro 48-Hour Film Project hit new heights when the winning film,the Keene Collaboration’s production of "JoBeth," was selected to beshown at the Cannes Film Festival last month. (Hell, YES! Weekly evenran a cover story on it!) Now, there’s no guarantee you’ll windup going to the Cannes Film Festival with your film, even if it winsthe top prize. But, after last year, who knows? Stranger things havehappened. Could anyone have predicted that "JoBeth" would go fromGreensboro to Cannes? Yesterday, Cannes… tomorrow, Sundance. Onceagain, Suzan McGee and Mindy Scott are acting as the festival’sexecutive producers, having made their debut as a duo last year. Andagain the festival has aimed high in selecting jurors for this year’sevent. Needless to say, they’ve asked if I’d like to do it again. So,indeed, yours truly will be among the "angry men" sitting indeliberation. (Maybe this year I’ll get it right!) Joining mewill be Dale Pollock, former dean of the NCSA School of Filmmaking,current faculty member, himself a producer of feature films (The MightyQuinn, A Midnight Clear, Set It Off), and the author of the definitivetome on filmmaker George Lucas, Skywalking: The Life and Films ofGeorge Lucas. For more information, Ifyou’re more a fan of watching movies than making them, the Revolve Filmand Music Festival will present the North Carolina premiere of BlakeVan der Graaf’s award-winning independent comedy Sidekick, which willbe screened 8 p.m. on Friday in 111 Carswell Hall on the campus of WakeForest University. The film, which won the festival prize at the2005 Eureka Springs Digital Film Festival and the audience award at the2006 Canadian Filmmakers’ Festival, levels its satiric gaze at thenotion of superheroes and hero worship in general. Perry Mucci stars asas Norman, a computer geek who discovers that Vince (David Ingram), apopular co-worker, possesses telekinetic powers. For Norman, this is adream come true – a chance to train someone with "super powers" andbecome their sidekick. But, like they said in another superheromovie, "With great power comes great responsibility." And the cockyVince just might be the most irresponsible superhero wannabeimaginable. Will Norman create a hero or a monster? Mackenzie Lush,Julian Osen and Daniel Baldwin co-star in the film, which is not rated. Ticketsare available online at until 5 p.m. day of show.Tickets are $8 (advance) and $10 (day of show, if available). For moreinformation about the festival, just check out the website listed above.