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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.

The clock is ticking down to the 2008 Greensboro 48-Hour Film Project, but you’ve still got time to assemble a crack team (or a cracked team) of local filmmakers and join in the filmic fun. This year’s festival already has more than 30 teams raring to go… but there’s always room for one more, or two more, or three….

The name of the event says it all. Filmmakers have 48 hours in which to script, shoot, edit and submit their films. Given the breakneck pace with which these films are made, some don’t turn out quite as intended. Others turn out better than expected. That’s part of the fun. The intent of the 48-Hour Film Project (which was inaugurated in 2001 in Washington, DC) is to encourage filmmakers and spur their creativity.

The kick-off party 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 participating will receive the specific genre of film they are to make, as well as the necessary character name, prop and line of dialogue that must be included in the film. The registration fee is $155, and you can enter right up until the last minute – but you (or someone on your team) must be at the kick-off party. How else can you get your genre?

Drop-off for 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. Some filmmakers have grumbled about it in years past, but them’s the rules. (And some of those grumbling filmmakers may well be participating again this year!)

Screenings of the films will take place June 28 at the Carolina Theatre (310 S. Greene St.), and the wrap party is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. June 29 at the Greene Street Club. Specific screening times for June 28 will be announced after it is determined how many films qualify. The wrap party, of course, is where the winning films will be announced – usually after a few drinks to steady the nerves.

Last year, some 30,000 filmmakers participated in 48-Hour Film Projects in 55 cities around the world. This year, more than 70 cities are already on board.

Last year, of course, the Greensboro 48-Hour Film Project hit new heights when the winning film, the Keene Collaboration’s production of “JoBeth,” was selected to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival last month. (Hell, YES! Weekly even ran a cover story on it!)

Now, there’s no guarantee you’ll wind up going to the Cannes Film Festival with your film, even if it wins the top prize. But, after last year, who knows? Stranger things have happened. Could anyone have predicted that “JoBeth” would go from Greensboro to Cannes?

Yesterday, Cannes… tomorrow, Sundance.

Once again, Suzan McGee and Mindy Scott are acting as the festival’s executive producers, having made their debut as a duo last year. And again the festival has aimed high in selecting jurors for this year’s event. 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 in deliberation. (Maybe this year I’ll get it right!)

Joining me will be Dale Pollock, former dean of the NCSA School of Filmmaking, current faculty member, himself a producer of feature films (The Mighty Quinn, A Midnight Clear, Set It Off), and the author of the definitive tome on filmmaker George Lucas, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas.

For more information, see48hourfilm.com/greensboro/

If you’re more a fan of watching movies than making them, the Revolve Film and Music Festival will present the North Carolina premiere of Blake Van der Graaf’s award-winning independent comedy Sidekick, which will be screened 8 p.m. on Friday in 111 Carswell Hall on the campus of Wake Forest University.

The film, which won the festival prize at the 2005 Eureka Springs Digital Film Festival and the audience award at the 2006 Canadian Filmmakers’ Festival, levels its satiric gaze at the notion of superheroes and hero worship in general. Perry Mucci stars as as Norman, a computer geek who discovers that Vince (David Ingram), a popular co-worker, possesses telekinetic powers. For Norman, this is a dream come true – a chance to train someone with “super powers” and become their sidekick.

But, like they said in another superhero movie, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And the cocky Vince just might be the most irresponsible superhero wannabe imaginable. Will Norman create a hero or a monster? Mackenzie Lush, Julian Osen and Daniel Baldwin co-star in the film, which is not rated.

Tickets are available online at revolvefestival.com until 5 p.m. day of show. Tickets are $8 (advance) and $10 (day of show, if available). For more information about the festival, just check out the website listed above.

To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com

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