Sci-Fi London Film Festival’s annual 48-hour film competition returns

Aug 17, 2022

What do David Hasselhoff (Baywatch), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) have in common? They have all taken part in the Sci-Fi London 48-Hour Film Challenge.

This August, Sci-Fi London Film Festival are once again launching their stellar, 14th annual, film competition. The 48-Hour Film Challenge takes place on the weekend of 10th September 2022 for filmmakers across the globe.

The event started in 2008 after Sci-Fi London festival’s director, Louis Savy, visited lots of different festivals and spoke to filmmakers – he kept asking “have you made a sci-fi movie?”. Mostly the answer was “we don’t have that kind of budget“.

Shane Carruth reportedly made Primer for $7000 – 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 a good sound mix. If you want to make Avatar, sure you need 200 million dollars, but you can make sci-fi with very little budget and VFX – for example, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The challenge’s first winner in 2008 was none other than filmmaker Gareth Edwards – with short film Factory Farmed. His debut feature, the multi-award-winning Monsters, was green-lit by Vertigo Films – after they saw his winning 48-hour short film and subsequently developed a feature with him.

Gareth’s subsequent films include Godzilla (2014) and Star Wars: Rogue One. Other previous winners have included Vince Knight, who directed Blue Season (2010), featuring a fresh-faced Daisy Ridley, and Oscar Sharp – director of It’s No Game (2017), starring David Hasselhoff.

The Format 

On the day of the challenge, they give the teams the title of the film they will make, some dialogue that one of the characters must say to screen, and a list of props that must be seen in the film. We also give an optional scientific/sci-fi theme or idea… this could include things like nano-tech, cloning, crypto or crispr… or something a little more “fringe”.

They then have until Monday morning to return the completed movie – written, shot and edited all within a weekend.

They don’t mind if you shoot the film on a mobile or a professional film kit. It can be animated, live-action, feature a cast of 1000s, or just your pets – it just needs to be a sci-fi story and be written and produced within the time limit.

They shortlist all the completed films and the top 10 films go in front of their industry jury.

This year the jury includes:

Elliot Grove – Founder and director of RAINDANCE
Christina Nowak – SMPTE board member and CINEGIRL ambassador
Simon Foster – Founder of Sydney Sci-Fi Film Festival
Sonya Pemberton – Award-winning Producer and science communicator
Two more jurors are yet to be confirmed.

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