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Fanboy Comics Interviews Leanne Westphal of the Los Angeles 48-Hour Film Project

The following is an interview with Leanne Westphal, Festival Director of Los Angeles’ 48-Hour Film Project. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Dillon chats with Westphal about about how the festival came into existence, what makes Los Angeles’ festival unique from the others taking place in over 130 cities across the world, and how filmmakers interested in participating may apply!

Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: This year, the 48-Hour Film Project will visit 130 cities across the world with the challenge that teams must complete a short film in only 48 hours. What can you tell us about the 48-Hour Film Project, and how did it come into existence?

Leanne Westphal: The 48HFP is open to all – professionals, aspiring filmmakers and actors, and those who want to give it a try in a short, structured, and exciting way. The contest is part of a global competition in which teams compete for the chance to win a $5,000 grand prize and the opportunity to take their film to Hollywood and screen it at the Cannes International Film Festival’s Short Film Corner in 2016.

Here’s how it works: On Friday, August 7th, each team will draw a movie genre from a hat. They will also be assigned a character, prop, and line of dialogue that must be incorporated into their film. The teams then have 48 hours to write, direct, and shoot their film, which must be submitted on Sunday, August 9th, at 7:30 p.m. on the dot. The films, both on time and late, will all screen at the Regal Cinemas LA Live Theatre on August 19th, 20th, 24th, 25th with the “Best Of” Screening at the legendary Chinese Theater in Hollywood September 13th. The Los Angeles 48HFP winners receive national prizes of Movie Magic Screenwriting Software and Pond5 gift certificates.

Here’s a brief history in how the 48HFP began: In 2001, way back in the days even before flash drives and HD-quality video, Mark Ruppert and Liz Langston were making short films. Mark came up with a crazy idea – to make a film in 48 hours! They tried it and found that it was not only possible – it was exhilarating. The big question back then was . . . would films made in only 48 hours even be watchable? The answer was a resounding yes.

Now, over 30,000 films later, the 48-Hour Film Project has become a rite of passage for filmmakers around the world.

BD: What makes the Los Angeles Film Project unique, and how would you describe this year’s event, which will take place from August 7-9?

LW: The Los Angeles 48-Hour Film Project has grown to be the largest 48-Hour Film Project city in North America and is home to some of the best, up-and-coming filmmakers in Hollywood competing each year. Over 2,000 filmmakers race through the streets of Los Angeles to make a short film in 48 hours, and we are successfully growing in prestige and popularity each. We have had celebrity actors in our LA 48HFP films, successful directors and crew, as well as an iconic panel of prestigious judges who fastidiously analyze the films of our LA 48HFP filmmakers. One of our past filmmakers was approached by one of our judges who has produced major blockbuster films to direct one of his upcoming movies. Another judge who is a highly successful Casting Director spotted talent in one of our LA 48HFP films and called her in for a big feature film audition. Our most recent success story is that one of our award-winning films from last year is currently being developed as a feature film by a major studio in LA. Competing in the LA 48HFP is truly a launching pad for Los Angeles filmmakers and the opportunities are endless.

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We welcome both amateur and highly skilled filmmakers to compete in one of the most prestigious 48HFP cities in the world and earn the chance for their work to be seen by high-level industry movers and shakers.

Plus, for the first time ever, we are hosting our “Best Of” Los Angeles Awards Screening and Ceremony at the iconic Chinese Theaters in Hollywood. This is the year for filmmakers to take on the challenge and compete in the Los Angeles 48 Hour Film Project.

BD: What is your role in the 48-Hour Film Project, and will you have a chance to interact with the filmmakers in advance of or during their creative process?

LW: I have been the Festival Director for the Los Angeles 48 Hour Film Project for the past four years, and, since that time, the festival has grown to be the largest timed film competition and festival in Los Angeles and in North America. My husband and I started out as competitors in the Los Angeles 48HFP and actually won “Best Film” of LA in 2010. Our award winning film, “Casting Call,” earned a spot at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, a dream come true for any filmmaker. We have seen the many benefits of competing in the LA 48HFP and all the many doors it can open for filmmakers.

As Festival Director, it is a true joy to bring our filmmakers together and build a community among our competitors throughout the entire LA 48HFP competition and festival. I am actively involved with the participants during registration, our festival pre-competition parties, workshops, as well as the through the filmmaking weekend. Being a past competitor, I know what our filmmakers are going through each step of their journey. I make it my job to provide constant support during the entire 48-hour filmmaking window and be their biggest cheerleader on the sidelines to get their film made successfully and on time.

BD: The 48-Hour Film Project is currently accepting submissions from teams who would like to participate in this year’s project. What is required from teams who wish to enter, and what should they anticipate as they take on this exciting journey?

LW: To compete in the LA 48HFP, you need to register. Filmmakers can save $20 during Early Bird Registration, which is open now through July 13th. We have been known to fill up before Early Bird is completed, so we highly encourage teams to sign up ASAP and secure their spot in the competition and festival. Early Bird Registration is $140 but jumps up to $160 for Regular Registration on July 14th, so the time to register is now.

The LA 48HFP experience is unmatched. Here are our top ten reasons to compete in the Los Angeles 48 Hour Film Project in 2015:

1. You will be competing in one of the most prestigious 48HFP cities in the world!
2. You will get to broaden your network with the potential cast and crew that you meet at our LA48HFP events.
3. You have the opportunity to have amazing professional talent in your film, including SAG-AFTRA actors.
4. You will have a finished film in 48 hours and another credit to your resume.
5. Your film will play on the big screen at Regal Cinemas LA Live for all of your friends, family, and fans…bragging rights!!!
6. Your film will be judged by an elite panel of industry professionals!
7. For the first time ever, our “BEST OF” Los Angeles will be held at the legendary Chinese Theaters! This is the year to compete in the LA 48HFP!
8. You can submit your film to IMDB after it screens and get yourself a very much deserved IMDB credit for your cast and crew.
9. Your film, if chosen as the ‘best film’ from Los Angeles will get yourself into 48HFP international festival, “Filmapalooza” taking place in either Hollywood or Paris in 2016.
10. If chosen as one of the top films from Filmapalooza, your film will earn a spot to screen at the legendary Cannes Festival, May 2016.

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BD: In past years, there have been screenings of the films following the 48 hours of production. Will that be the case this year, and where will the screenings take place?

LW: One of the best parts of competing in the 48HFP is that every film turned in, whether on time or late will screen. And, what makes competing in the Los Angeles 48-Hour Film Project such an awesome city to participate in is that we screen all of our films at the beautiful Regal Cinemas at LA Live. Screenings for the 2015 LA 48HFP will take place on August 19th, 20th, 24th, and 25th with the ‘Best Of’ Los Angeles Awards Screening and Ceremony at the legendary Chinese Theater in Hollywood September 13th.

BD: Lastly, where can our listeners find more information about the 48-Hour Film Project?

LW: Information about the Los Angeles 48-Hour Film Project can be found on our website, If there are any questions or inquiries, please email me at la (at) 48hourfilm (dot) com


We have a large filmmaker community on our social media channels, so be sure to check those out and join our awesome group of filmmakers!

Twitter: @LosAngeles48HFP
Instagram: la48hfp

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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