2013 WFA 48-Hour Film Challenge FAQ

AwardHere are answers to your frequently asked questions about our 48-Hour Film Challenge


Eventbrite - Winter Film Awards 48-Hour Film Challenge

What makes up a team?
A team can have as many people as you’d like – there are no set numbers on a team. Most teams have between 4 and 10 members, including actors, writers, editors and directors.

What if I don’t have any assigned actors? How can I find actors?
There are many actor communities on Facebook, plus Craigslist, Meetup Groups and sites like We recommend you ask actors you’re interested in to send their resume, headshot and reel and take it from there.

I’d really like to join a team. How do I find one?
Consider joining a local Facebook Group or Meetup Group such as NYC Filmmakers Actors Collective to find teammates. In addition, Winter Film Awards will create a discussion thread on our website for people seeking a team to talk to each other and form teams. WFA will not be able to assign you to teams.

How much is it to join this challenge?
It is FREE to take part in the Challenge and to vote for Fan Favorite. Attending the screening will be $5 per person.

Do I need to register in advance?
We are limiting entries to the Challenge to just THIRTY Teams. To ensure you get a spot, you should pre-register your team in advance via EventBrite

Can I register late?
Registration for the Challenge opens at 8pm on Friday December 6. Teams who have pre-registered via EventBrite will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis. At 10pm, we will open registration to our Waitlist. All teams must be registered by 11pm on Friday night.

Can SAG actors participate?
SAG actors may participate, but the responsibility will be on the members of the team to contact SAG directly and submit any necessary forms. The Winter Film Awards organization is not involved in this process.

How do I prepare for the Challenge?
The only work to begin prior to the Official 48 Hour Time Period is: organizing your crew, interviewing and organizing your cast, securing whatever equipment you need and scouting/securing potential locations

I don’t live in the NYC area. Can I still take part in the Challenge remotely?
Your team must be able to come to New York City to register in-person for the Challenge and must have access to New York City over the course of the Challenge.

Who can be the team captain?
Each team must select a team captain, to represent your team. Anyone from the team can be designated to be team captain. Team captain will be responsible for ensuring the team behaves responsibly and safely while involved in this Challenge, all waivers are filled in as needed and that the resulting film meets all Challenge rules.

Who is responsible for equipment used?
Each team will be fully responsible for any equipment used for the making of their film. All precautions should be taken by each team to secure equipment used for shooting the film. The Winter Film Awards will not be held liable.

What can I do with my film after the Challenge?
Now that you have a complete short film, you can share it with the world. You are free to submit it to any film festivals you like. It is not mandatory but it would be nice to keep us posted on any acceptances of your film so we can promote it on our website.

Can I post my film on YouTube, Vimeo or other Film sites?
After the screening on December 14 2013, you are welcome to post your film anywhere you would like.  However, during the voting period from Dec 8-14 2013, your film will be posted on the Winter Film Awards YouTube channel and you may not post it on other sites.

What does my story have to be about?
At the beginning of the challenge, each team will be given a a prop that must be used in your film, a one-sentence tagline that must be said (or sung) verbatim and a genre that you will need to stay within. Other than that, you may create any story you like.

Can I include sex, drugs and violence in my film?
Please keep your entries to the standards applied to a PG-13 rating.

What are the possible Genres?
You will be assigned one of the following genres.  If your genre has multiple options, you may choose one or combine them (such as Romantic Comedy or Western Musical)

  1. Action, Spy or Cop
  2. Thriller or Suspense
  3. Horror, Slasher, Monster or Zombie
  4. Western or Musical
  5. Romance or Comedy
  6. Teen, College or High School
  7. Science Fiction

When do I get the Prop, Tagline and Genre?
Each team will be given a Prop, Tagline and Genre when the team representative arrives at the Winter Film Awards offices at 12 Desbrosses Street at 8pm on December 6 2013

Can we switch our Prop, Tagline and Genre?
You may not switch your Prop, Tagline and Genre once assigned.

Do I have to use the Prop, Tagline and Genre?
To qualify as an “Official 48-Hour Film Challenge Entry,” each group’s film must be in the genre it is assigned and must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

  • The required Prop must be seen on-screen.
  • The required Line of Dialogue must be used verbatim. It may be spoken, sung and/or written. It may be in any language, though if it is unclear that it is the required Line, there must be a translation.

Are we allowed to have footage under our closing credits?
Yes, however, the narrative must end before the closing credits begin. So outtakes, Ferris-Bueller-like antics, or bonus scenes are allowed. But it still should be 7 minutes or under.

What elements must the film include?
Before the finished film begins, the film must have:

How about Credits?

  • Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 30 seconds. The 30 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 30 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 7:30 minutes.)
  • Opening credits are considered to be part of the film, and therefore count against the seven minute maximum.
  • The end credits must include the words: “Created for The Winter Film Awards 48-Hour Film Challenge 2013 –

Do I need a Location Release to shoot on public property?
No, but you may need a permit. We do not require you to prove to us that you received a permit, but you may be stopped from shooting or even fined if you do not have one. Please check with your local film commissioner. The contest recommends that you use locations you have access to and have permission to do so. It is always recommended to get all permission in writing just to be on the safe side.

What about Music?
Participating groups are encouraged to work with a local composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them.

Note: Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the film without a signed release from the composition’s rights holder. This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes “fair use” under US or international copyright law.

Do I need releases from the talent, crew, music, art or location?
Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, art, music and locations (and any other applicable releases), which must be held onto by the Team Leader.

Click to download Releases:

Who can Participate in this contest?
Anyone can participate in this contest. You can be an aspiring filmmaker or it can be the first time you pick up a camera. Same with people on your team, including actors. Although we recommend you look for people who take filmmaking seriously, you’ll find they have more passion and you will need that for the hard work that needs to be put in for that weekend. So put your best efforts forward in building a good solid team and get to making a good film.

Do I need fancy film equipment to shoot my film?
Your film can be shot on whatever equipment you’d like, including a smartphone.

How will the winner be determined?
A diverse panel of experienced industry professionals will judge the films.

How many winners for this challenge?
There will be one BEST PICTURE winner which will result in a prize. FAN FAVORITE award and prizes will be awarded to the film that received the most YouTube “Likes” and in-person ballots at the screening. In addition, the Challenge Sponsor will select a film to receive a special award and the WFA team will select the team they think most deserving of an Honorary Award using whatever criteria we want.

What is the FAN FAVORITE Award?
A Fan Favorite award is an opportunity for the audience to decide which film they like best. It is completely independent of the industry panel. All submitted films will be posted to the Winter Film Awards YouTube page and will be open for “Likes” from Monday December 9 at 9am through Saturday December 14 at 12pm

Fan Favorite votes will be the sum of:

  • YouTube likes on the WFA YouTube page
  • Ballots cast in person at the screening on December 14

Can I use any footage from an old film that I did before for this challenge?
You may not use footage shot prior to the start of the Challenge. Anyone found not following these rules may be eliminated. Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the 48 hour time period; however, stills created outside of the official 48 hour time period may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

Is animation allowed?
Yes, if it is created within the time frame of the challenge.

How will others see my film?
After we receive your film, we will than upload it to our channel on Youtube. A link will be sent to you, so that they can share it with your friends and ask for “Likes”. We will also link to the channel on our Facebook Page and Website.  After the screening on December 14 2013, you may repost your film anywhere you’d like.

Who owns my film? Who can show it?
Entrants retain full ownership and copyrights to their Submission. However, by entering the Contest, entrants grant WFA and our Challenge Sponsor a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Submission, in any media formats through any media channels.

How long does the film have to be?
The film has to be a minimum of 2 minutes and a maximum of 7 mins plus an additional up to 30 seconds for credits. So any outtakes or bonus scenes are allowed during credits, but when the combined, the entire film must not exceed 7 mins plus 30 seconds for credits.

How do I submit my film on December 8?
WFA will email you a link to our DROPBOX account.  You must upload your film to Dropbox within exactly 48 Hours of your sign in time.

You must also fill in the TEAM INFORMATION form online by deadline.

What file formats should my film be?
Completed films should be in one of the following formats:  MP4, MOV, AVI, WMA, MKV

Which films will be screened on December 14?
Completed films that meet minimum criteria for eligibility will be screened on Saturday December 14. WFA Jury may choose to exclude films for screening if we feel that the content is inappropriate or offensive. In addition, in some cases, WFA may choose to screen films that did not complete by deadline but we find awesome none-the-less. However, films that miss deadline are not eligible for awards.

When will the winner be determined?
The winner will be chosen by the industry panel of judges. Each judge will score each film on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) against 6 categories, including Acting, Directing, Cinematography, Story, Sound, Originality and Creativity. The highest total score wins. The BEST PICTURE and FAN FAVORITE and other winners will be announced following the public screening on December 14. The announcement will be presented on our Facebook page, on our website at, Press Releases and an email announcement will be sent to all participants and audience members.

  1. I’d like to attend. How do I go about registering and paying the $10?

  2. Are you looking to take part in the Challenge or attend the screening?
    To take part in the Challenge, there is no charge, but you must pre-register.
    For the screening, we will open up ticket sales in about a week plus will be accepting cash at the door.

  3. I’d just like to attend the screening. Thanks, I will purchase the tickets when they become available.

  4. Hello! I’d like to apply for the challenge, however I was late on pre-registered online, I’m now on waiting list, anyway me and my team can still get in the challenge? Thank you.

    • The challenge is capped at 30 teams, and we are full. However, chances are very likely that at least a few of those teams will drop out before Friday. If someone drops out (and lets us know) before Friday, we will go through the Wait List on EventBrite in request order and invite teams.

      Else, you should come over to our offices on Friday night at around 8pm. All of the pre-registered teams need to sign in by 10pm. If any don’t show up by then, we will release their spots to the waiting list.

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