2016 WFA 48-Hour Film Challenge FAQ

WFA 2016 48-Hr Film Challenge

Challenge Overview About the Challenge Frequently Asked Questions Official Rules Team Information

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

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.
48Hrs Register

How much is it to join this challenge?
It is $10 per team to register to take part in the Challenge. It is FREE to vote for Fan Favorite. Attending the screening will be $5 per person.

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.

Can I register late?
Registration for the Challenge opens at 8pm on Friday June 3. Teams who have pre-registered will be signed-in on a first-come, first-served basis. At 10pm, we will open registration to our Waitlist. All teams must be signed in 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.  Some props may require that you 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 official public screening, you are welcome to post your film anywhere you would like. However, during the voting period from June 5-10, 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 if you are feeling particularly creative (such as Zombie Musical or Romantic Comedy)

  1. Buddy Film or Chick Flick
  2. Cop or Spy
  3. Horror or Slasher or Monster
  4. Martial Arts or Super Hero
  5. Romance or Comedy
  6. Thriller / Suspense or Film Noir
  7. Western
  8. Science Fiction
  9. Zombie or Musical

When do I get the Prop, Tagline and Genre?
Each team will be given a Prop, Tagline and Genre when the team representative signs in at the Winter Film Awards offices at 31 West 34th Street, 8th floor at 8pm on June 3 2016

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:

  • 5 seconds of black
  • A title card with: team name, title, genre
  • A title card with the WFA and sponsor logos which will be provided to you when the Challenge begins
  • 2 seconds of black
  • Your film

How about Credits?

  • Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 30 seconds. The 30 seconds is considered part of the length of the film. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, including up to 30 seconds of credits)
  • Opening credits are considered to be part of the film, and also count against the seven minute maximum.
  • The end credits must include the words: “Created for The Winter Film Awards 48-Hour Film Challenge 2016 –

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). All releases are to be filled in online. Upon submit, a copy of the form will be emailed to the team leader and WFA. There is no need to print these out.

Click to fill in 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”, social media points 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 Tuesday June 7 at 9am through to 6 hours before the public screening.

Fan Favorite votes will be the sum of:

  • YouTube likes on the WFA YouTube page (1 point per “Like” or “Dislike”)
  • Social Media (1 point per posting with WFA and team hashtags, see below)
  • Ballots cast in person at the public screening (25 points per vote)

Social media points can be earned by:

  • 1 point per tweet or Facebook posting using the #WFA48 hashtag, WFA URL ( and your team name (so we know which team to credit!).  All three items must be present!
  • … 1 extra point if your tweet or post includes a photo of your team at work
  • … 5 extra points if your tweet or post includes a video of your team at work
  • … 1 extra point if your photo or video include the Challenge prop
  • ….1 extra point if you include an @mention of a WFA48 sponsor

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 public screening, 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 including 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.

How do I submit my film on June 5?
You must arrive at our offices to hand in your film and signed waivers by exactly 48 hours after your official 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 at the Public Screening?
Completed films that meet minimum criteria for eligibility will be screened at a local venue. 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 several categories, including Use of Prop, Use of Tagline, Creativity, Adherence to Rules, Acting and Originality. The highest total score wins. The BEST PICTURE and FAN FAVORITE and other winners will be announced following the public screening. 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.

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