48 Hour Film Project Awards

Well, it’s all over but the prize-winner screening—and that’s tonight, Aug. 3 at 9:30 p.m. at Asheville Pizza and Brewing (675 Merrimon Ave.). Once again, Marcianne Miller, James Cassara and I were called in as judges for the 48 Hour Film Project. And once again, after a great deal of discussion—but only one threat of actual violence that I recall—we arrived at a consensus, resulting in the list of categories and films below.

If memory of previous years serves, there were fewer films this year (I think there were three sets last year, rather than two), but this didn’t seem to affect the quality. Personally, I’m always surprised that anyone can actually turn out a coherent film in 48 hours. That anyone can turn out a good film in that time is little short of amazing.

A couple of things that don’t necessarily come across in the awards struck me this year. First and foremost was the strong imagery that pervaded most of the films. These—more than I recall in other years—were shot with a keen eye for color and, in many cases, a knack for coming up with locations (let’s face it, it’s unlikely anyone built or painted much in the way of sets for these). Strong and striking use of color was more often in evidence than not—though I’d definitely say the best of these were The First Apple, Let It Go and, most especially Lost Cowboy. These elements even turned up in movies that didn’t get awards (The Sleepover Story comes immediately to mind).

The approach to genre assignment was also interesting. I’ve wondered before why people landing the “silent film” genre don’t take advantage of the fact that, really, they’ve hit the jackpot. Why? Well, it’s simple—“silent film” isn’t a genre so much as it is a form, and within its boundaries any genre you choose can be made to work—not to mention that amateur actors tend to come off better if they don’t talk. (Well, I guess musicals might be a tough sell, but I can think of ways you might get around that, too.) Don’t get me wrong, I like The Big Apple Surprise—and I like it for the very reason that it successfully emulates Mack Sennett-style silent comedy. It even understands the early silent film approach of the nailed-down camera. But at the same time, I greatly admired the fact that Scavenge tried to use the form in a different way—they just made the film they wanted without dialogue. (Roman Polanski, who always felt short films shouldn’t have dialogue, would approve.)

Best Film:  The First Apple by Team UNCA (Romance)

Best Directing: Kira Bursky, Let It Go by All Around Artsy (Detective/Cop)

Best Writing: Be Careful Who You Fix For by The Foolhardy Productions (Fantasy)

Best Editing: Timothy Rudisill, Scavenge by Blue Ridge Community College (Silent Film)
Honorable Mention: Greg Herman, Yardbird by More Chi Black Mountain (Horror)

Best Actor: Dave Bowers, Padz: Evil Edition, by Team Moontower (Mockumentary)
Best Actress: Gina Angel, My Miss Appleton by Team 9 (Romance)

Best Cinematography: Brian Wilson, Lost Cowboy by SR Films (Musical/Western)

Best Sound Design: Let It Go by All Around Artsy (Detective/Cop)

Best Use of Character (Tommy or Tina Darnes, Mechanic): Matt Shepard, BUMP by YA Productions (Thriller/Suspense)
Holly Milch, Be Careful Who You Fix For by The Foolhardy Productions (Fantasy)

Best Use of Prop (an apple): Be Careful Who You Fix For by The Foolhardy Productions (Fantasy)

Honorable Mention: Free Fall by 10, 9, 8… Productions (Dark Comedy)

Best Use of Line of Dialogue (“Don’t be so sure.”): Scavenge by Blue Ridge Community College (Silent Film)

Best Graphics: Yeager St. John, The First Apple by Team UNCA (Romance)

Best Special Effects: Erica Mueller, Yardbird by More Chi Black Mountain (Horror)

Best Musical Score: Christina Johnson and Colin Savoy Be Careful Who You Fix For by The Foolhardy Productions (Fantasy)

Best Choreography: Tony Pate, Jason Ledford, Bill Buscemi, Russ Smith The Big Apple Surprise by Prophets of Time (Silent Film)
Honorable Mention: Padz: Evil Edition by Team Moontower (Mockumentary)

Best Costumes: Tom Boy by Twin Path Productions (Coming of Age)
Honorable Mention: The Adventures of Lost Guy by Dee Snuts (Adventure/Serial)

And a few categories invented by the judges:

Best Use of Genre: The Fix by Kusteberg Films (Coming of Age)

Best Use of Location: Padz: Evil Edition by Team Moontower (Mockumentary)

Best Song: The Adventures of Lost Guy by Dee Snuts (Adventure/Serial)


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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13 thoughts on “48 Hour Film Project Awards

  1. So, The First Apple directed itself, did it?

    In all seriousness, thanks for posting the YouTube links so I can check out some of these shorts.

    And is anyone surprised Brian Wilson would be involved with a musical? Of course he is.

  2. Ken Hanke

    I was hoping other people would post links to the movies. The ones in the article were all I had or could find.

  3. The Sleepover Story was incredible along with Lobster Trick Films!!! What Happened to Lobster Trick Films I know they had sci fi and throughout there short I was an AWE! Same goes for TSS.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Without knowing the name of their film, I can’t tell you if it was even in the ones we were given to judge.

  5. Laradactyl


    Lobster Trick’s film was awesome! They submitted late, though, so they weren’t seen by the judges.

  6. Ken Hanke

    I had a feeling that must have been the case, since it seemed likely I would remember that name.

  7. Sorry Ken, the name is slipping my mind, but if their film would have been “legal” they would have ran away with the whole thing for sure. I deff wouldn’t have gotten the “Best Cinematography” award

  8. Iraj

    I think you sell yourself short, SurfRobot. I see why you got the cinematography award, though it wasn’t classically “precision”and clean shots that one might expect in Hollywood. I enjoyed the visuals in your film and it just stood out and had lots of texture and contrasting elements. Besides, you got those actors underwater and filmed them in an interesting way. Lobster trick’s movie was very nice looking too, I must say. I thought they were the main competition till I heard they had come in late.

  9. Ken Hanke

    The question in my mind is whether the Lobster Trick film is going to be put online…

  10. briank.heller

    I was part of Team Lobstertrick, and we were late in submitting due to an issue with exporting Final Cut Pro files onto our USB drive. We almost did not get a screening of our film at all, so it was a win that it was seen by anyone other than us. We had a good time, and enjoyed the experience!

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