The 48 Hour Film Project challenges Inland Empire Filmmakers, while bringing opportunity to the region

Photo Sam Rodriguez: 48hr Film Fest - Inland Empire Participants Colin George-Babb and Odin Contreras discussing a shot from their horror film.

The 48 Hour Film Project – Inland Empire kicked off on Friday, October 8 at San Bernardino Valley College’s Film, Television, and Media Department (FTVM), where filmmakers drew a short-film genre out of a bag with their eyes closed.

All 19 filmmaking teams were also tasked with elements that were required to be featured in their short film including a character named Trent or Tina Tyler; featuring a marker as a prop, and implementing “Don’t tell me to shut up” into the script.

“The teams only have 48 hours to make a 4-7 minute film. Most find the biggest challenge is sheer endurance because you don’t get much sleep over the weekend. This year, there were a lot of first-timers so anything and everything went wrong. Actors didn’t show, gear was dropped in water, computers crashed and they lost their whole project, this happened to one team and they had to restart to edit their movie in two hours to get it turned in on time,” said 48 Hour Film Inland Empire Producer Kevin Lyons.

So yes, in literally 48 hours, all teams cast, wrote, shot, scored, edited and exported their entire projects.

Photo Manny Sandoval: One representative from each of the 19 teams at SBVC on Friday, October 8 excitedly anticipating to draw a film genre ahead of the 48 hour competition.

One team that held resilience in the face of adversity was a group called Prism Production.

“Our team was small but solid. As we worked diligently, we were confident that we would have a solid piece to submit to the film competition. But that changed when our computer decided to crash, and we lost all of our project files halfway through finishing the project. We almost gave up at one point, but our team leader Odin Contreras used all his energy to get us out of trouble and edited everything again from scratch in the two remaining hours before the deadline. The process was genuinely stressful, but at least we learned to always backup project files,” said FTVM Multimedia Specialist & Participant Sam Rodriguez.

Many participants felt that this project is a great way to not only gain more experience but to come back next year even more seasoned.

“The 48hr Film Project is a great way to practice your craft; it’s also a great team-building activity. It’s really what you do when you make a film, you’re under a budget and time constraints. You commit to a script, break it down and then you go into production where you block, light, rehearse, and shoot. Hopefully, you get all the coverage you need so the post-production process goes smooth,” continued Lyons.

Photo Sam Rodriguez: Team Prism Production defied all the odds during the weekend filled with complications and setbacks, but nonetheless successfully submitted their short film after their computer crashed while editing.

The 48hr Film Project is not only a community event in the Inland Empire, it’s also held in places like New York City and even Paris.

“As we kick off the 20th year of the 48hr Film Project…I’m happy to announce that this year, our competition is being held in 204 cities around the world and as of today, over 62,000 films have been created. Good luck to each team that is here today and have fun,” said 48hr Film Project Founder Mark Ruppert.

There are many reasons why initiatives like the 48hr Film Project are important to regions like the Inland Empire, one being that it provides an equal opportunity to showcase the talent outside of big cities like Los Angeles.

“Having the 48 Hr Film Project in the Inland Empire is an opportunity to promote that the Inland Empire has the resources, talent, and locations needed to make any project come to fruition. Earlier in 2020, when I first moved from Los Angeles to San Bernardino, I was immediately shocked after a friend introduced me to many of the beautiful locations that the Inland Empire has to offer,” continued Rodriguez.

“Immediately I started envisioning all the great films that I would produce one day. My only hope is that local governments and public officials will invest more time in bringing “Hollywood” to the Inland Empire. This can be done by sponsoring scholarships for filmmakers, sponsoring small student productions, and supporting all community colleges that educate the filmmakers of tomorrow,” concluded Rodriguez.

All 19 short films were shown on the big screen at Look Cinemas in Redlands on October 14th and The Best of Screening Awards Ceremony will be held on October 22 at the San Bernardino Valley College Auditorium.

Sponsors of the 48hr Film Project – Inland Empire include San Bernardino Valley College Institute of Media Arts, Inland Empire Film Services, Riverside County Film Commission, Big Bear Lake Film Office, Temecula Film Office, and Look Dine-In Cinemas.

Congratulations to audience favorites Corpus Delicti by Theater Smoke Productions and Jack Sinclair and the Murder Machine by PST Productions. For more information, visit