The 2012 48 Hour Film Project is over for the year. All the coffee’s been drunk, the costumes packed up, the cameras back in use on films that don’t have to be completed in two short, frenzied days.

And for the Portland producer of this year’s 48, Allen Baldwin, was it all worthwhile?

“Um ” hesitates the local filmmaker.

“Well, it was a lot more work than I thought,” he finally says. “Fun and rewarding, though, to finally get the movies up there. I really do feel it’s a valuable community event, so it was definitely worth my while to make it happen.”

For the unfamiliar, the international 48 Hour Film Project attracts teams of intrepid/foolhardy filmmakers and gives them just a weekend to write, direct and edit a finished short film.

And just because that’s too easy, each team is given a prop (this year: a brush), a character (this time: Sharon or Sherman Shatternick, who must be an artist of some kind) and a line of dialogue (“I have no choice”), all of which must be included in the film. Plus, just to be mean, each team is assigned their film’s genre.

Of course, this begs the question, “Why do this again?”

“It’s a way to stay in the public eye and keep your hands dirty,” says Baldwin, who has participated in several 48s before taking over this year. “That’s why everyone gets into making movies: To make them. And then you get older and find that TV commercials pay better, so you find a way to make a living. The 48 is a good way to get back to the beginning.”

As for this year’s teams, Baldwin was impressed. Out of the 26 entrants, only two didn’t make it to the finish line, and the rest included an eclectic lineup of “a puppet film, two musicals and a movie made by a team of 17-year-old kids,” among others.

And while this year’s winners won’t be announced until the awards show later this month (check 48hourfilm/com/en/portland_maine or this column for details), Baldwin has lined up some impressive local judges, including the director of the Maine Film Office, Portland leading man Erik Moody (“Ragged Isle”) and Videoport fixture James Cagney IV.

But apart from awards and stress-induced creativity, Baldwin says the whole 48 Hour project is a vital link between Maine’s filmmaking community and the public, who turned out in encouraging numbers for last week’s screenings at the St. Lawrence Arts Center.

“It’s something I stress at every screening: This is a community event that keeps all of us in touch,” he said. “Seeing the new filmmakers, keeping the scene alive and vibrant, and reminding people there’s good stuff being made in Portland all the time so they can reach out beyond what’s in the big theaters and give local a chance.”

Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.

 

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