48 Hour Film Challenge


3pm Friday 28 October – 3pm Sunday 30 October 

Join this challenge during the weekend of reading week and compete with your team to make the best short film in 48-hours!  

 The brief will be released at 3pm on Friday 28 October and is set by film maker and producer Richard Belfield – who will judge and give feedback on all submissions. You have until Sunday 30 October to write, film and edit your short films.  

 Sign up here by Wednesday 26 October. You can sign up as a team or as an individual. If you sign up as an individual, you will be assigned a team.  


The challenge is to create a small team and make a film in 48 hours about a given subject. The subject will be released on 3pm Friday 28 October. You then have until 3pm Sunday 30 October to make your film. Your film can be any format or genre. Your film can be any length, but a typical film will be between 3-5 minutes. If your film is any shorter or longer, it will need to serve a particular creative vision.  

Although 48 hours sounds very short, this challenge is very close to the reality of film and video making. Many pop videos, ads, corporates and TV shows are made under similar time constraints. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with under pressure in a short amount of time.  


Teams should form themselves beforehand and sign up here by Wednesday 26 October. You can also sign up without a group by this date, and then you will be allocated a team. Make sure that your team covers the necessary roles to make your team.  These should include camera, sound and edit plus a director and a producer. Do not underestimate the role of the producer. They will bring everything together and manage the project. If you want to go down the drama route, then include actors and writers. Good writers can come from anywhere so cast your net widely. Top quality sound is crucial. It is ok to for someone on the team to cover multiple roles (e.g. cinematography and editing).  

If you sign up as a group, tell us about people’s specific roles on the team. 

If you sign up as an individual, tell us about the specific role(s) you want to take on when you are assigned a team. 

Production equipment and post-production facilities will be made available for use of individuals who have been inducted to use the equipment and software of the Film and Media programmes in the School of Arts. 

In other words, if your team has Film and Media students on it, who have received the proper induction, you will be able to use cameras, editing suites, etc. from the School of Arts.  

But, you don’t have to use these resources to make your film. You can shoot on mobile phones and use your own editing software, for example. But, of course, you are responsible for the creativity and quality of your film – so make wise choices. For example, think about shooting formats – do you want to mix different filming ratios, shoot in colour and black and white or on phones as well as 4K cameras?  Do you want to include graphics and/or music?  Do you have friends who are musicians who will record music for your film?  

Teams should plan in advance.  Agree roles beforehand.  All contributions are of equal value. This is about teamwork.  Think about possible locations and logistics. If you have a favourite location, get permission to film there now. How are you going to get the crew and actors there?  How long will each sequence take to shoot? If you are going to shoot outside, check the weather forecast.   

Plan a schedule, when you are going to film and edit.  Try to edit in camera as much as possible – time is tight. The editor(s) can start cutting as soon as the first sequence is finished – on set if possible. If you have two editors, then cut in parallel and assemble the sequences later.  

Things will go wrong. Everyone makes mistakes. When this happens – own up, fix it and then move on.  There is no place or time to assign blame.  The only thing that matters is the quality of the film. 

As soon as you are told the subject matter be creative. Think laterally. Every year Hollywood produces hundreds of films.  It is the unusual ones which win the awards and industry acclaim.   

Be bold.  Put in some real effort.  Get some sleep and use the full 48 hours.  You will be amazed at what you can produce in this time. If something doesn’t work, abandon it and try something else. Make something you will be proud to look at in the future. 

Remember the basic rules of film making. Engage your viewer from the first frame, keep them watching and ideally surprise them at the end.  If you are filming a scene, then have all the crew members shoot it from different angles on their phones or a separate camera if you have one.  Give the editor lots of options. 

Put a title on the film and add a credit list at the end.  

Above all – enjoy the experience, remember everything that went well and what you can do better next time!