Grand Rapids Film Festival produces 36-Hour Challenge


The nonprofit Grand Rapids Film Festival, founded in 2009, aims to "increase regional access to and overall production of quality films." Courtesy GRFF

A local organization is challenging filmmakers to create a film in 36 hours.

Grand Rapids Film Festival’s 36-Hour Challenge gives contenders the chance to test their filmmaking skills. Teams will script, shoot, edit and submit six-minute films within a 36-hour deadline.

Teams of three or more members can register online for $100 through Sunday. 

“Creating a short film with limited time really pushes a filmmaker to draw on all of their training, talent and resources,” said Joe Sindorf, a GRFF board member and award-winning documentary maker. “By having their work screened and critiqued by industry professionals, they will grow to create better films.”

This year’s theme is transformation. The topic fits the festival’s mission to champion films that connect to something deeper, according to GRFF CEO Jennifer Shaneberger.

“You want to make sure your audience walks away with something meaningful,” Shaneberger said. “But it’s not just about the audience. It’s about the filmmakers, that they would stretch themselves to develop meaningful scripts.”

The nonprofit organization is offering winnings of up to $1,500 in cash and prizes, which are funded by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the West Michigan Film Office.

The competition begins at 9 p.m. on Jan. 27 after an 8 p.m. reception and presentation in Grand Rapids at Kendall College of Art and Design's Woodbridge N. Ferris Building, at 17 Pearl St. NW. Teams will submit their completed films at 9 a.m. on Jan. 29.

Select films, chosen by a panel of judges, will be screened at Celebration! Cinema North on Feb. 3.

The event is part of GRFF’s revamped yearly schedule, which includes three events: the 36-Hour Challenge, 5-Day Film Festival and Summer Spotlight.

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