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CCM's Second Annual 48 Hour Film Festival Welcomed Guest Filmmakers From Kenya

All UC students were invited to participate in a whirlwind weekend of filmmaking, from Nov. 6-8, 2015. This year's festival included a unique cultural exchange with Kenyatta University.

By: Curt Whitacre, updated 11/9/15
Phone: (513) 556-2683

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Student filmmaker Christine Njeri working in Nairobi, Kenya.
Student filmmaker Christine Njeri working in Nairobi, Kenya.

UC students were invited to spend an entire weekend writing, shooting and editing short films during the second annual 48-Hour Film Festival. Co-hosted by the Department of Drama and the Division of Electronic Media at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), the movie-making marathon began at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, and culminated with a public screening of the student-created films at UC's MainStreet Cinema at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Based on the innovative "48 Hour Film Project" competition and festival, which launched in 2001, CCM's 48-Hour Film Festival challenges teams of students to bring their short films from conception to completion within a brisk 48-hour window.

This year's student participants were joined by six guest filmmakers and actors from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya. These students spent the entire week of the film festival in Cincinnati, attending classes at UC and experiencing the culture of the area.

Richard Hess, the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Chair of Dramatic Performance at CCM, orchestrated this cultural exchange. In 2011, Hess brought eight current and former CCM Drama students to Kenya to take part in the Dadaab Theatre Project on World Refugee Day. He returned to Kenya in 2014 as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a semester teaching and conducting research at Kenyatta University's Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology.

For the second installment of CCM's 48-Hour Film Festival, Hess wanted to expose students to these same kinds of life-changing creative experiences. "The integration of our cultures and artistic viewpoints will challenge prejudices and assumptions, enlarging the world-views and possibilities of each participant," says Hess. "Adding a Kenyan artist to each creative team is a meaningful way to affect every student in the CCM Film Festival."

Every applicant was assigned to a team. Team assignments were announced at the festival's kick-off event in CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6. There were 8 teams in all.  Participants were required to be available for the entire 48 hours from 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 through 7 p.m. on Nov. 8.

Teams were assigned a common prop, a common line of dialogue and a common theme, all of which had to be included in each film. Teams then had 48 hours to brainstorm, create job assignments, research, story-board, write, cast, film, score and edit a roughly five to seven minute-long film.

"The best way to fight prejudice is through exposure," says Hess. "Eight different teams of artists, made of Kenyan and American students, were tasked with creating original short films over a 48-hour period. Working under the exquisite pressure of time, they were forced to ask large questions, to listen and to leap into the void of creativity where the impossible becomes possible."

The general public was invited to the festival's screening party at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8.  The Best of Festival  winner will be determined by student vote and announced sometime this week.

CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

The Kenyatta University 2015 Exchange Program has been made possible by the A.B., Dolly, Ralph and Julia Cohen Family Foundation, and Neil R. Artman and Margaret L. Straub.


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