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July 24, 2007

The fast picture show: 48 Hour Film Project tests amateur directors’ skills

Hank Rothrock knelt down next to a small tripod, looked carefully through the lens of the small, hand-held video camera then stood up, took a few small steps backwards in the Jeffersonville alleyway and crossed his arms across his broad chest.

“Action!” the 24-year-old IU Southeast student said.

The man in front of the camera leaped into action, bent down to the ground, picked up a handful of black rocks from a deep pothole then watched, seemingly perplexed, as he slowly let them fall between his fingers back to the ground below.

“Cut!” Rothrock said. “OK, let’s do it again.”

In these moments, Rothrock was experiencing his first taste of being a movie director. He and his team of six — who dubbed themselves Yellow Umbilical Cord — entered Louisville’s second annual 48 Hour Film Project in anticipation of a great challenge.

Each of the 48 entering teams — two of which were led by Southern Indiana residents — gathered in Louisville Friday evening where they were given specific guidelines for their film. Teams receive a specific genre along with a prop, line of dialogue and character which must be used in their movie. The films can’t be any more than seven minutes or less than four minutes in length. Teams have only 48 hours to complete and edit the films.

Filmmakers can make few plans for their movie until they receive these guidelines, but on Friday, Rothrock, as did the rest of the filmmakers, finally had many questions answered. Rothrock’s genre is science fiction, his prop: ice cream. The team’s common line of dialogue is, “See, that’s what you get,” and the common character is a fashion designer. All of theses pleased Rothrock.

“I had a basic idea in mind,” Rothrock said from an alley near Schimpff’s Confectionary in Jeffersonville, were he filmed a few scenes Saturday afternoon. “(The guidelines) totally fit.”

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