E.L. Film Festival holds Five Days/Five Minutes short film contest
Professional and novice filmmakers alike are competing in the East Lansing Film Festival competion for the chance to win a cash prize and have their short film showed at the festival in November.
Contestants in the Five Days/Five Minutes competition will be given five days beginning Thursday to create an original five-minute film containing three elements: a prop, a character and a line of dialogue. Films are due Sept. 24.
This year, contestants must include a thermometer as a prop, a carpenter as a character and “Either you have it or you don’t” as the line of dialogue. Contestants were not notified of the elements needed for this year’s contest until Thursday to ensure that film production did not begin until the first official day of the contest.
Festival Director Susan Woods said the East Lansing Film Festival has been holding contests similar to this one for almost a decade and said it’s a tradition that people of all types love.
“Anyone can participate, from professionals to middle school students,” Woods said. “We’ve had a full range. We have participants from Battle Creek, (Mich.) Ann Arbor, Lansing and East Lansing. It was something that this area really wanted, and its been a tradition ever since.”
Prior to this year, the contest was called the 48/5 Film Contest. Contestants were given 48 hours to create a five-minute film.
Director of Lake Michigan Film Competition and former 48/5 film contest participant Karl Millisor said creating a film in 48 hours was challenging and required sleepless nights.
“I participated two years ago and my group got second place,” Millisor said. “We’d be writing and getting stuff together on Friday, shooting on Saturday and editing all through the night and all day Sunday until 6 p.m. when the films are due.”
Millisor said this year, the contestants will have more than twice the time he and his group had to create their films. He said he is excited to see what they will come up with.
“A lot of hard work goes into the films,” Millisor said. “I definitely expect to see better quality in the films now that they have five days.”
MSU alumna Jamii Nesbitt said after hearing the festival was having such a unique competition, she pulled together a few of her co-workers at International Business Machines and entered. She said she’s confident that they can produce something worthy of first place.
“My co-workers have experience with writing and we all work in the tech world, so we definitely have experience with user interface,” Nesbitt said. “Our job is to make things look a certain way. We’re programers, so we know what to do to produce what people want within five minutes.”
Nesbit said she’s excited about participating in the contest and saw it as a way to get back to her old hobby of script writing.
“I’ve prepared a sitcom in college, but I’ve never prepared a five-minute film before,” Nesbitt said. “I’m excited. It’s going to be a good challenge that I want to take on.”
The contest winners will be selected on Sept. 25 and will have their films shown at the festival in November. First-place winners will receive a $100 cash prize, second-place winners earn $50 and third-place winners earn $25.