The Gig Harbor Film Festival 72 Hour Film Competition offers filmmakers of all ages and abilities the opportunity to create short films in a single wild and crazy whirlwind of a weekend.
Team leaders register their teams in the early new year for one of three age categories: 13 and Under, 14-18, or 19 and Up. Teams are encouraged to register early, as the competition is limited to 35 entries. All registered participants attend a required orientation meeting in early March, where they are given a crash course in competition rules, some basic filmmaking tips and guidelines from industry pros, and some decent pizza.
On the following Thursday at 6pm, the competition clock officially starts when team leaders receive their assignment email revealing the set of required elements that must be included in each film. All writing, filming, and editing must take place within this 72 hour period, and completed films are to be submitted by 6pm that Sunday in order to qualify.
There are so many great things about this competition, but everyone’s favorite parts is, of course, screening day. One week after the films have been submitted and judged by our panel, they are shown before hundreds of supportive audience members on the giant Galaxy Gig Harbor IMAX screen. It’s absolutely thrilling for filmmakers to see their work in such high quality, and so rewarding for us to see such an enthusiastic celebration of the art of cinematic storytelling right here in our community.
At the end of the film screenings, refreshments are served in the lobby where the audience takes a brief intermission before returning to the theatre for the awards presentation. Though they do evolve from year to year, awards are typically given for the best film, best actor, and best ensemble in each age category. There is also an award and $500 cash prize for the best overall winner. Whether or not they win awards, all participants agree that in addition to having a lot of fun, they feel an extraordinary sense of accomplishment.
Winning films from the 72 Hour Competition are automatically made Official Selections of our annual festival each fall, where they are screened alongside independent films from around the world. From there, some of our past participants have gone on to have their films selected and screened by other film festivals across the nation! There are so many gifted artists right here in our community. We are especially proud to offer this unique opportunity to share their stories, celebrate their work, and give them wings. All great talent has a beginning, experience it here with us!