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The location is set, the lights are beaming and the cameras are rolling.

The only problem is, the lead actor just fell asleep mid-sentence.

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Films made in 48 hours

Brisbane filmmakers take 48 hours to come up with short movies incorporating a professional pickpocket and the line "My doctor says I'm not supposed to do that".

Welcome to the world of the 48 Hour Film Project, as much an endurance test as it is a short film contest.

During a weekend last month, teams of filmmakers met in Brisbane to be given their essentials for their four-to-seven minute entries in this year's competition: the genre of their entry (randomly selected by spinning a wheel), a prop to be included in the film (a corkscrew), a choice of two characters (The Fox or The Vixen) and one line of dialogue ("My doctor says I'm not supposed to do that.").

The writing, filming and editing was to be completed in the 48 hours to Sunday night.

The only pre-planning allowed was the formation of teams and the scouting of locations.


Movie buffs would be forgiven for thinking any film created within such tight parameters would end up a sloppy mess.

But the co-producer of the Brisbane leg of the festival, David Beirne, said the 48 Hour Film Festival produced quality films with an unmistakable energy borne out of the creative process.

"There's just such a great energy about all of the films because really it is just an incredibly hectic and rushed process of trying to get everything done and packed into such a short space of time," he said.

"It shows itself in the films. They really have a great energy and when a team has been working together it really shows through in the finished product.

"People going through the hard times of trying to get everything done and working late into the night and filming scenes at 3am in the morning when they have been filming all day, it's really interesting to see the product of what people can do in such a small timeframe without more or less any sleep.

"There's been some pretty funny stories of people basically falling asleep on camera because they haven't had any rest over the weekend.

"I think the big winners of the weekend are the energy drink manufacturers."

Beirne said some teams worked through the full 48 hours and others got a good full night's sleep in between and still submitted the film on time.

But some teams don't make it at all, such as two teams this year.

The concept was created in Washington DC 11 years ago as a way to get filmmakers' creative juices flowing.

It is now run in over 100 cities around the world, with Brisbane being the first Australian city to have a local edition eight years ago.

After an absence in Brisbane last year, Beirne and his co-producer, Matt Grehan, former contest winners, picked up the reins to revive the festival in 2012, due to popular demand.

"There really aren't too many art competitions like it in Brisbane or Australia in general," he said.

"It's focusing on people making films rather than just talking about making films.

"It's good fun and it gets people motivated because often film production can drag on for quite some time and can [drain your] motivation but this whole concept gives people the motivation to get out there and make a film and get their film shown on the big screen."

A total of 25 films will be shown at the screenings tonight and tomorrow night at Event Cinemas in the Myer Centre, Brisbane.

All films are judged by members of the local film industry with the finalists to be shown, and the overall winner to be announced, at tomorrow night's screenings.

But there is also the chance for further industry exposure.

All the 48 Hour Film Project city winners from throughout the world are shown at the Filmapalooza event in the United States.

The winner of each city is also able to take part in the international 48 Hour Film Project with the top ten place getters of that competition are shown at the Cannes Short Film Corner at Festival de Cannes.

Tickets for tonight and tomorrow's night screenings at Event Cinemas in can be purchased from the 48 Hour Film Project website.