Entering the Guerrilla Film Challenge? 'Flexible Dates' Make Your 48 Hours Less Challenging

Guerrilla Film ChallengeIf you've ever made a short film you know how difficult it is to write, shoot, and edit one. However -- have you ever tried doing it all in 2 days? The 48 Hour Guerrilla Film Challenge wants you to do just that in their worldwide online short film competition. The call for entries has been made, and the now "flexible dates" have been announced -- all that's left is you asking yourself: are you ready to take the challenge? Find out all the details about how "Flexible Dates" affect your clock and what it takes to get your short from script to screen in 48 hours after the jump.

If you've never heard of the Guerrilla Film Challenge (As they say on their website -- yes, "guerrilla" can be spelled with 2 r's or 1,) it's one of the oldest and largest film competitions. Teams must write, shoot, and edit their short in 48 hours or less to be in the running to win the $5,000 grand prize.

Due to the many requests by past participants, the GFC is doing something a little different this year, in that they're offering "Flexible Dates."

This means that you can hit "START" whenever you wish as long as it falls in our date range. You can pick the 48 hr period that works best for you and your crew. When you choose to start is a big part of the strategy. You are not limited to weekends -- you could start any date or time of the week!

Here's the promo video for this year's challenge:

Shooting dates are Friday August 9th - Sunday August 18th, 2013, but here are some preliminary things to do before then.

  • Get your team together and pick a "captain."
  • Said "captain" MUST create an account on the GFC website (the rest of the team is also encouraged to do so, but are not required.)
  • Purchase "Film Credit." (This is essentially your entry fee.)

Use promo-code: "NOFILM2013" the first 20 people will receive $25 off admission ($50 vs $75) and any users after that will be able to receive 25% off for the duration of the event.

After you purchase your "Film Credit," you're pretty much done until the day you scheduled your challenge. Here's how it works on the big day:

  • Log into the GFC website prior to your kickoff time.
  • Press "Start" to begin the 48-hour countdown and start your team's challenge.
  • You and your team will then receive random elements: a line of dialog that must be used in your film, a genre, and  a prop, location, action or some combination thereof.
  • You must begin uploading your video by the 48-hour mark.
  • Your film is then reviewed by a panel of judges until a winner has been determined.
  • A screening of the films is held (time and place is TBD.)

To know more about the Guerrilla Film Challenge, head on over to their website and their FAQ page, but here are a few things to keep in mind about the challenge:

  • Anyone can participate
  • Shorts can be a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 8 minutes long.
  • You can use any special effects, 3D, whatever -- just as long as it was made within the 48 hours of the competition.
  • The Grand Prize-winning short gets $5,000 and trophy. Awards for Best Directing, Editing, Acting, People's Choice, etc. are also awarded.
  • Flexible dates also allow for teams/individuals to enter more than one film, however teams may only have one film going at a time.

Check out the winning short from last year, Unique:

I participated in something similar in 2012 and it was definitely the highlight of my year. The intense pace, the sleep deprivation, and the seemingly impossible deadline made me realize that I was/am in the right career, because I loved every "Oh god, just let this grip truck run over my head and kill me" moment of it. I failed a lot, learned a lot, and had a completed short film at the end of the whole thing. So much win all around. I encourage you to try something like this at some point in your life.

If you're interested in having the best/worst 48 hours of your life, enter the Guerrilla Film Challenge here.

What do you think? Are you competing in the 48 Hour Guerrilla Film Challenge this year? Have you participated in something similar before? Let us know in the comments.


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August 4, 2013 at 6:16AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I like the idea of being able to pick what days work best for you. Some people (like myself) have to work weekends (im at work right now lol). Iv'e done a few of these as an editor. They are alot of fun and its the coolest thing to have a completed short in two days. My biggest gripe is the cost. I don't feel it justifies the prize. 75 bucks for only a five grand prize? Up the prize or lower the cost. Another downside is the judges almost always tend to favor effects and scale over story. It becomes more about the wow factor than the actual best film winning. All that being said it is insanly fun and is really just about the experience and satisfaction of completing the challenge. I totally agree, everyone needs to do it at least once.

August 4, 2013 at 10:58AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Hey Filmpunk!

I'm with the GFC totally appreciate the feedback :) We actually try to keep the cost as low as we possibly can. In fact, we actually did reduce it from last year. When you figure it's p/film not per person, hopefully it's not too bad. We're a skeleton crew and this is a labor of love for us not a money making project so the fees more or less cover the prize and the actual hard costs.

In answer to your comment about FX we tend to agree. To combat this we have employed a weighted scale system. Our judges rate on series of categories and our rubric is weighted in favor of creativity, strength of idea and story telling first... with technical stuff lowered in the scale.

I come from a visual arts background and the idea to "always be sketching" was drilled into my head. The very reason we started this event 9 years ago was to give us an opportunity to "sketch" as filmmakers.... that and its just plain good fun to do something creative like this and grow from it. FYI we're also working on some new events for specific disciplines such as writing, editing, etc... Take Care :)

August 4, 2013 at 11:21AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Thanks for responding,I guess considering the screenings and everything that goes into it the price is reasonable, especially if the team all chips in... I'm happy to hear the changes to the judging, I know its more about the experience and crazy deadline to push yourself but it is nice to hear that you are implementing feedback and trying to judge the films fairly. Thanks! Looking forward to the new events.

August 4, 2013 at 7:14PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

You voted '+1'.

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December 9, 2013 at 3:09PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM