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This week, we’ve been exploring the state of filmmaking in Missouri. Today, we conclude our three part series, going behind the scenes of the SATO 48 Film Challenge: an area filmmaking competition hoping to stimulate the future film talent in Missouri. KSMU’s Brett Moser reports on the local film competition – which recently wrapped up judging and handed out awards.
For the average film, production occurs over a period of several months, or even years.
But filmmakers who participate in the Springfield and the Ozarks 48 Hour Film Challenge, or SATO 48, have only 48 hours to write, shoot, and edit a five minute film. Anyone can participate, as long as they have a video camera, a computer, and an idea.
Packed into the gymnasium of the Boys and Girls Club in Springfield, teams of aspiring filmmakers from the Ozarks wait for the announcement of this year’s SATO 48 “inspiration package:” that’s an object or concept that must be included within the scenes of their films.
Calling out from a megaphone, organizers Jeff Clinkenbeard and Kyaw Tha Hla announce this year’s “inspiration package.” The filmmakers must incorporate two things into their movies: the theme from a Billy Collins poem, and an inflatable tulip prop. Clinkenbeard calls across the gym for the official time. It’s 7:35 PM and the film challenge has begun.
Clinkenbeard and Kyaw are professionals in the film industry, working out of New York. Clinkenbeard, a native of Springfield, says he decided to bring a 48 hour film challenge to the Ozarks after participating in a similar competition with Kyaw.
With the help of friends, family, and community, Clinkenbeard and Kyaw held the first SATO 48 competition in the spring of 2006 with around 35 teams participating. Now in its fourth year, this year’s challenge saw over 60 filmmaking teams.
Each year the films are judged by local and international film industry professionals. SATO 48 organizers roll out the red carpet, premiering the short films at the Moxie Cinema.
Kyaw says the 48 hour time restraint brings out a very different type of creativity.
Clinkenbeard says these time demands teach young filmmakers important lessons that apply to the real world of filmmaking.
And Kyaw says unnecessary expenses are the last thing producers want to have. He says shooting in a state like Missouri and hiring local talent would be a major financial draw for production companies.
Both Clinkenbeard and Kyaw say that the quality and creativity of films coming out of SATO 48 indicates that there is a large talent pool to work with. The problem is keeping the talent pool here.
But both men say SATO 48 wasn’t exactly created to jumpstart the film industry in Springfield. Clinkenbeard says the competition gives everyone an opportunity to experience the joy and excitement of seeing a film they made come to life.
Though the 2009 competition has already finished, Clinkenbeard and Kyaw say they plan on continuing SATO 48, incorporating filmmaking classes and drawing in more professionals from the industry.
For KSMU News, I’m Brett Moser.