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10-minute action in 10 days

The race is on as local filmmakers scramble to produce a 10-minute film in less than 10 days.

This year marks the sixth annual 10 x 10 filmmaker’s challenge, and the theme is ‘milestones and markers.’

Local filmmakers, actors and film crew members form teams annually to compete in the challenge, using the year’s specified theme and an assigned prop to create a 10-minute-long film in 10 days. The films will be presented in a three-hour gap during the closing weekend of the 10th Sacramento Film and Music festival at the Crest Theatre on August 1. Submissions will be judged by a jury for overall production quality.

Participants showed up Thursday evening at the Crest Theatre to find out this year’s theme and receive an assigned team prop from Tony Sheppard and Nathan Schemel, co-directors of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival. This year’s 19 teams now have until July 19 to produce a complete short film.

Sheppard, who has been involved in the SMF festival for the past seven years, came up with the 10 x 10 concept six years ago as another way to encourage involvement of local filmmakers. Instead of challenging local filmmakers to a 10-hour constraint as he had seen done in other cities, Sheppard came up with the 10-minute film creation in 10 days.

"It was still very fast from a filmmaking perspective because it was absolutely frenetic," Sheppard said. "People ended up with two weekends to work on a film, and most people involved are people who have other jobs and other things that they’re doing."

Sheppard said the competition attracts a diverse crowd in terms of expertise and experience. A challenge in more ways than one, participants not only have to work under pressure in groups of varying expertise to fulfill the assigned theme, but they must also creatively incorporate their group’s assigned prop somewhere in the film.

The assigned props are "things that seemed wild and wacky while shopping at the dollar store," Sheppard said.

This year’s props include a dinosaur soap set, front bumper from a wrecked car and inflatable pool animals. Sheppard said filmmakers are awarded for best use of their team’s prop. "We’re not impressed if the camera pans across the room and it’s lying on a table."

Local filmmaker Joaquin Murrieta and local actor Galen Howard, who are working collaboratively on a team this year, will begin shooting their film in Midtown this weekend.

This is Howard’s third year participating in the challenge; he said that the time constraint of the competition pushes him to focus as an actor. "People’s energy is different knowing you only have so much time to spend," Howard said.

Murrieta worked on not one, but two films as director of photography in 2007 over a weekend within a 20-hour period, where he said the challenge included staying awake and on his feet.

"It was pretty crazy," he said. "It’s like a dare, it kind of burns creativity."

For information on the Sacramento Film and Music Festival and the screening of the 19 films, visit this link.

Image provided by the Sacramento International Film and Music Festival.

Hawa Arsala contributed to this article.






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