24-Hour Film Fest

With the glitz of high-tech effects out of the equation, this film festival comes down to simple storytelling, fine acting and solid film making skills.

By Amy Kenny
Published April 01, 2009

The recently released Can-cinema offering, One Week, poses the question, what would you do if you only had one week to live? The Hamilton 24-Hour Film Festival poses a similar question, with a twist: what would you do if you only had one day to film?

This morning, in the Lincoln Alexander Centre at King Street's Crowne Plaza Hotel, Festival Director Martinus Geleynse announced the second year for his fledgling film festival.

The Festival kicks off Friday, May 1, at 8pm (location TBA). There, entrants randomly draw a line of dialogue, a location and a prop. At 9pm, teams are let loose on the city for a full night of filming. They are expected to return, five-minute film in hand, within 24 hours.

Over the course of the following week, a panel of celebrity judges (among them Karen Black, Director of Canadian Initiatives for the Toronto International Film Festival, and Yannick Bisson of City TV's Murdoch Mysteries) will screen submissions.

At the end of a public screening Friday, May 9, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be announced along with an audience choice award, best actor/actress, and best cinematography.

"The exciting thing about this festival is it levels the playing field," says Geleynse. "Nobody has time to do pre-production or post-production." With the glitz of high-tech effects out of the equation, it comes down to simple storytelling, fine acting and solid film making skills.

Last year, Geleynse says, a group of high school kids from Grimsby outshone a professional production team from Toronto, so everyone stands a fighting chance, and every chance could lead to opportunity.

Last year's winning team, comprised of McMaster students, can't make it this year, reportedly due to production engagements.

This year, the prizes are a pretty big deal if you're an aspiring filmmaker. With significant sponsorship from Meridian Credit Union, The Factory Hamilton Media Arts Centre, and Hamilton Video & Sound, the Festival is able to hand out even more substantial awards than in 2008.

These include equipment rentals from PS Production Services, Factory bucks for use at the Hamilton Media Arts Centre, and gift cards from various audio and video stores. That's not the kind of swag you look down your nose at, especially considering the entrance fee, at only $50 a team, is down from last year.

Another major difference this year is venue. Where 2008's films were screened at the Freeway Cafe, 2009's will be screened in the Crowne Plaza Hotel's brand new 368-seat theatre.

While finishing touches (handrails, the spring floor onstage) are still being worked on, the soft seat theatre should be ready to roll by May. Make sure you are too.

Visit the website for more information:

Amy Kenny graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2004. She is currently a Hamilton-based freelance writer who loves the arts and the outdoors. In addition to Raise the Hammer, she writes for H Magazine, The Corktown Crier and TorontoPlus. She cycles everywhere, all the time and urges you to do the same.


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