Film sport: Constraint and unrestraint in the 48-Hour Film Competition | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1474-2756
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0578



Limited-time film-making and 48-Hour Film Competitions give people with a range of film-making experience a forum where their film can be made and screened in a short time under highly specific conditions and constraints. Their low budget and hasty construction means they operate in similar contexts to traditional amateur film-making, yet the conditions and constraints put in place by the competition means they are formed from a process more akin to a sporting event. The New Zealand version of the ‘the 48’ has screened hundreds of short films. This article describes the experiences of 26 New Zealand competition participants, explores the convergence of sport and film-making practice in their experience, and analyses some 48-Hour films. Certain conditions of ‘constraint’ produce adherence to the game-like challenges, but others permit and foster unrestraint from competitors, and this unrestraint differentiates 48-Hour films from industry-produced and other amateur film.


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