Behind the Scenes of Project 48

by Joy Bernard | 26.09.16

You don’t have to be an experienced director to know that film production is a long and complicated process. Actors, directors, producers and screenwriters often spend years hard at work before the fruit of their labor finally basks in the glory of the big screen.

With that in mind, we at Telavivian Cinema were a little taken by surprise when we heard about Project 48, also known by its full name–the 48 Hour Film Project. As you may have guessed by now, the project is a (worldwide) competition challenging filmmakers from all corners of the globe to write, produce and edit a short film (four to seven minutes long) in two very hectic days.

This year, the project is coming back to Israel for the tenth time in a row (and is produced by Israeli production company Green Production), encouraging the country’s creative cinematic minds to rise to the challenge once more.

Yair Agmon, writer, film director and the winner of the past two competitions in Israel along with his team (Zvi Friedlander, a school teacher by day and a DJ by night and Matan Gez, a journalist and screenwriter), told us about his experience: “The only reason I signed on to participate was because of my friend, who signed on and then realized that she couldn’t do it. She offered me to take her place – and from there everything just happened. I thought that is was a crazy and refreshing challenge. It’s so presumptuous and moving, as a director, to try to make a film in such a limited time period. And it was a good excuse to make a film with my friends.”

What was the most challenging aspect of it?
Yair: “We participated in two of the competitions (in 2014 and in 2015) and I have no idea how we managed to survive it. It was insane. We fought a lot. Our egos were just flying all over the place. I think that the biggest challenge is to work with other people under such big stress.”

The team (or as they name themselves- the Bar Mitzvah Boys- at the festival)

The team (or as they name themselves- the Bar Mitzvah Boys- at the festival)

How many people did your films reach? Tell us a bit about the global competition.
Yair: “Lots of people watched our films at the screenings in Israel, and a lot of the festival participants abroad reacted to our film with a lot of love, which was great.”

What does it feel like to try to bring a cinematic vision to life in 48 hours?
Yair: “That part was actually easy, because the three of us were certain, in both films, of what we wanted and we worked hard to get it. The shooting was one big chaos – but it was fun to work together, and even more fun to get to the editing stage, to try and improve the work and make it tighter and better under such stress. We did fight a lot, but things somehow worked out in the end.

I was lucky to work with two really talented people who have in common their energy, intelligence and love of film. In this kind of contest, you can’t make something worthy unless you approach it with love.”

Winning first place

The end result of their collaboration is their film, “Grief”:

The competition kicks off with a launch event in Tel Aviv on October 19, 2016, and it is there that over 100 teams are going to be presented with their challenge – all filmmakers must include a certain character, prop and script line in their films.

The films will be screened at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, where judges will decide which films get to continue to the semi finals stage. The elected films will then be streamed online on one of Israel’s leading news websites, where viewers will vote and select an ‘Audience Favorite’.

The Bar Mitzvah Boys receiving their award with some of their cast, 2015

The Bar Mitzvah Boys receiving their award with some of their cast, 2015

The competition offers a variety of awards for films that place, and the winning film will be screened at the global finals in the international competition. Stay tuned, as we promise to stream it here, on Telavivian Cinema, along with some other fun surprises!   

Ready? On your marks, set and…GO!
You can register at:


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