- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the era of YouTube and microwaves, a new film trend has emerged that gives anyone with a hand-held camcorder the chance to speed to stardom.

At the Washington Improv Theater, the Neutrino Video Project sends actors to the streets of the District to make an instant film for a live theater audience. A DJ mixes in music as the audience watches the scenes. Meanwhile, the actors are out filming the next scene.

It’s an innovative idea, but why go to a theater to watch a video?

Enter stage right, the fast film challenge. It’s an emerging trend among the national filmmaking community that pushes actors and directors to create a narrative within an outrageous timed deadline.

“The impulse to come up with something on the spot makes this show dangerous,” said Tyler Korba, director of the District’s Neutrino Video Project. “America speaks the language of reality TV, and I think people are drawn to the potential that anything could happen out on the streets.”

This live film trend is opening the doors of theater to an urban safari of possibilities. “We had a drunk homeless man play out a few scenes,” Mr. Korba said. “A cop agreed to pretend an arrest for the camera. Once I had a friend visiting who got really into the story line and ran down the middle of 18th Street screaming ‘I own this town!’ ”

Fast film has become visible across the country as audiences pack theaters and film festivals to see the result of raw creative flow. The Neutrino Project has been produced in seven cities. At the Guerrilla Film Competition in Utah, teams are given a topic at 8 a.m. and then have 10 hours to film and edit on the run. All films must have PG content, Salt Lake City’s idea of a good time.

The Seattle International Film Festival hosts a Fly Filmmaking event that challenges participants with four days to shoot and five to edit a short film.

The national 48 Hour Film Project challenges teams to create, shoot, and edit a film in, that’s right, 48 hours.

Fast film is growing in Washington. “The 48 Hour Film Festival is all over the country - L.A., Seattle, NYC - but Washington, D.C. has the most entries,” Mr. Korba said.

Forget Goethe’s 60 years for Faust. A lunch break could mean a big break.

“Today technology and art are joined at the hip,” Mr. Korba said. “As editing equipment and flip cameras become even more accessible to everyone, we’re witnessing the future of film.”

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