Prisoner of Mind

Every year the Zurich Film Festival hosts a very special kind of film contest: The ZFF 72 hours film contest challenges filmmakers to write, produce and edit a film on a specific topic, of a maximum length of 72 seconds within 72 hours. This year I had the pleasure to work with an exceptional team of fellow students. These three days working as assistant director and editor where as much exhausting as they were exciting. Producing a short film in three days is not about finding perfection within a tight time frame, it’s about getting creative with the little resources you can access on such short notice.

The same goes for the editing process. Cutting as film down to such a short runtime forced me to make compromises. But it also taught me once again how much power an editor wields. Even if it means having to accelerate almost every shot in the film to make the 72 seconds mark. Editing means making hard decisions with every cut. What do I need to show for the story to make sense? What’s redundant? Finding the right answers to those questions is what makes a film work.

So what’s the essence of the ZFF 72 for me? Going through the whole process of a film production this fast provides an immense learning effect for the whole team. And that explains why after a short phase of existential crisis following three days of intense production, I’m already looking forward to next year’s contest.

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