These rules apply to each participating group/production team.

The US Virtual 48 Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the Official Time Period.

Below are the Filmmaking Rules.  Be sure to also read the official Competition Rules.


A. Times

The US Virtual 48 (US-VIRTUAL) occur in select cities across the United States the weekend of on the weekend of October 16-18, 2020.

The US Virtual 48HFP competition period begins Friday, October 16 at 7 pm and ends on Sunday, October 18 at 7:30 pm. All times are referenced to each participant’s local time zone. This is the Official Time Period.


B. Creative Process

All creativity must take place during the Official Time Period.  Any creative work in advance of the competition weekend is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Writing the script
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume/Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Rendering
  • Outputting to tape or other media

C. Preparation

The only work to begin prior to the Official Time Period is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations

D. Footage

All footage must be shot within the Official Time Period of the project.

Animation and special effects are permitted, but must be created during the Official Time Period.

No stock footage or footage shot or created at another time may be used unless the footage is part of a post-production effect or on a background monitor, i.e., a television, as long as the team has rights to the stock footage and the stock footage is placed over or under footage that is shot within the Official Time Period. Allowable stock footage includes bullets, fires, explosions, chromakeyed backgrounds, etc., but stock footage of people or other performers is not allowed.

Pre-made sequences or compositions that are available to all via purchase or download are permitted if a majority of frames contain content (e.g., text or images) created within the Official Time Period. The pre-made portion of the sequence may not include people or other performers.

Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the Official Time Period; however, stills created outside of the Official Time Period may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

Permissible stock footage, permissible pre-made sequences, and still photographs must all be accompanied by a Materials Release demonstrating that the team has rights to use them.


E. Eligibility

To be officially eligible for competition:

  • The Team Leader must upload a completed copy of the Team Leaders Agreement to https://cinema48.com prior to the Kickoff Event. A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.
  • Each team must also upload a certificate of completion for the "Safe Sets COVID-19" training found here: https://practicesafesets.co/certificate/
  • Each eligible team will then receive a Kickoff e-mail at 7:00pm their local time on Friday, October 16. The Kickoff e-mail will contain two genres from which to choose. Teams may choose either genre for their film. In addition, the line of dialog, character, and prop (required elements) will also be in the Kickoff e-mail.
  • Each team’s film must be in one of the two genres and all of required elements must be included for the film to be eligible for competition.

To be eligible for the Project, Entries must be the original work of the Entrant; must not infringe third-party's rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant and/or 48HFP).

Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the 48HFP, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. 48HFP reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible. 48HFP reserves the right to refuse to screen a film or to make an announcement at the screening regarding the content of the film. 48HFP reserves the right to alter a film in order to remove or delete offensive or defamatory content.


F. Kickoff Event

Each participating team must have a representative at the official Kickoff Event of the US Virtual 48.

  • At the event, each group must submit a complete Team Leader's Agreement, signed by its team leader. A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.
  • Each group will choose the genre of its film in a random drawing.

G. Required Elements

Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film, such as a genre, a character, a prop and/or a line of dialogue.

  • The required Character must be seen on-screen and it must be clear--either directly shown or by context--who the required character is.  The Character name does not have to be said out loud or written on-screen.

  • The required Prop must be seen on-screen. A picture of the required prop is also allowed.

  • The required Line of Dialogue must be used verbatim. It may be spoken, sung and/or written. It may be in any language, though if it is unclear that it is the required Line, there must be a translation.
  • To qualify as an Official Entry, each group's film must be in the genre it selects and must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

See Also

H. Volunteers

All cast and crew must be volunteers.

I. Cameras

Any type of video or film camera may be used. There is no limit to the number of cameras.

J. Landmark Requirement

First Time Cities only: Each film must include a landmark (building, monument, etc.) or identifying characteristic (e.g., bus, city office) of the competition city. (Note: The landmark or characteristic must exist inside city limits.) This rule applies only the first time the 48HFP visits a city.

K. Music Rights

Participating groups are encouraged to work with a composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them. Note: Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the film without a signed release from the composition's rights holder. This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes "fair use" under US or international copyright law.
See Also

L. Total Running Time

The finished film must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 7 minutes in duration—not including end credits. In other words, the official running time begins after the required 48HFP slates and ends prior to the end credits. The required slates and the end credits do not count towards the minimum time of 4 minutes. The film story may not be longer than 7 minutes. 48HFP reserves the right to shorten any film that exceeds the maximum length for screening purposes.


M. Credits

Pre-film Required Slates

Before the finished film begins, the media should have...

  • 5 seconds of black
  • A title card with: team name, title, genre, city, and date
  • The official 48HFP animated opening -OR- a title card with: This film was made for the US Virtual 48 2020. www.48hourfilm.com/us-virtual
  • 2 seconds of black

Your film follows this.

Opening Credits

After the 2 seconds of black, some films start with opening credits. These are not encouraged, but if you use them, opening credits are considered to be part of the film, and therefore count against the seven minute maximum. Additionally, if your film has opening credits other than simply the film's title (for example, the names of directors, actors, etc.), you must include one of the following:

  • the text YOUR TEAM NAME presents immediately followed by a US Virtual 48 or
  • the text a US Virtual 48 immediately following the title of your film

Note: a US Virtual 48 may be entirely lowercase (i.e., a us virtual 48).

End Credits

Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film, as stated above. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 8 minutes.) US-VIRTUAL reserves the right to shorten any end credits that exceed the maximum length for screening purposes.

The end credits must include the words: This film was made for the US Virtual 48. www.48hourfilm.com/us-virtual

Slates And Credits After The Competition

For any future screenings, online or otherwise, films should retain the pre-film title card that says: This film was made for the US Virtual 48 2020. www.48hourfilm.com/us-virtual.


N. Required Media Formats

For complete submission requirements, check your city webpage. If your film does not conform to the submission requirements in your city, it may be disqualified. Also, if your film cannot be viewed on 48HFP equipment, it may be disqualified.

Unless otherwise instructed on your City webpage of the US Virtual 48 website, your film must be submitted on one of the following media:

  • (preferred) a self-contained SD Quicktime file with no proprietary codecs on either: a data DVD -OR- a USB flash drive
  • playable DVD

O. Submission Notes

  • We recommend that each team submit two copies of the final film.
  • We recommend that you make sound levels relatively even throughout your film. (If your film has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  • Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the 48HFP. If your film is very dark, it may be difficult to see in your theater.
  • All films received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they meet the eligiblity requirements.
See Also

P. Production Documents

Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, music and locations (and any other applicable releases), which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film/video. The film/video will not be screened before the US Virtual 48 Organizers receive the signed releases.
  • Release forms can be found on the 48HFP website.

Q. Certification Statement

The Entrant must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.

R. Required "Safe Sets" Certification

To be eligible to compete in the US Virtual 48, each team must submit a certificate issued by Safe Sets International. It is an online training that takes less than 30 minutes. Only one person on your team must be certified, though we recommend that everyone takes the course. https://practicesafesets.co/certificate


S. No Pre-Screening Distribution

The Entrant should not distribute their entry/video in any way prior to it receiving its official 48HFP premiere screening. This includes uploading the video to any website or screening the film for groups of anyone other than the team. The Entrant is encouraged to make a trailer of their film and distribute that instead. This trailer should be no longer than 48 seconds.

T. Official Film Entry

To be certified as an Official Film Entry, each participating group's film/video production must follow all rules herein. The US Virtual 48 Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified Official Film Entries.


U. Entries Not Returned

No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

V. Disqualification

48HFP and Project Parties may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.

W. Official City Winner

All certified Official Film Entries are eligible to compete for the title of Best Film of the Charlotte, NC US Virtual 48.


X. Best Film of 2020

All Best of City films are eligible to compete globally for title of Best Film of 2020. A panel of independent judges will determine the winners.

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