Competition History

In The Beginning...

The Worlds Largest Guerrilla Film Making competition started in 2003 as a sidebar to the Becks Incredible Film Festival. That first year started with just 44 teams in Auckland only. It saw a wide range of folks competing, with around 68% getting their short handed in on time. Some weren't so lucky; Chris ("Sione's Wedding") Graham created a hip-hop western featuring Scribe, but failed to finish it. Some like Mr Reeve actually broke bones during the inaugural weekend. Some completed their films but unfortunately handed it in late. When Jaquie Brown was told that her short was one minute late, a few tears fell out.

And so began 48Hours ruthless adhesion to the rules for this competition. Many have tried to stretch the rules or win favour with organisers by reminding them of their twenty-year friendships. The reply is always the same - "its called 48HOURS, not 48HOURS and 5 seconds".

The inaugural winners of the 2003 competition were Team Crash Zoom who produced the hilarious crime short SPECIAL CRIME UNIT. They even took it to Austin, Texas and came runner up in the US competition. That same team eventually made the very successful show "The Jaquie Brown Diaries".

In 2004 it grew to 80 teams in Auckland and 45 teams in Wellington. Controversy loomed in Wellywood, when Oscar Nominee & chess player Taika Waititi and his partner in crime, Loren Horsley took top honours with the brilliantly silly and subversive HEINOUS CRIME.

Up in Auckland, a comedy posse with Radar at the helm, produced what some have called, the greatest 48HOURS short ever produced - JESSE MCCLOUD: THE JOURNEY, which managed to use all three of its genre choices, in a friendly tale of family euthanasia.

In 2005 the competition became a truly national competition with Christchurch and Dunedin joining the chaos and 270 teams entering the competition. There were some truly southern fried entries that year and with Peter Jackson coming onboard as the annual Wildcard Judge, the competition was never the same again. And in one of the greatest comback stories of all time, the inaugural winners Team Crash Zoom returned and took the crown once again with the charmingly weird A FAIRLY GOOD TALE.

In 2006 three funny guys from Auckland created a hilarious short about the first Tongan badminton champ. The Downlow Concept's BROWN PERIL slayed audiences and judges alike. The funniest short ever to make the finals has become one of the 48Hours most beloved.

And in 2007 the competition grew to over 500 teams nationwide and a serial killer from Shortland Street and his pals (Team Lense Flare) took the Grand Prize with a little (impossible to get out of your head) ditty called LEASE.

In 2008, over 600 teams took part. The winner was Team Puppy Guts (who were chosen as a wildcard by Peter Jackson) and their film F*DANCE.

In 2010 over 650 teams took part and an animated film took out the overall grand prize, beating a lot of excellent shorts. It was the closest race to the final in the history of the competition.

And in 2010, the team that won't stay dead did it again. The Downlow Concept who were Grand Champs in 2006 came back and reclaimed the title with their phenomenal short ONLY SON which then went on to win Best Short Film at the Qantas Film & TV Awards.

2011 Saw a Team given a new Genre win the competition. Team Grand Cheval took the honours with their 'Fad' Film 'The Child Jumpers'

2012 saw Zombies rule the Comp. with Team Noise and Pictures taking a refreshing look at a popular short film subject. Their winning film is currently on show in film festivals around the world.

In 2013, crime movie - 'Sleeping Plot' by Traces of Nut took out the competition with the whole film shot from a child's perspective. Sleeping Plot screened at the prestigious Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California and was nominated for best self-funded short film in the NZ Film Awards.

The competition heated up in 2014 with the winning team, Lense Flare actually burning down a house with their film, "Pants on Fire".

2015 was another year of the musical with Chess Club winning best film with 'Bread Winner'.

With one location and a small cast, Chilly Box's film - Time Travel Centre wove a clever film together that won the national finals in 2016.

In 2017 a film directed by Lauren Porteous called 'Under the Bridge' about an unlikely friendship rose to the top.

2018 saw team Chillbox triumph for the second time with their futuristic technological thriller 'Peptok'.

2019 was the first time a team from Christchurch took out the national title. Snack to the Future triumphed with their cringe comedy 'A Familiar Feeling'.

Over 6000 shorts have been produced for 48HOURS. An enormous amount of people have had a lot of fun. Yeah each year there's been equipment/rental facilities selling out, actors suddenly cancelling commercials, celebrity friends being abused, broken bones, relationships ending, moments of pure ecstasy, absolute exhaustion, extreme bonding, annoyed armed defenders, production gear disappearing, cars stolen, meltdowns - but the future of NZ film looks to be very healthy and appears to be in capable, if a little shaky, hands.

48HOURS takes place over one weekend each year, it is responsible for more fun than a 1000 monkeys could shake sticks at.

Check out the Wikipedia Article about the 48 Hours.