Aspiring Steamboat filmmakers being recruited for 24 Hour Film Race |

Aspiring Steamboat filmmakers being recruited for 24 Hour Film Race

The 24 Hour Film Race contest starts at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1. Participants have 24 hours to shoot, edit and download the film, then submit it for judging.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Documentary filmmaker and teacher Charlie Smith is at it again, putting a call out for local students to compete in a 24 Hour Film Race, where competitors have 24 hours to complete a short film.

But this time, he’s opening up the contest to adults as well.

“I’m trying to get filmmakers to participate in this. It’s a really good chance to flex your creative muscles,” said Smith, who teaches film and graphics at the Steamboat Mountain School. “This will be the fifth one we’ve done with youth in Steamboat, but the first one with an open division.”

If you go

What: 24 Hour Film Race
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2
Where: Steamboat Mountain School, 42605 Routt County Road 36
Information: Email Charlie Smith at

If you think you can’t do it, think again, said 16-year-old Graham Patterson, who’s competed four times using his iPhone 7.

“One of the keys is having a great team,” said the Steamboat Springs High School student. “My friends are really good at coming up with ideas, and I’m good at organizing people.”

The contest starts on 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night. Participants have 24 hours to shoot, edit and download the film and send it to Smith who will hand it over to a panel of judges.

In the newest contest, filmmakers will meet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Steamboat Mountain School. Each team will randomly draw a genre of film from a hat — comedy, drama, adventure, horror, etc. — and then be given the name of a character, a prop and a line of dialogue, all of which must appear in the film.

Patterson said he freaked out during one contest where his team drew silent film as their genre.

“I was like ‘I have no idea what to do with this,’ but my team really came through, and we actually ended up winning first place with that film,” Patterson said.

The March 1 contest will have a youth division and an open division. Youth competitors can only use adults as supporting crew members or supporting actors. The open division is open to everyone, with the winners having their movies screened March 9.

“We give prizes for best picture — first, second and third place — best actor, best actress, best cinematography,” Smith said. “Prizes are usually gift cards to local places.”

Smith, who loves storytelling with film, said he’s been to 24 hour film races in big cities where anything goes.

“You’ll have guys show up with $30,000 cameras who are very serious; some winners even go to the Cannes Film Festival,” he said. “Then there’s people out there with old-ass video cameras and everything in between. It’s always fun.”

Smith said the 24-hour film race is a unique way to put your creativity to the test.

“It forces you to get through your perfectionism, push through your fears and forces you to work together as a team,” he said. “The race is really against yourself.”

Patterson said he edits his iPhone video using iMovie on his laptop.

“There are other products you can use, and you can go to this website ‘Freesound,’ and they have a lot of sound effects there and music clips for ambience,” Patterson said. “It’s so much fun, and you’ll be surprised at what you do and what you learn. I’ve made so many great memories from these events.”

Some of the youth films made at past 24-hour film races can be found at and

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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