At Least for a Day, Dallas Filmmakers Get Priorities Straight at 24-Hour Video Race

Check out our slide show for a look behind the scenes on race day.

Now in its eighth running, Dallas' 24 Hour Video Race is built on harnessing that special brand of creativity that only surfaces under extreme deadlines. This year's racers had no idea what theme or elements will be required when they turned up at the Angelika Dallas last Friday night, but once midnight rolled around, they began an all-night, all-day shooting spree around Dallas before hunkering down to edit.

For the video teams, some as small as one or two people, some in a division just for K-12 students, it's a furious pace, capped off by an excruciating countdown to midnight while the finished video processes on their laptops.

Three nights of judging wrapped up late yesterday, and the finalists will be screened at the Angelika next Wednesday night. We'll have more on that next week, probably with projects as they surface on YouTube -- like Not for Sale, which popped up only yesterday and features a, um, cameo by one Darth Vader.

After the jump, we've got more on why this year's crop ought to be the best yet.

Video Association of Dallas creative director Bart Weiss says there are always teams who don't make the cut for any number of reasons. "You wanna help out people who are a minute late, but you have to be fair," Weiss says. Even with the race's theme remaining a surprise until race night -- this year it's "misunderstanding," and projects must also incorporate a vegetable or fruit and be set on a street -- he says the projects were pretty ambitious, even with a few musicals in the mix.

After almost a decade putting on the 24-hour race, Weiss says the videos he sees each year -- there's a large team of judges, but he's one of a couple people who watches all the videos -- have steadily improved, but this year, "the work in general just looks a whole lot better," he says. "The best videos are better," Weiss says, in part because the festival's projecting in high definition for the first time.

Finishing a project in HD makes hitting the deadline even tougher, and Weiss says he's already seen a few last-minute snafus -- like the video that looked great until it cut to a green screen halfway through.

Another group proved that even after a disqualification, they can still pull off a win -- the group took their finished project to a local online video startup, Weiss says, where they got approval to turn their video into a regular series.

Next week we'll have more details on that project and other highlights that await at next Wednesday night's screening.

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