Could you make a film in 26.2 hours? Find out at a new Ypsi "Filmmaking Marathon"

The Independent Film Festival Ypsilanti (iFFY) will return this month with a new lineup of films and a new event that challenges filmmakers to create a short film in 26.2 hours. Contestants in the 26.2 Filmmaking Marathon will receive a set of prompts to include in a film shot over the course of April 20-21. Every completed film that meets the requirements will be screened on the opening night of iFFY, April 24. A panel of three judges will award a $250 prize to their choice for the best film, and another $100 prize for an honorable mention.

iFFY's first season was set to launch a few weeks before the first COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, but had to pivot to a virtual format and a drive-in later that summer. iFFY organizers focused on an outdoor event in 2021, in preparation to return in 2022 with a fuller lineup in keeping with the founders' original vision. This year, the event will feature four days of independent film screenings from April 24-27.

iFFY Co-Director Micah Vanderhoof says Ypsilanti had a variety of 48- or 24-hour filmmaking competitions pre-pandemic, but none have returned since then.

"It seemed like a good idea to bring this back, this interactive event for the community," Vanderhoof says.

iFFY Co-Director Hafsah Mijinyawa says there are already many budding filmmakers in the community, including young artists at local colleges and universities. 

"We wanted to find ways to engage them and incentivize them to make a short film and get into the competitive spirit a little bit," Mijinyawa says.

Team captains for the marathon must attend a kickoff event at 9 a.m. April 20 at Riverside Arts Center, 76 N. Huron St. in Ypsilanti. There they can register and receive prompts – like a specific line of dialogue or a certain type of prop or shot – to include in the films.

Mijinyawa says creativity, multimedia approaches, and various types of film equipment are welcome. Teams must upload an electronic file of their film to a designated online dropbox by 12:12 p.m. the next day.

"We're aiming to be a grassroots culture event in Ypsilanti, and a big part of what we're trying to do is activate the arts and culture and filmmaker community here," Mijinyawa says. "We're hoping to tap into the existing pool of filmmakers, let them exercise their creative muscle, and see the results on screen at the Riverside Arts Center."

Read more about the full iFFY lineup here. Register a team for the 26.2 Filmmaking Marathon here.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of iFFY.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.